Freedom Summer

Freedom Summer

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In June 1964, over 1,000 volunteers - most of them white, northern college students - arrived in Mississippi to register black voters and to staff "freedom schools" as part of the Freedom Summer campaign organized by the Student Non-Violent Co-ordinating Committee. Within 10 days, three of them were murdered; by the summer's end, another had died and hundreds more had suffered bombings, beatings, and arrests. Less dramatically, but no less significantly, the volunteers encountered a liberating exposure to new lifestyles, new political ideologies, and a radically new perspective on America and themselves. That summer saw the forging of crucial links between the Civil Rights Movement and the other social movements that would soon sweep the nation. The author explores the times and attempts to gauge the impact of Freedom Summer on these project more

Product details

  • Hardback | 347 pages
  • 157.48 x 228.6 x 33.02mm | 589.67g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195043677
  • 9780195043679

About Doug McAdam

About the Author: Doug McAdam is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Arizona and author of Political Process and the Development of Black Insurgency, more

Review Text

A survey of many of the participants in the famous Mississippi Summer Project of 1964 that claimed the lives of civil-rights activists Goodman, Scwerner, and Chaney; by McAdam (Sociology/Univ. of Arizona), author of Political Process and the Development of Black Insurgency, 1930-1970 (1985). Freedom Summer was a sort of high-water mark of 60's liberalism, but, as McAdam suggests, many of the lessons the volunteers learned fed the more radical elements of the later 60's: "Freedom Summer marked a critical turning point both in the lives of those who participated in the campaign and the New Left as a whole. . .The events of the summer effectively resocialized and radicalized the volunteers. . .and laid the groundwork for a nationwide activist network out of which the other major movements of the era - women's, antiwar, student - were to emerge." McAdam ends up making of this volume a sociological survey, having been able to reach and question over a third of the thousand or so original volunteers. What he discovered was that, overwhelmingly, the participants were the children of privilege, coming out of the half-dozen or so elite universities; that they reflected typical male chauvinist opinions of the day in their expectations of women's contributions to the project and project leaders' proscriptions of white female relationships with local blacks; that far from using the project as a means of rebellion against their parents, most volunteers were actually Putting into action values that they had learned at home. In addition, McAdam discovers that, despite the appearance of accommodation with 1980's yuppie life-styles, many of the volunteers still hold true to their old political beliefs and may yet pass the torch on to a new leftist movement. In its generalization of the movement, McAdam's work is much more illuminating than Cagin and Drag's We Are Not Afraid (p. 422), while its staunch support of the methods and politics of those times provides a leftist antidote to Bunzel's Political Passages (p. 506). (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

199 ratings
3.88 out of 5 stars
5 26% (52)
4 45% (90)
3 22% (43)
2 6% (11)
1 2% (3)
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