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Freedom Summer 50 conference commemorates Freedom Summer of 1964 in Mississippi

The Mississippi Freedom Summer 50th Anniversary Conference, sponsored in part by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, will be held at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi, from June 25 to 29, 2014, to commemorate the summer of 1964, when more than 1,000 volunteers from across the country gathered in Jackson to advocate for voter rights, education, worker’s rights and health care. The conference will re-examine the progress in the four areas over the past 50 years, strategize ways to cultivate the movement forward, and set the stage for future policy work.

In 1964, volunteers from across the country gathered on the campus of Tougaloo College in Jackson to break down the barriers of segregation and assist in voter registration efforts, as well as to call for quality public education, opportunity for work, fair pay and access to health care. As a result, major barriers that prevented blacks from voting in Mississippi were broken, nearly 50 Freedom Schools were established for black youth across the state, and momentum for reforming voting rights was pushed to the forefront of public debate.

The Freedom Summer 50th Anniversary Conference is the highlight of a larger campaign entitled Freedom 50 to “ignite a call to action on the same issues for which earlier volunteers advocated during Freedom Summer.” 

Youth will have the opportunity to participate with the Freedom Summer 50th Youth Congress, the largest convening of youth activists in Mississippi since the original Freedom Summer, starting Monday, June 23, and receive training on youth organizing and community organizing.

The conference is hosted by the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movements, Inc., the Mississippi State Conference NAACP, Tougaloo College, One Voice and SNCC Legacy Project.

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