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Ed King’s Mississippi: Behind the Scenes of Freedom Summer features more than forty unpublished black-and-white photographs and substantial writings by the prominent civil rights activist Rev. Ed King. The images and text provide a unique perspective on Mississippi during the summer of 1964. Taken in Jackson, Greenwood, and Philadelphia, the photographs showcase informal images of Martin Luther King Jr., Andrew Young, Mississippi civil rights workers, and college student volunteers in the movement. Ed King’s writings offer background and insights on the motivations and work of Freedom Summer volunteers, on the racial climate of Mississippi during the late 1950s and 1960s, and the grassroots effort by black Mississippians to enter the political arena and exercise their fundamental civil rights. King, a native of Vicksburg and a Methodist minister, was a founder of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and a key figure in the civil rights movement in the state in the 1960s. As one of the few white Mississippians with a leadership position in the movement, his words and photographs offer a rare behind-the-scenes chronicle of events in the state during Freedom Summer. King is a retired faculty member of the School of Health Related Professions, University of Mississippi Medical Center. Historian Trent Watts furnishes a substantial introduction to the volume and offers background on the Freedom Summer campaign as well as a description of King’s civil rights activism from the late 1950s to the present day.
An extraordinary photographic documentary from behind the scenes during the struggle for civil rights
On Saturday, September 5, 1964, the family of Albert W. “Red” Heffner Jr., a successful insurance agent, left their house at 202 Shannon Drive in McComb, Mississippi, where they had lived for ten years. They never returned. In the eyes of neighbors, their unforgiveable sin was to have spoken on several occasions with civil rights workers and to have invited two into their home. Consequently, the Heffners were subjected to a campaign of harassment, ostracism, and economic retaliation shocking to a white family who believed that they were respected community members. So the Heffners Left McComb, originally published in 1965 and reprinted now for the first time, is Greenville journalist Hodding Carter’s account of the events that led to the Heffners’ downfall. Historian Trent Brown, a McComb native, supplies a substantial introduction evaluating the book’s significance. The Heffners’ story demonstrates the forces of fear, conformity, communal pressure, and threats of retaliation that silenced so many white Mississippians during the 1950s and 1960s. Carter’s book provides a valuable portrait of a family who was not choosing to make a stand, but merely extending humane hospitality. Yet the Heffners were systematically punished and driven into exile for what was perceived as treason against white apartheid.
Winner of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters' Nonfiction Award The dominant narrative of the role of white citizens and the white church in Mississippi's civil rights era focuses on their intense resistance to change. The "Born of Conviction" statement, signed by twenty-eight white Methodist pastors and published in the Mississippi Methodist Advocate on January 2, 1963, offered an alternative witness to the segregationist party line. Calling for freedom of the pulpit and reminding readers of the Methodist Discipline's claim that the teachings of Jesus permit "no discrimination because of race, color, or creed," the pastors sought to speak to and for a mostly silent yet significant minority of Mississippians, and to lead white Methodists to join the conversation on the need for racial justice. The document additionally expressed support for public schools and opposition to any attempt to close them, and affirmed the signers' opposition to Communism. Though a few individuals, both laity and clergy, voiced public affirmation of "Born of Conviction," the overwhelming reaction was negative-by mid-1964, eighteen of the signers had left Mississippi, evidence of the challenges faced by whites who offered even mild dissent to massive resistance in the Deep South. Dominant narratives, however, rarely tell the whole story. The statement caused a significant crack in the public unanimity of Mississippi white resistance. Signers and their public supporters also received private messages of gratitude for their stand, and eight of the signers would remain in the Methodist ministry in Mississippi until retirement. Born of Conviction tells the story of "the Twenty-Eight" illuminating the impact on the larger culture of this attempt by white clergy to support race relations change. The book explores the theological and ethical understandings of the signers through an account of their experiences before, during, and after the statement's publication. It also offers a detailed portrait of both public and private expressions of the theology and ethics of white Mississippi Methodists in general, as revealed by their responses to the "Born of Conviction" controversy.
During the summer of 1964, more than a thousand individuals descended on Mississippi to help the state's African American citizens register to vote. Student organizers, volunteers, and community members canvassed black neighborhoods to organize the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), a group that sought to give a voice to black Mississippians and demonstrate their will to vote in the face of terror and intimidation. In For a Voice and the Vote, author Lisa Anderson Todd gives a fascinating insider's account of her experience volunteering in Greenville, Mississippi, during Freedom Summer, when she participated in assembling the MFDP. Innovative and integrated, the party worked to provide education, candidates, and local and statewide organization for blacks who were denied the vote. For Todd, it was an exciting, dangerous, and life-changing experience. The summer culminated with the 1964 Atlantic City Democratic Convention, where the MFDP fought boldly for the opportunity to be included as the voting Mississippi delegation but, when they ultimately refused the Democrats' unacceptable terms, were criticized as politically naïve, militant protestors. This firsthand account attempts to set the record straight about the MFDP's challenge to the convention and to shed light on the efforts of this dedicated, loyal, and courageous delegation. Offering the first full account of the group's five days in Atlantic City, For a Voice and the Vote draws on oral histories, the author's personal interviews of individuals who supported the MFDP in 1964, and other primary sources.
One of the most influential leaders in the civil rights movement, Robert Parris Moses was essential in making Mississippi a central battleground state in the fight for voting rights. As a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Moses presented himself as a mere facilitator of grassroots activism rather than a charismatic figure like Martin Luther King Jr. His self-effacing demeanor and his success, especially in steering the events that led to the volatile 1964 Freedom Summer and the formation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, paradoxically gave him a reputation of nearly heroic proportions. Examining the dilemmas of a leader who worked to cultivate local leadership, historian Laura Visser-Maessen explores the intellectual underpinnings of Moses's strategy, its achievements, and its struggles. This new biography recasts Moses as an effective, hands-on organizer, safeguarding his ideals while leading from behind the scenes. By returning Moses to his rightful place among the foremost leaders of the movement, Visser-Maessen testifies to Moses's revolutionary approach to grassroots leadership and the power of the individual in generating social change.
New Orleans is a city of many storied streets, but only one conjures up as much unbridled passion as it does fervent hatred, simultaneously polarizing the public while drawing millions of visitors a year. A fascinating investigation into the mile-long urban space that is Bourbon Street, Richard Campanella's comprehensive cultural history spans from the street's inception during the colonial period through three tu-multuous centuries, arriving at the world-famous entertainment strip of today. Clearly written and carefully researched, Campanella's book interweaves world events -- from the Louisiana Purchase to World War II to Hurricane Katrina -- with local and national characters, ranging from presidents to showgirls, to explain how Bourbon Street became an intri-guing and singular artifact, uniquely informative of both New Orleans's history and American society. While offering a captivating historical-geographical panorama of Bourbon Street, Campanella also presents a contemporary microview of the area, describing the population, architecture, and local economy, and shows how Bourbon Street operates on a typical night. The fate of these few blocks in the French Quarter is played out on a larger stage, however, as the internationally recognized brands that Bourbon Street merchants and the city of New Orleans strive to promote both clash with and complement each other. An epic narrative detailing the influence of politics, money, race, sex, organized crime, and tourism, Bourbon Street: A History ultimately demonstrates that one of the most well-known addresses in North America is more than the epicenter of Mardi Gras; it serves as a battle-ground for a fund-amental dispute over cultural authenticity and commodification.
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