On Tuesday evening, June 24th, from 9-11 pm, ET, PBS will be showing "Freedom Summer" depicting the summer of 1964 in Mississippi. (Please check your local listings.) "A historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in what was one of the nation’s most viciously racist, segregated states."
Marilyn and I in Truth in Progress have sought to call attention to significant events in the historic Civil Rights Movement and the LGBTQ Equal Rights Movement. I urge old and new friends of Truth in Progress to view the premier of "Freedom Summer" on Tuesday, June 24th.
Why? Because I was there! I was a 30 year old Pastor of Union Methodist Church in Boston when I volunteered to spend a portion of the summer of 1964 with other volunteers in Mississippi. We were there to staff Freedom Schools, Community Centers and to assist in voter education and registration. I was in the small town of Palmers Crossing, near Hattiesburg.
That was the summer when 3 civil rights workers were killed: James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, 1 black and 2 white; Chaney was Catholic, and Goodman and Schwerner, Jewish.
That was also the summer when 35 black churches were burned and 70 homes and community centers were bombed.
And it was during that summer that voting rights advocate Fannie Lou Hamer and others challenged the all white Mississippi delegation to the Democratic Party Convention by forming the racially integrated Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.
Each of these moments in 1964 has a story behind it -of civil rights workers who knew the risks but took them anyway, of the unexplainable evil acts that pure hatred fueled, and of people who found a way out of no way. Fannie Lou Hamer was amazing in what she faced throughout her life, but she fought until the end for justice for she had seen the horrid realities of injustice.
We remember, we listen to what is hard to hear, and we honor those who have taught us well. Could they have even imagined that 50 years later, their stories would be told? We continue their work with Truth in Progress because we know that all is not well with the matter of "liberty and justice for all."
Our film FROM SELMA TO STONEWALL is in post production and will be a powerful vehicle for bridging two justice movements, two rivers, one not lost in the other, but forming a greater, more powerful whole. You can help us finish this important film by making a donation to cover production costs. This is one way to keep alive memories of and learnings from the Civil Rights Movement. A movement that reflected the transformational power of protest and change.
Click HERE to see our trailer and make FROM SELMA TO STONEWALL a force for positive change!