freedom summer

  • Sep - Mississippi Voter Registration Project Proposed

    Bob Moses, director of SNCC, proposes a Mississippi voter registration project to the SNCC executive committee
  • Aug 28 - The March on Washington

    Officially named "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom," this mass demonstration draws 250,000 people. Martin Luther King delivers his "I Have a Dream" speech
  • Sep 6 - Atlanta SNCC Meeting

    During this four-day meeting, SNCC debates Moses' idea to focus on Mississippi voter registration rather than conducting direct actions such as sit-ins and boycotts.
  • Nov 4 - 'Freedom Vote' 1963

    • More than 80,000 people participate in mock elections to disprove the white claim that Africa-Americans didn't want to vote.
  • Nov 11 - Greenville SNCC Meeting

    • At this four-day staff meeting in Greenville, Mississippi, SNCC debates bringing 1,000 northern students to Mississippi the next summer
  • Dec 15 - Jackson COFO Meeting

    At this meeting in Jackson, Mississippi, COFO appoints Bob Moses its project director for voter registration and Dave Dennis assistant program director.
  • Dec 31 - SNCC Executive Committee Meeting

    • Leaders finally endorse a Mississippi Summer Project for 1964 that includes large numbers of northern white volunteers.
  • May - Blacks Barred from Local Democratic Party Meetings

    As expected, black residents are barred from participating in the Mississippi Democratic Party's local meetings to choose candidates and convention delegates. They hold parallel Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) meetings and choose their own.
  • Mar-Apr- Freedom Summer Project Recruits Volunteers

    Volunteers are invited to apply to work in Mississippi during the project.
  • Apr - Mississippi Legislature Enacts Restrictions

    New laws are passed that restrict picketing and leafleting and expand police authority to intervene.
  • Late Jun - Residents and Volunteers Continue to Face Violence -

    More than 40 incidents of harassment and violence occur around the state during the last two weeks in June. By July 1, 1964, Mississippi has had five bombings, four murders, and numerous shootings of civil rights workers.
  • Aug-Sep - McComb Violence

    In McComb, Mississippi, nine black homes, churches, and businesses are fire bombed over the course of three weeks.
  • Jan 16 - COFO Proposes Challenge at the Democratic National Convention

    A COFO subcommittee proposes challenging the right of any all-white delegation to represent Mississippi at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) to be held in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in August 1964.
  • Jan 22 - Hattiesburg 'Freedom Day'

    COFO helps 150 black residents of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, attempt to register to vote on 'Freedom Day.' Clergy from around the country assemble to support them.
  • Jan 31 - Activist Louis Allen Murdered

    Local NAACP organizer Louis Allen of Liberty, Mississippi, is shot and killed for his support of voter registration efforts. This tips the scales for undecided COFO leaders, who agree to go ahead with the Freedom Summer Project.
  • Feb 9 - Freedom Summer Project Authorized

    COFO formally authorizes the Freedom Summer Project. They hope a large influx of well-connected volunteers will focus the country's attention on Mississippi and force the federal government to pass voting rights legislation.
  • Feb 28 - Canton 'Freedom Day'

    In Canton, Mississippi, COFO helps more than 300 black residents line up at the county courthouse to register to vote. Though there is no violence, they are guarded by police with shotguns and tear gas. It is the state's largest voter registration attempt up to that time.
  • Mar 21 - Freedom School Planning Conference

    The National Council of Churches hosts a Freedom School planning conference in New York City.
  • Mar 30 - Freedom Summer Project Announced

    COFO officially launches the project in a one-page press release.
  • Apr 12 - Black Candidates Nominated

    COFO announces black candidates will enter the Mississippi Democratic Party nominating process and, knowing they'll be excluded, also run in a parallel 'Freedom Vote' in November.
  • Jun 14 - Volunteer Training Begins

    Volunteers begin to receive training at Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio, sponsored by the National Council of Churches. The first group attends workshops until June 20. A second session runs June 21-28.
  • Jun 21 - James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Mickey Schwerner Disappear

    Three project workers who left the Ohio training a day early — James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Mickey Schwerner — are reported missing. They had gone to Longdale, Mississippi, to investigate the bombing of Mt. Zion Church, which had offered to host a Freedom School. They were arrested in Philadelphia, Mississippi, on their way back to the COFO office in Meridian, and were never heard from again.
  • Jun 29 - Freedom Summer Project Begins

    Roughly 500 volunteers and staff are at work in 25 locations around the state.
  • Jul 2 - First Freedom Schools Open

    The first Freedom Schools open in the Mississippi cities of Clarksdale, Holly Springs, and Vicksburg.
  • Jul 2 - Civil Rights Act of 1964 Signed

    President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It outlaws major forms of discrimination such as segregated facilities or voting laws but provides weak enforcement powers to the federal government.
  • Jul 22 - Martin Luther King Visits

    Martin Luther King visits the Mississippi cities of Jackson and Vicksburg to show his support for the Freedom Summer Project.
  • Aug 4 - Murdered Volunteers Bodies Found

    The bodies of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner are found buried in an earthen dam on a farm outside Philadelphia, Mississippi. Local police had released the three young men to the Ku Klux Klan, who tortured and murdered them before burning their car and hiding their bodies.
  • Aug 8 - Freedom School Convention

    A statewide Freedom School convention is held in Meridian, Mississippi. Students from around the state review the summer's accomplishments and draft resolutions.
  • Aug 22 - Democratic National Convention Held

    In Atlantic City, New Jersey, delegates from the Mississippi Democratic Freedom Party challenge the right of delegates from the segregated mainstream Mississippi Democratic Party to represent the state.
  • Oct 31 - 'Freedom Vote' Held

    Because most black Mississippians have not been allowed to vote in the official election, Freedom Summer Project leaders organize the 1964 'Freedom Vote.' This parallel election is held from October 31 through November 2, 1964, during which more than 68,000 people cast their votes.
  • Nov 3 - Official Election Held

    Lyndon B. Johnson is re-elected President of the United States and white supremacists win Mississippi's five congressional seats.
  • Dec 4 - Mississippi Congressmen Challenged

    MFDP challenges the right of the five white congressional representatives elected in November to take their seats, on the grounds that blacks were systematically excluded from voting. After nine months of legal and political wrangling, the U.S. House of Representatives rejects the challenge in September 1965.
  • Jan 16 - FBI Indicts Murder Suspects

    The FBI indicts 18 suspects in the murders of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner. Local officials immediately drop all charges but, under federal pressure, the men are re-charged the next month. Seven are found guilty when legal proceedings end in 1967.
  • Aug 6 - Voting Rights Act of 1965 Signed Into Law

    President Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act into law with Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and other civil rights leaders in attendance.