Civil Rights & Earlham Archives

Links for future research

Liz Fusco, “Freedom Schools in Mississippi (1964),” The Radical Teacher No. 40, (Fall 1991) , pp. 37-40. Access March 10, 2014.

In her journal, Liz  Fusco highlights the impact and the success of the Freedom Schools. For the individuals that participated in this project, she writes that they experience a transformation within themselves. The complex curriculum was designed to encourage the students to voice their opinion, to ask question and for their questions to be answered. In their transformation, students discovered a sense of selves which they did not have before. Students were obstructed to reflect upon themselves because of the history kept from them and the knowledge of their oppression in which they lived in. Fosco also writes that students were taught to recognize that they were individuals with as much potential as those black historical heroes they learned about. Liz Fusco, wrote this observation base on her experience in the position of coordinator of the Ruleville Freedom Schools movement herself. The purpose of this journal is to recognize the effectiveness of the curriculum and the success of the program as it change the lives of many individuals. For my research, this journal clarifies the internal change the students experienced as they learned about the history that correspond to them, in contrast to raising their level of consciousness and confronting their identities. Liz Fusco wrote this in 1991, many years after the Freedom School movement started, and enough time to measure the increasing popularity of this program after its first summer in 1964.  

John R. Rachal,  "The Long, Hot Summer": The Mississippi Response to Freedom Summer, 1964,” The Journal of Negro History (Autumn, 1999),  pp. 315-339, Accessed March 10, 2014.

In this article, there is a massive compilation of the resistance of the Mississippi racist society, their government and their police department against the Civil Rights movement. John R. Rachel reveals that in the attempt of the Freedom Summer movement’s to eliminate the segregation indented in the society of Mississippi, new forces emerge to resist and preserve the social inequality. John R. Rachel is a professor of adult education in the University of Southern Mississippi and he write this article in 1999. Record of laws changes, which Rachal uses, has always been preserve and made public for people to have access to them. The movement was identify as an “invasion” to promote bad media of the participants of the movement and the movement itself. Within days of the Freedom Summer movement becoming active in the streets of Mississippi, the legislature introduce bills making it illegal to distribute information or picket. In regards to the Freedom Schools part of the movement, the government passed a bill that declared these institutions as unlicensed. For the lawyers of the Civil Rights movement, suddenly they were also require to get qualify by the state of Mississippi by paying the bar association a $50 fee, otherwise they could not work. This new expense was added to the Freedom Schools effort as an intent to obstruct the movement. This journal by Rachel is useful for my research because it brings to light the resistance the Freedom Schools movement had to overcome to pursue education equality. There was no reason for anyone or any organization to feel any threat by the Freedom Schools. In their curriculum there was never anything included to embrace violence or hatred toward white people.

John R. Rachal,  “We'll Never Turn Back: Adult Education and the Struggle for Citizenship in Mississippi's Freedom Summer” American Research Journal, (Summer, 1998), pp. 167-198 Access March 10. 2014.

In this article the struggles and problems of the Freedom Summer movement prioritizing some resources over others are discussed. In the community centers of the Freedom movements, there was adult education classes, citizenship courses and the youth classes. It is said in this article that the fact that all different age groups could benefit from these resources attracted many more people. However, the interest for adult education started decreasing and these resources were not considered urgent compare to the education of the youth. This data explains why the Freedom Schools became so popular among the youth, because eventually, it mostly serve them. The curriculum would have been less interested for the adults since case studies brought up for discussion would have been things that they experienced and are aware of. The curriculum was definitely more suitable for the youth since it was all new information for them.

William Sturkey, ““I WANT TO BECOME A PART OF HISTORY”: FREEDOM SUMMER, FREEDOM SCHOOLS, AND THE FREEDOM NEWS” The Journal of African American History. (Summer-Fall 2010), pp. 348-368. Access March 10, 2014.

In this article the deep importance of the newspapers in the Freedom Schools is revealed. First, students of color were suspended from expel from public schools if anything related to racial justice issues was ever mentioned. As part of their learning freedoms and experience, Freedom Schools allow for a student run newspapers. This was the first time that the Freedom Movement encouraged young people to get involve in the movement and voice their opinions through different forms of writings and artistic expressions. The author, Sturkey writes that it is important to know that the youth were also obstructed to become active in the Civil Rights movement by the lack of coverage on the movement by the states T.V. media and newspapers. The strong emphasis of political learning in the Freedom Schools curriculum’s was complemented by the role of students running their own newspapers in schools. Through the student newspapers, they practice their reading and writing skills. This is a very recent article written by William Sturkey in 2010, who just recently got his PhD as a historian from Ohio State University.  

Notes on Teaching in Mississippi Freedom Schools. “Notes on Teaching in Mississippi.” Accessed March 14th, 2014.

This webpage focused on the extended list of things the teachers of the Freedom Schools had to be conscious of before entering the classrooms. This long list of things for teachers to know was lecture to them during their teacher orientations by major leaders like Staughton Lynd. In the same way it has been emphasized throughout all the other sources related to this topic, it is also included that teachers were to encourage the students to talk. Also teachers were to give the voices of the students importance because it has not been done before by other educational institutions. This list of facts was important for the teachers to know because it also explain the conditions in which their prospective students have lived in. This training combined with the curriculum that also teachers had to followed guarantee for the volunteer teachers and professionals to provide their students with the best learning experience possible.

Freedom School Data. “Freedom School Data” Accessed March 14th, 2014.

In this web page, there are written records of the major remarks of the Freedom Schools. There is data from the beginning of the first summer in 1964 until the Freedom Schools offered college support and it got involve with the National Scholarship Service Fund for Negro Students  for college scholarships. One thing not included in any of the other resources is the details about Free Southern Theater. This part of the program had the biggest emphasis with Arts and Drama. The Free Southern Theater stages plays that focused on the history of the negro in American and the present experience of the students at that time period. This aspect of the program expose the students to practice performance arts like they have never had the chance before. Also for their students, the Free Southern Theater encourage reflection within its audience by accompanying their plays with workshops of introducing the experience for participation.  

Sandra Adickes, Legacy of Freedom School (Palgrave Macmillan, November 2005 )

In her book, Sandra Adickes tells the history of the Freedom Schools as makes herself part of the movement as a volunteer teacher. She tells from her unique perspective, the experience of the training before the first class she taught. Sandra Adickes was a volunteer with a professional certification to teach already. It is important to know that teachers were explain the types of living conditions and low levels of educational backgrounds the students were coming from. In this book the author also reveals the extent of the sacrifice of volunteering and they were also putting their lives in danger. For volunteer teachers this was a life changing experience also because their level of consciousness also increased and their survival through this life risking experience. For the purpose of my research, Adickes also described how the curriculum was a collaboration only members from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Council of Federated Organizations. No one had ever objected to the curriculum because the creators were African American themselves, of have been part of the Civil Rights movement during previous years and they had the life experience necessary.

David M Callejo-Perez, Southern Hospitality: Identity, Schools, and the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi, 1964-1972 (P. Lang, 2001)

In this book, it is documented how the school system purposely segregated their students by race and avoided the conversations about history or the present of African Americans. Callejo-Perez explain the study of ethnography of Holly Springs that proves that this affected the way African Americans students thought of themselves as they never confronted their identities. This book also shows how the decision of Brown vs. Board was not an immediate victory as whites families resisted integration. This research shows that in comparacion with the education of the Freedom Schools, black students were given the freedoms to discover themselves. Also African Americans got the opportunity to interact with their white teachers as if there were no race boundaries. Currently Callejo-Perez holds a chair in Education in Carl A. Gerstacker Endowed in the Saginaw Valley State University.

Wesley C Hoga, Many minds, one heart: SNCC's dream for a new America (University of North Carolina Press, 2007)

In this book, Wesley C Hoga studies the accomplishments of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the Civil Rights movements until the Freedom Summer, that change the lives of many Americans and the politics of this country. In the part of the movement related to the Freedom Schools in Mississippi, Hoga writes that both, the students and the teachers were changed in renovating ways. The students perception of themselves change as they were revealed the history of other African Americans that they could relate to. Also, students discovered activist within themselves, and a generation that got involve in their communities rose. This experience provided teachers with new teaching practices that spread across the country and allowed students everywhere to be part of class discussions. Wesley C Hoga is currently a Historian, director of the Center of Documentaries at Duke University. She is known for being a noted historian of Documentaries of the Civil Rights Movement. This books published in 2007 complements my research because it shows the long term solutions that the Freedom School Program did for the education system in this country. The Freedom Schools did not achieve complete education equality for all students today, but transformed it into a less segregated institution.

Christopher M. Span. From cotton field to schoolhouse : African American education in Mississippi, 1862-1875 (University of North Carolina Press, 2009)

In his book, From Cotton Field to Schoolhouse: African American Education in Mississippi 1862-1875, Christopher M Span writes the type of education African Americans received under the control of the white education system. He brings to light that African Americans were taught to have submissive mindsets to maintain the race disadvantage without will of confrontation to defend themselves. Span then proceeds to talk about the the revolution in the school system as the Civil Rights movement proceeded to take the control over the education of their black youth. The way that this was achieved was through an aggressive but nonviolent stand known as the Freedom Schools movement. This was an outstanding and revolutionary achievement for the African American Community because they were able to create a school curriculum that fulfilled their classroom experience, unlike it has never happened before. Span published this book in 2009 as historian of education in the department of Educational Policy Studies, in the College of Education at Illinois. This book reveals why it was very compelling to counter argue what black students were first learning in public schools, because it was obstructing their minds to develop.


Charles C Bolton, The hardest deal of all : the battle over school integration in Mississippi, 1870-1980 (University Press of Mississippi, 2005)

In this research book, Charles C Bolton brings to us a bigger picture of the goal of the Civil Rights movements fighting against education inequality. Through the findings of his research he proves that there was never going to be education equality unless schools were racially integrated. Protest of African American Students were ignore and a mass development of private schools was made by white people to assure segregation and inequality. The decision of Brown v. Board was no matter of celebration yet, but the first step of the journey to desegregate schools. Charles Bolton view of the Freedom Schools is of a contribution to motivate the students to fearlessly join the Civil Rights movement. After their experience in the Freedom Schools, students would boycott their schools and the education system in Mississippi. Charles extended research shows that the Freedom Schools did not fulfilled the education inequality gap. The contribution of the freedom schools was to help students realize that they needed to take political action to end segregation in their schools. This book was published in 2005, while Charles Bolton was professor of history and co-director of the center of oral history and cultural heritage in the University of Southern Mississippi.

By Maria Mercado