Freedom Summer

June 7th, 2010

The election of Barack Obama in 2008 could not have happened without the events 44 years before in the summer of 1964. That summer, we witnessed real grassroots community organizing, as some 700 college students, from all over the country, descended on segregated Mississippi to register black voters. At the beginning of that summer, three of the organizers, Andrew Goodman, James Cheney and Michael Schwerner were hunted down and killed by the Klan. It would not be until 2005 that the perpetrators of those murders would be brought to justice.  But their death was not in vain, as Freedom Summer would be a major impetus for the Vote Rights Act of 1965. Journalist Bruce Watson new book Freedom Summer: The Savage Season That Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy details the link between those events and the election of 2008. My conversation with Bruce Watson