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Freedom Summer: The 1964 Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi

by Susan Goldman Rubin

Published by Holiday House, 2014
128 pages
ISBN: 9780823429202

Age 13 and older

A gripping look at Freedom Summer in Mississippi in 1964 has early chapters offering a tense, almost moment-by-moment chronicle of the final hours of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Mickey Schwernerís lives--and their murders. The three young men disappeared the first week of Freedom Summer. Volunteer trainings were still taking place in Ohio, and the risks the young idealists might face became very real. The disappearance exemplified the brutal racism under which African Americans lived in Mississippi, a reality that informed their lives each day. Author Susan Goldman Rubin describes the Freedom Summer voter registration drive, including efforts to sign up people under the alternate Mississippi Democratic Freedom Party, as well as classes and activities taking place at the Freedom Schools, giving a sense of events from the perspective of both Black residents of the communities and Freedom Summer volunteers. All the while, the FBIís search for the bodies of the three missing men went on. The search was followed in the White House and around the country, but only, noted Schwernerís wife Rita, because two of the three men were white. The eventual discovery of their bodies, and description of word spreading among the Freedom Summer communities, is one of many affecting dimensions of Rubinís account, which also emphasizes that Freedom Summer was an effort designed by African American activists and propelled by African Americans working in collaboration with volunteers, Black and white, from within and beyond the stateís borders. Rubin drew on a multitude of primary source materials and interviews to create this volume that includes occasional black-and-white photos, and wonderful sketches rendered that summer by Freedom Summer participant and artist Tracy Sugarman.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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