Throwback Thursday: The Freedom Libraries of Mississippi

In this 50th anniversary year of Freedom Summer, a look back at SLJ's 1965 coverage of efforts to provide library services for black children in one of the most segregationist states in the South.
In the summer of 1964, more than 1,000 volunteers converged on Mississippi to help register African Americans to vote. Among those volunteers was Frederick W. Heinze, who worked with the Council of Federated Organization’s (COFO) Mississippi project, helping establish Freedom Schools, which included providing library services for black children in one of the most segregationist states in the South. Heinze documented these efforts in an article for School Library Journal. Published in the April 1965 issue, “The Freedom Libraries” is a remarkably matter-of-fact account of a watershed moment in the American civil rights movement, underscored by a strong sense of purpose in turning around entrenched inequities through education and literacy. Click on the below image to access the full article, which includes an image of COFO's Vicksburg Freedom House after it was bombed in October 1964. The Nassau-Suffolk School Library Association in New York contributed to a rebuilding fund and sent books to Vicksburg, including works by Ezra Jack Keats.

FreedomLibraries_TBT

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

TOP STORIES

LIBRARY EDUCATION

Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones

COMMUNITY FORM

Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones

COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT

Kids are using VR to explore worlds and create new ones

Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.