I imagine their parents already knew. Perhaps laid their best suit on their beds preparing for the funeral services. They had been missing June 21st and today was August 4th when they received the official news. But I have to imagine their parents knew their spirits had already flown.
There are the five little girls in Alabama that everyone knows about.
And then there are the three men from Mississippi…
and then there is you to re-member.
Re-member the cause James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner died for the next time you get your local county voting precinct card in the mail. Re-member them the next time you hear mention of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.
Their families still remember their birthdays, their favorite meals, their favorite colors. I imagine their parents knew the Most High came for them before the first shot or first punch. And then there is you to re-member they (none of the thousands that fought for civil rights!) should not die in vain.
I’m sure it related to them wanting to feel human. Or perhaps be recognized for breath. That stuff that holds shoulders high and chins parallel to horizons. Yearning for something opposite of sleeping with one eye open. The word next to God was “freedom”. If we re-member correctly, it still should be.
On the heels of so many other campaigns such as Little Rock’s desegregation of schools. After the world saw the body of Emmett Till. After the Montgomery bus boycott. After the sit-in’s in Greensboro and Nashville. After the Birmingham bombing of the 16th Street Baptist church and the infamous March on Washington. Stood Mississippi… gotdamn. The campaign known as Freedom Summer began the planning phases in February of 1964. It continued the original demonstration designed by the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee that organized a mock “Freedom Vote” to illustrate the will of Black Mississippians to vote who had a 5% voting rate for African Americans over the age of 18. (The lowest in the country.) Freedom Summer campaigned an attempt to register as many African-American voters as possible in Mississippi and also organize Freedom Houses, Freedom Schools, and resource centers in small towns throughout Mississippi to aid the local black population.
Continue reading Freedom Summer 50 Years Later