Due by April 23 @ midnight
On August 4, 1964, the bodies of three Civil Rights workers, Michael Schwerner, James E. Chaney and Andrew Goodman, were found in a dam on a farm near Philadelphia, Mississippi. The three young men had disappeared six weeks earlier on June 21, 1964. These murders shocked Americans as news reports of these cold blooded killings circulated throughout the nation. The men had been ambushed by the Ku Klux Klan in retaliation for their participation in a massive drive to register African American voters known as Freedom Summer. The events of that summer marked a turning point in U.S. history and in the Civil Rights Movement, mobilizing American society and helping spur Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
1. Freedom Summer was part of the larger Civil Rights Movement of the mid-twentieth century. Do you think it’s accurate to call the Civil Rights Movement a Second Reconstruction?
2. Describe and define Freedom Summer. Why do you think activists decided to focus on registering voters? What other issues could they have chosen to highlight?
3. Mississippi was called the “last frontier” of the Civil Rights Movement. Why? Why do you think it was chosen as the focus of Freedom Summer?
4. One of the aims of the Civil Rights Movement was to overturn the Jim Crow system of the South. What was Jim Crow? Was segregation legal? Discuss.
5. Civil Rights workers tried to help African-Americans in the South register to vote. What were some of the obstacles African-Americans faced when trying to register to vote?
6. Who was Medgar Evers? Why was he assassinated?
7. Although white students helped to bring media attention to the Civil Rights Movement, there were some complications. Discuss the pros and cons of white students going down South to be a part of Freedom Summer.
8. The Ku Klux Klan targeted Michael Schwerner for assassination. Why? What did Schwerner do to upset the Klan?
9. Lyndon B. Johnson was president of the United States during Freedom Summer. How did Johnson deal with the events of Freedom Summer?
10. Were you surprised by the violence the Civil Rights Movement provoked? Why do you think the KKK and others reacted so violently? Discuss.