National Youth Summit: Freedom Summer

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Dec 3

Last week the Freedom Summer interns had the privilege of meeting and interviewing Larry Reuben.  Reuben is a labor activist who worked during the Mississippi Freedom Summer.  He was arrested several times, and on one occasion his address book was confiscated and ended in the hands of James Eastland, a senator from Mississippi who gave a thunderous and untrue speech about the communist influence on the Civil Rights movement.  Reuben never got his address book back either.   Stay tuned because when its finished we will the interview here.  

Today at the Museum the curator for the disability rights collection was kind enough to show us many objects relating to the struggle for civil rights for the disabled.  From Braille and Speak keyboards to corrective shoes and lobotomy needles, the collection was a powerful reminder of the struggle disabled Americans have faced.  Other objects like the bumper sticker and t-shirt show the resilience of the disabled rights movement.  The curator for the disability rights collection is on twitter @amhistcurator and click to view the museums online exhibit on disability rights in america titled “Everybody-an artifact history of disability in America.”

http://everybody.si.edu/

Part of our project involves using primary sources and documents from 1964 itself to teach people about the Freedom Summer.  This is just a preview of some of the documents we have scanned so far including a map of SNCC voter registration projects and freedom schools across the state of Mississippi, a SNCC project brochure, and a flier from the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party from after the Freedom Summer supporting Fannie Lou Hamer’s run for congress.  There are also pictures of the documents, stored in the museum archives, being scanned so they can be shared online.  Follow the link to see some of the other interesting documents we’ve scanned so far from the Freedom Summer and to learn more about the ones posted here. 

(Source: americanhistory.si.edu)

Here is a picture of intern Nick Nchamukong working on recording his podcast about June Johnson.  
One of our first projects at the museum was to work on turning a program the Smithsonian American History museum did in the year 2000 called fighting for my rights into a podcast to use as part of the material for the freedom summer summit.  Fighting for my rights was a program that included three women who had been involved in the civil rights movement, June Johnson, Martha Prescott Norman, and Zaharah Simmons.  These woman had become involved in the civil rights movement through various means in high school and college, and their stories recount a great deal of the physical and emotional sacrifice many of the young people in the  movement went through. 
 The first podcast available is the one narrated by Harry Clarke about the life and story of Mrs. Martha Prescott Norman.  In it she recalls the deep personal sacrifice she made to remain a part of the civil rights movement that she felt so strongly about. 

Here is a picture of intern Nick Nchamukong working on recording his podcast about June Johnson. 

One of our first projects at the museum was to work on turning a program the Smithsonian American History museum did in the year 2000 called fighting for my rights into a podcast to use as part of the material for the freedom summer summit.  Fighting for my rights was a program that included three women who had been involved in the civil rights movement, June Johnson, Martha Prescott Norman, and Zaharah Simmons.  These woman had become involved in the civil rights movement through various means in high school and college, and their stories recount a great deal of the physical and emotional sacrifice many of the young people in the  movement went through. 

The first podcast available is the one narrated by Harry Clarke about the life and story of Mrs. Martha Prescott Norman.  In it she recalls the deep personal sacrifice she made to remain a part of the civil rights movement that she felt so strongly about. 

National Youth Summit: Freedom Summer

Hello Tumblr!

This is the brand new Tumblr for the Freedom School and the Freedom Summer National Youth Summit.  These events, centered around the 50th anniversary of the original Freedom Summer in 1964 are a part of the education program of the National Museum of American History designed to educate young people, especially high school students, about the National Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and especially the Freedom Summer itself.  The hope is to exploring the meaning of the movement in the lives of youth today and to encourage them to consider the role of young people in making history and shaping the future. 

The Freedom Summer Summit is the fourth in a series presented by the American History Museum; previous topics include the Dust Bowl, abolition, and the freedom rides.  To read about and watch those programs click here.  The topic this year is the Freedom Summer of 1964, when thousands of college students from the north, many of them white, came down to Mississippi, one of the most violent and dangerous areas in the civil rights struggle.  The students were taught non-violence by other civil rights leaders including members of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and they came into the Deep South to teach African Americans about government and their history as well as to register them to vote.  Freedom schools were set up all across the state of Mississippi and the volunteers were able to do incredible work.  The story of the freedom summer was not always rosy though; many activists were beaten and intimidated by racist whites and members of the Ku Klux Klan.  The most famous attacks were the brutal murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner, who were killed in June, 1964 for their work trying to register African Americans to vote. 

The actual Summit on the Freedom Summer will be February 5, 2014 and until then three Freedom Summer Scholars who are interning at the American History Museum will be working with museum staff on the project.  Stay tuned on this tumblr for updates about the project and what the interns will be doing leading up to the summit as well as links to the various educational and historical materials for teachers, students, and all those interested in the Freedom Summer.