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ReMARCs: Freedom Summer – Then And Now

Posted by Admin On June - 25 - 2014

By Marc Morial

President & CEO, National Urban League

This month marks 50 years since the seminal events of Freedom Summer helped shift the national mood around the fight for civil rights in America.

It was June 1964 that this seminal campaign, also known as the Mississippi Summer Project, brought thousands of civil rights activists and volunteers together – mostly white college students from the north and Black Mississippians – to the state to primarily bring national attention to the disenfranchisement of African Americans and to register them to vote.  Unfortunately, today we are facing and fighting new battles in this old war against voting rights – one in which we had been declared victorious.

During Freedom Summer, which was the culmination of concentrated voter registration efforts in the South happening since 1961, one of the most shameful acts of violence during the Civil Rights Movement occurred.  Three civil rights workers – a Black volunteer named James Chaney and his white co-workers, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner – were murdered.  The brutality of this incident sparked a wave of national outrage and attention that resulted in increased support for the Civil Rights Movement and ultimately helped to spur congressional action with the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the subsequent Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Ironically, last summer, the Supreme Court of the United States launched its own tragic attack on voting rights with a specious ruling that declared Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional, or, as Congressman John Lewis observed, that “put a dagger in the heart” of the law.  As we celebrate 50 years since the Freedom Summer campaign that prompted a nation to act, we must move forward in its spirit of vigilance and discontent.  Increased efforts by some states to enact new voter ID laws and other restrictive measures demand that we not just commemorate Freedom Summer, but that we also continue to defend and protect what President Johnson called “the first right and most vital of all our fights” – the right to vote.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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