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Freedom Summer 50th Anniversary Celebration (May 2014)

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Freedom Summer 50th Anniversary Celebration (May 2014)

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The year 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Mississippi Freedom Summer. This program introduces educators to materials that investigate how community organizing, Jewish values, and moral conviction influenced the lives of Jewish Freedom Summer activists. During the session, Etta King, JWA’s Education Program Manager, models activities that you can use to teach your students about courage, activism, and Jewish identity using the Living the Legacy curriculum.

The year 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Mississippi Freedom Summer. This program introduces educators to materials that investigate how community organizing, Jewish values, and moral conviction influenced the lives of Jewish Freedom Summer activists. During the session, Etta King, JWA’s Education Program Manager, models activities that you can use to teach your students about courage, activism, and Jewish identity using the Living the Legacy curriculum.

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Freedom Summer 50th Anniversary Celebration (May 2014)

  1. 1. 1. Adjust your volume using the speaker button (you should see a speaker icon in the top, black menu of your meeting room). 2. Enable your microphone using the drop- down menu under the microphone icon. 3. Practice muting your microphone (the icon will be green with a line through it). Once the program begins, please leave it on mute when you are not speaking. 4. Enable your webcam if you would like other participants to be able to see you (the webcam icon will turn green). This is optional! 5. Practice raising and lowering your hand. This will allow you to ask questions without interrupting the flow of the program.  Locate the group chat pod (usually in the bottom right of the meeting room).  Introduce yourself by typing in some information:  Your name  Your job title/educational role  Your location  Feel free to ask questions or catch up with your colleagues until the program begins! Get Set Up Introduce Yourself WELCOME! We’re so glad you could join us.
  2. 2. + Yes! This program will be recorded. We will make the recording, handouts, and presentation available to you.
  3. 3. JWA documents Jewish women's stories, elevates their voices, and inspires them to be agents of change.
  4. 4. JWA documents Jewish women's stories, elevates their voices, and inspires them to be agents of change.
  5. 5. When they consider historical stories and role models, students begin to think about who they want to be and what impact they want to have on the world. Who is this? What did she do? Why did she do it? Who am I? What do I do? What do I want to do? Why do I do it?
  6. 6. TWERSKY AWARD  Win $2,500 plus $500 for your school or program  For educators working with 6-12 grade students  Submit an original lesson that creatively uses primary sources  Demonstrate commitment to integrating the stories and voices of Jewish women  Deadline is May 12, 2014  http://jwa.org/twersky  2012 Winner Allyson Mattanah created a lesson that combined Purim with stories of Jewish women labor activists
  7. 7. GOALS  Learn how community and community organizing played a central role in the Civil Rights Movement— especially during Mississippi Freedom Summer.  Explore how Jewish experiences and values informed Jewish relationships to activism in the Civil Rights Movement.  Get practical tools and resources for teaching students about social justice activism through a Jewish lens.
  8. 8. What, if anything, do you know about Freedom Summer?
  9. 9. FREEDOM SUMMER 1954 Brown v. Board 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott 1960 Sit-in @ Woolworths in Greensboro, NC 1961 Freedom Rides 1963 March on Washington, John F. Kennedy Assassinated 1964 Freedom Summer 1965 Voting Rights Act 1966 Black Power Movement 1968 Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy Assassinated Source: Chronology from Civil Rights—The 1960s Freedom Struggle by Rhoda Louis Blumberg
  10. 10. Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Council of Federated Organizations (COFO)
  11. 11.  Jews made up an estimated half of all white Freedom Summer volunteers; less than 1% of the US population at that time  Northern volunteers were mostly white, affluent; many college students. Southern volunteers were mostly African American, Christian, college students and working class individuals from a diverse age range  Stopped for training in Oxford, OH before heading to different communities in the South Volunteer Profile
  12. 12. Problem  Extensive voter intimidation and complicated voter registration process  Low literacy rates, poverty  Systemic racism and violent intimidation; retaliation from Whites  Lack of Black representation in legislature despite large Black population Volunteer Action Taken  Literacy classes, education about voter registration process, and other subjects in “Freedom Schools”  Voter registration efforts— canvassing and recruitment, accompanying voters to the Registrar, record keeping  Creation of Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party
  13. 13. “My husband, Michael Schwerner, did not die in vain. If he and Andrew Goodman had been Negroes, the world would have taken little notice of their deaths. After all, the slaying of a Negro in Mississippi is not news. It is only because my husband and Andrew Goodman were white that the national alarm has been sounded.” Rita Schwerner
  14. 14. ABOUT THIS LESSON  Role play  Round robin  Follow-up activities  Why are you here?  What is motivating you to go or not to go to Mississippi?  Based on your skills/talents, which project could you contribute to the most?
  15. 15. Jewish participation in Freedom Summer was motivated primarily by… The Holocaust Jews feeling like outsiders and empathizing with southern African- Americans Jewish values of social justice Some other experience or values
  16. 16. STATION 1: Jewish Participation “…One of the strong things I grew up with as a kid was some sense of fighting for social justice, and without realizing it, that that was rooted somehow in Jewish tradition. It was never specifically identified to me as such, and I don’t even know that that was what was driving people. But as I look back on it now, I know that that was part of that Jewish secular tradition of social justice.” Vicki Gabriner, Tennessee Volunteer
  17. 17. STATION 1: Jewish Participation “I grew up in a family that had good social values, reflected in our Jewish heritage, culture, and history. When I was growing up, at one point I wanted to be a rabbi, but was told (at that time) women couldn’t be rabbis. I went to Israel when I graduated from high school in 1963, and the experience of Yad Vashem (the Holocaust museum) had a transforming effect on me: I promised myself that in the face of injustice I would struggle for justice.” Heather Booth, Mississippi Volunteer
  18. 18. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS  What values or experiences do Vicki Gabriner and Heather Booth identify as influential?  Where/how did they learn these values?  What are some things you have learned within your family that shape the way you see the world and/or act in the world?  Do you think Vicki Gabriner and Heather Booth were conscious of their motivations at the time? Do you think it matters if you know why you are doing something to help others or is it okay if you just do it? Why?
  19. 19. Jewish participation in Freedom Summer was motivated primarily by… The Holocaust Jews feeling like outsiders and empathizing with southern African- Americans Jewish values of social justice Some other experience or values
  20. 20. STATION 2: Goals and Purposes 1. Read the documents. 2. Then discuss: a) Which reasons given in these documents are most resonant to you? b) Which sound like reasons you might decide to be a volunteer in Freedom Summer?
  21. 21. STATION 3: Community and Community Organizing  Play a game 1. Could you have accomplished your goal with only one person? 2. What challenges did you face in accomplishing your goal? 3. At what point in the process did it become easier to accomplish your goal? What do you think made it easier? What did different people bring to the process?
  22. 22. STATION 3: Community and Community Organizing  Study a photo 1. How do you think music helps build community? 2. What do you think can be learned about music and community from looking at a photograph?
  23. 23. STATION 3: Community and Community Organizing  Listen to an oral history And I don’t think I’m romanticizing it as I look back on it. I remember there were just the most extraordinary moments in that work. I remember times being at a mass meeting inside a church and singing “We Shall Overcome” and knowing that there were white people outside in their cars, in their trucks, probably with guns, and feeling as though the roof were just going to lift off the church because the energy of the people with whom we were working was so intense. You know, the struggle – they were so involved in the struggle that it was palpable. It was palpable…
  24. 24. STATION 3: Community and Community Organizing  Discuss: 1. Vicki describes being in a church while another group is waiting outside. These two groups are divided by color, space, and values. With which community do you think Vicki Gabriner most identifies? 2. What does she have in common with each of the two communities? 3. Based on these similarities and differences, what do you think were some things that were important in connecting people and forming communities during the Civil Rights Movement?
  25. 25. VOICES OF FREEDOM SUMMER 1. Read the letter. 2. Post a response in the lino board (link in chat window).
  26. 26. June 24 Dear Dad, The mood up here [in Oxford, Ohio] is, of course, very strained with those three guys who disappeared Sunday, dead, most likely. Saturday night, I ate dinner with the wife of one of them. She was telling me about all the great things she and her husband were working on. She looks younger than me. What does she do now? Give up the movement? What a terrible rotten life this is! I feel that the only meaningful type of work is the Movement but I don’t want myself or anyone I’ve met to have to die. I’m so shook up that death just doesn’t seem so awful anymore, though. I’m no different from anyone else and if they’re risking their lives, then so must I. But I just can’t comprehend why people must die to achieve something so basic and simple as Freedom… VOICES OF FREEDOM SUMMER
  27. 27. CURRICULAR CONNECTIONS  What can these primary sources and eye-witness accounts add to your classes or programs?  How would you connect these stories to other parts of your curriculum?  What questions, ideas, or themes would you explore?  What additional stories or resources might you bring in?
  28. 28. FREEDOM SUMMER Online Learning for Jewish Educators Jewish Women’s Archive

Notas do Editor

  • Jewish educators are essential partners.Educators are catalysts for bringing the rich and inclusive history of Jews in America to students of all ages and genders.
  • Students cannot be what they cannot see—teaching them about historical role models that represent the entire Jewish community allows our students to imagine and build an inclusive Jewish future.Using primary sources and personal narrative helps students explore the past and investigate why it matters to them.
  • Took place in the summer (and then fall) of 1964
  • In 1964, The Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), with heavy student leadership from SNCC, launched the Freedom Summer project, a new campaign that built on and expanded the community organizing that both orgs had been doing for a few years in the South1,000 Northern students, mostly white and affluent. Half of whites were Jews though Jews only made up less than 1% of the population. Photo: http://digilib.usm.edu/cdm/ref/collection/manu/id/5748Map: http://www.keepinghistoryalive.com/media/photo-fs-largemap.jpg
  • In 1964, 42% of the state's population was African American, but less than 5% could register to vote due to literacy tests, poll taxes, and physical intimidation. The racial caste system was held firmly in place by a tradition of violence against African Americans.Worked on voter registration (efforts that had been led by SNCC starting in 1962, before that by CORE, NAACP, and regional rights groups), the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, and Freedom Schools.Photos: Left: http://www.slate.com/blogs/behold/2012/11/08/civil_rights_victories_magnum_photos_capture_black_women_and_gay_rights.htmlRight: http://digilib.usm.edu/cdm/ref/collection/manu/id/6016
  • The project created more than 40 freedom schools (some of which became enduring, community-based institutions) that taught reading, math, politics, and African American history to black children. Over the course of the summer about 60,000 African Americans signed up to join the MFDP, and the newly-formed party sent a slate of delegates to the August 1964 Democratic National Convention, demanding to be seated in place of the all-white regular state delegation.Photos, clockwise from top right:http://digilib.usm.edu/cdm/ref/collection/manu/id/216http://digilib.usm.edu/cdm/ref/collection/manu/id/6160http://digilib.usm.edu/cdm/ref/collection/manu/id/207http://digilib.usm.edu/cdm/ref/collection/manu/id/6249
  • Most infamous are the murders of James Chaney (21 years old), an African American from Mississippi, and Michael Schwerner (24) and Andrew Goodman (20), both Jews from New York.Went missing on June 21, 1964Rita Schwerner worked tirelessly for justice in the case—Seven men were found guilty but served relatively short sentences. Edgar Ray Killen, who had planned and directed the murders, was acquitted in the 1967 case but was finally convicted of three counts of manslaughter in 2005.6 civil rights workers were murdered and volunteers also experienced 1,000 arrests, 80 beatings, 35 shooting incidents, and 30 bombings of homes, churches, and schools. Volunteers for Freedom Summer knew that this was a risk they were taking. Many accepted it knowing that southern blacks were facing the same risks every day.Part of the tactic was to get media attention from white participation
  • What values or experiences do Vicki Gabriner and Heather Booth identify as influential?Where/how did they learn these values?What are some things you have learned within your family that shape the way you see the world and/or act in the world?Do you think Vicki Gabriner and Heather Booth were conscious of their motivations at the time? Do you think it matters if you know why you are doing something to help others or is it okay if you just do it? Why?TEXT: http://jwa.org/node/11336/lightbox2
  • What values or experiences do Vicki Gabriner and Heather Booth identify as influential?Where/how did they learn these values?What are some things you have learned within your family that shape the way you see the world and/or act in the world?Do you think Vicki Gabriner and Heather Booth were conscious of their motivations at the time? Do you think it matters if you know why you are doing something to help others or is it okay if you just do it? Why?TEXT: http://jwa.org/node/11336/lightbox2
  • What values or experiences do Vicki Gabriner and Heather Booth identify as influential?Where/how did they learn these values?What are some things you have learned within your family that shape the way you see the world and/or act in the world?Do you think Vicki Gabriner and Heather Booth were conscious of their motivations at the time? Do you think it matters if you know why you are doing something to help others or is it okay if you just do it? Why?
  • Instructions for Games:
  • Instructionsfor Games:
  • Vicki Gabriner Oral History: http://jwa.org/blog/vicki-gabriner-podcast0:48-1:28
  • Letter from:Elizabeth Sutherland, ed. Letters from Mississippi. (NY: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1965.)

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