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A Disturbing Catalog of Violence Against Freedom Summer Participants

Freedom Summer Digital Collection, Wisconsin Historical Society.

This “Incident Summary” details acts of harassment, big and small, reported by civil rights activists and allies working in McComb, Miss. in the summer of 1964.

The “Freedom Summer” project (known at the time as the Mississippi Summer Project) was organized by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Congress of Racial Equality, the NAACP, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. 1,500 volunteers—college students, clergy, attorneys, and doctors—spent the summer working throughout Mississippi.

Activists hoped to register voters and drum up support for an alternative slate of candidates to challenge the entrenched Democratic congressional delegation. The incident summary shows how the summer of 1964 unfolded in one particularly dangerous place: the small city of McComb, an hour and fifteen minutes south of Jackson.

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