Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mississippi Remembered

One of the most respected diarists and front-pager at Daily Kos, Meteor Blades, has a diary today discussing his work registering black voters during Freedom Summer and some reflection on how the work done that summer fed yesterday's voting in Mississippi. It is a remarkable diary and representative of some of the best that daily kos has to offer.

The vote today in Mississippi had special resonance for me. It was 44 years ago this month that I decided to participate in Freedom Summer in the Magnolia State, registering black voters. After training at the Summer Project in Ohio, I traveled by bus to Jackson, arriving with a handful of others the fourth week of June.

Four days earlier three young men had gone missing – James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. Goodman and Schwerner were New York Jews. Chaney was from the deepest shadows of the segregationist South, a black Mississippian. I might have shaken hands with one of them at our training. But if somebody had asked me to pick them out of a crowd on that early summer day in 1964, I couldn’t have. A few days later, everybody knew who they were. Six weeks later, as a result of an intense federally coordinated manhunt that must have had FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover grinding his molars into dust, authorities pulled the three men’s bodies from an earthen berm.

You can read the rest here. One of the commenters included this youtube embed of the relatively recent prosecution of the men who killed the 3 civil rights volunteers, Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner. If you're unfamiliar with the details, it's a good refresher.

Yesterday's win by Barack Obama is a direct result of the brave men and women who fought for the right to vote back then. It's good to see their work rewarded.


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