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Memorandum: on the SNCC Mississippi Summer Project Transcript In August of 1961, SNCC launched its first voter registration project in Amite, Pike and Walthall counties of Mississippi. Many hardships were met and overcome in the difficult time that followed, and eventually SNCC workers were able to spread their activity to the Delta and then the entire state. By the fall of 1963 SNCC had expanded into all five of Mississippi's congressional districts and had joined with CORE, SCLC and the NAACP in forming a statewide organization called the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO). Voting Leagues and civic groups from all over the state are now brought together to form the real base of COFO. In the two and a half years that SNCC has been working in Mississippi there has been a growing recognition of the need to develop programs to supplement the voter registration work. It was realized that in order to prepare Mississippi for real Democracy, not only literacy programs were needed, but also programs of social and political education. In addition, retaliation by county authorities forced SNCC to organize food and clothing drives for near-starving families. Suspension of commodity distribution and the desperate economic state of Mississippi's Negroes have led to expanded food and clothing drives and the establishment of three distribution centers. It is realized that much more comprehensive programs are now necessary to tackle the terrible poverty and deprivation to which the Negro communities of Mississippi are subject. As a result, this summer SNCC is planning to launch a massive, peace corps operation in Mississippi. Plans have been made to recruit scores of students, teachers, technicians, nurses, artists, and legal advisors to come to Mississippi this summer to staff a wide range of programs. These programs can be divided generally into four main areas: freedom schools, community centers, voter registration and special projects. I. Freedom Schools: Plans are being made to set up as many Freedom Schools as can be realistically made to work. The number will ultimately vary according to the amount of housing that can be found in a locale, the presence of facilities, and the recruitment of qualified staff personnel. Recent projections call for roughly ten day Freedom Schools and two or three away from home schools. The day Freedom Schools will for the most part draw 10th, 11th and 12th grade students from the locale and operate five days a week from roughly 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. A high student-teacher ratio will be established, perhaps one teacher for every four students, so that instruction can be highly individualized. It can be estimated that day Freedom Schools will have approximately fifty students and fifteen teachers each. Curriculum for these schools will cover a wide area: remedial work in reading, math, and basic grammar; seminars in political science and the humanities, journalism and creative writing. A school newspaper might be developed. Whenever possible, studies will be related to the society in which the students live. Away from home schools would follow essentially the same program with special emphasis on political studies. They would be attended by the more advanced students from across the state. The Freedom Schools stand as an integral part of SNCC's voter-registration activities. They will provide politically emerging communities with new young leadership, and constitute a real attack on the presently stifling system of education existing in the state. If this program succeeds, the basis will have been laid for a cadre of student leadership around the state of Mississippi committed to critical thinking and social action.
|Contributing institution||Special Collections, McCain Library and Archives, University of Southern Mississippi.|
|Digital repository||University of Southern Mississippi Digital Collections.|
|Digital collection||Historical Manuscripts and Photographs.|
|File size||630600 Bytes|
|File name||mus-ellin062.01_Page 1.jpg|