Books: Non-Fiction

To Write in the Light of Freedom: The Newspapers of the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Schools

Book — Non-fiction. Edited by William Sturkey and Jon N. Hale. 2015. 176 pages.
A collection and examination of the creative literary work of students published during 1964 Freedom Summer in Mississippi.

Time Periods: 20th Century, 1961
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Education, Language Arts, Media, Racism & Racial Identity, Social Class

towriteinthelightoffreedom9781628461886Fifty years after Freedom Summer, To Write in the Light of Freedom offers a glimpse into the hearts of the African American youths who attended the Mississippi Freedom Schools in 1964. One of the most successful initiatives of Freedom Summer, more than forty Freedom Schools opened doors to thousands of young African American students. Here they learned civics, politics, and history, curricula that helped them see beyond the degrading lessons supporting segregation and Jim Crow and sanctioned by White Citizen’s Councils. Young people enhanced their self-esteem and gained a new outlook on the future. And at more than a dozen of these schools, students wrote, edited, printed, and published their own newspapers. For more than five decades, the Mississippi Freedom Schools have served as powerful models of educational activism. Yet, little has been published that documents black Mississippi youths’ responses to this profound experience.

For the first time, the sincere words, thoughts, and dreams of the original students are published here in a powerful documentary collection. This edited volume contains hundreds of newspaper articles written by those black youths who yearned to gain knowledge and pursue greater levels of freedom. The homegrown newspapers from the many schools contain a variety of poems, stories, essays, and testimonies that yield raw, honest reactions to Freedom Schools, to the civil rights movement, and to life under Jim Crow. Together, these transcribed newspaper pieces recover the inspiring voices of Freedom School students, and offer a unique vision of how everyday youth responded to the clarion call of the civil rights movement.

William Sturkey, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His work has appeared in the Journal of Mississippi History and the Journal of African American History. Jon N. Hale, Charleston, South Carolina, is an assistant professor at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. His work has appeared in the Journal of African American History, History of Education Quarterly, South Carolina Historical Magazine, and Journal of Social Studies Research. [Publisher’s description.]

ISBN:9781628461886 | University Press of Mississippi