Freedom Schools
...............................
The first Freedom Schools were born during the US Civil Rights Movement. They were part of Freedom Summer, a massive education and voter registration drive during the summer of 1964 in Mississippi. African Americans had been living in legally enforced segregation with inferior schools and resources, and being denied the right to vote because of discriminatory voting laws that existed in Southern states. Civil Rights organizations including the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee, recruited mostly northern college students to travel to the South and educate children and adults not only through literacy and standard curriculum, voter education but also to engage them in the broader fight for racial equality. Lifelong peace and social justice activist, Staughton Lynd, who coordinated the Freedom Schools said, "It would be a serious misperception to remember the Freedom School curriculum as a two-dimensional pedagogical instrument. The curriculum and the Schools themselves were from first to last part of the larger political effort."

During that one summer, as many as 41 Freedom Schools were opened and over 2,000 students participated. The teacher volunteers who came from out of town lived with local African American families and schools were often set up in black churches. Volunteers and participants faced violence from white residents and police. The work of Freedom Summer and the Freedom Schools contributed to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that outlawed racist voting practices. It was a major step in ending legal segregation in the southern United States.


...........................................................................................................................