Civil Rights & Earlham Archives

Overview of Community Centers

This document is a description of the Community Centers in Mississippi, in 1945. The Council of Federated Organizations, or the COFO established Community Centers to provide education, job training skills, and social resources for African Americans in the South. Community Centers employed both white and black Americans. Community Centers deployed different strategies to enchance social and economic conditions for African Americans. For example, Community Centers created public libraries with books and resources. They also provided english and history classes, and child support for African Americans. They created recreational activities, such as, theater, sports teams, and the arts for African American children.The Community Center volunteers organized these programs recruited African Americans to work at Communities Centers. In Mississippi, Community Centers employed around 6-10 volunteers before the Summer of 1964.
           The Community Centers were important to the Freedom Project in Mississippi, because they provided social and economic relief for African Americans. Many African Americans received limited education, insufficient resources, and few job opportunities in the state of Mississippi. Community Centers  Community Centers were essential in the African American community, because they provided educational services, job training skills, and other resources for African Americans. As aresult, Community Centers helped organize and unify African American communities in Mississippi.

           Another reason that Community Centers were vital to the Freedom Poject is that, Community Centers volunteers collected data on the specific needs and concerns of African American Communities. This allowed Community Centers to develop specific methods to improve African American Communities in Mississippi. By focusing on the specific needs of African Americans, Community Centers helped to provide better solutions to economic and social deprivity in African American communities in Mississippi.
           I also think that, Community Center were vital to the Freedom Project, because Community Centers worked together with the Freedom Schools in Mississippi. Freedom Schools focused on educating African Americans in order to organize and educate African Americans. At the same time, Community Centers provided services, such as, child care, extracurricular activities, and job training that helped improve the social and economic standards for African Americans in Mississippi. In doing so, the Community Centers and Freedom Schools helped to relieve social and economic tensions in the African American community, and enabled more African Americans to participate in the Freedom Project in Mississippi. As a result, African Americans started to create black, independent communities that were separate from white public school and white institutions.
              I think that, the information in this document describing the agenda of the Community Centers is partly accurate. The Council of Federated Organizations prepared the information on Community Centers in the spring of 1964, before the Freedom Project started in the summer of 1964. I think that, the COFO may have misrepresented the information about the Community Centers methods to improve African American communities, because the Community Centers were not active in Mississippi, until the beginning of the summer in 1964. Because of this, Community Centers most likely altered their approach to improving African American Communities, once the Freedom Project began in Mississippi.