The original Freedom Schools were organized by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Beginning in 1961, SNCC worked to get Black Mississippians registered to vote, but they faced overwhelming opposition from state and local authorities. Mississippi was the most segregated state in the nation, and many people believed that the state would never change as long as it remained isolated from the rest of the United States.

To focus the nation's attention on Mississippi, SNCC organized Freedom Summer in 1964. Hundreds of volunteer college students, White and Black, came to Mississippi from all over the country. Many of these volunteers served as teachers in Freedom Schools, which were a major part of the summer program. SNCC activists established the Freedom Schools because they believed in the ...

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