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- - About Freedom Summer 2004
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Freedom Summer 2004:
The 40th Anniversary of Freedom Summer 1964

Freedom Summer 1964 was a campaign for Black voter registration in the Deep South organized by young people everywhere whose sacrifices have created a more just society. It was during the Freedom Summer 1964 events that civil rights activists and Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) members James Earl Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman were murdered in Mississippi, while working to secure the rights of the poor and Black. In their memory, the Chaney Goodman Schwerner Justice Coalition will ride again for freedom and justice.

Freedom Rides were the acts of courageous individuals who sought to end the segregation of public transportation throughout the South. These individuals boarded buses, planes, and trains headed for the Deep South enduring harassment, beatings, and arrests as they tried to promote equality through non-violent strategies.

In a tribute to Freedom Summer 1964 and the original Freedom Rides the Justice Coalition is organizing Freedom Summer 2004. The Justice Coalition is sponsoring Freedom Summer for three main purposes:

  • To remember and celebrate the sacrifices made by Chaney, Goodman, Schwerner, and other civil rights activists.
  • To emphasize the continued need for voter registration, voter participation, voter education and the defense of suffrage rights.
  • To encourage young voters to vote.

Freedom Summer 2004, a bus caravan traveling the route of the original Freedom Rides will begin June 10, 2004 in New York City and will visit key cities and sites important to the Civil Rights movement. During the journey, special celebratory events will be held at each stop with participation from civil rights, religious, political, social, entertainment, and sports organizations and individuals.

The journey will culminate in Washington, D.C., where the participants will meet with members of U.S. Congress. The Millennium Conference of Freedom Summer 2004 will conduct workshops to develop key legislative proposals for presentation to the U.S. Congress. Workshops will take place on the electronically linked Freedom Ride bus caravan; each bus will have a multimedia laptop computer linked to a website. This technology will enable people from around the country to help establish a national consensus on the issues of the conference.


Throughout Freedom Summer 2004, Freedom Riders will hold voter jams at various historic sites and Historical Black Institutions and to increase voter registration.

Gospel Fest 2004, a grand gospel jamboree bringing together major gospel artists and choirs, will be held on the evening of June 9, 2004. This concert will emphasize the role of the Black church in America’s fight for civil rights and will serve to bless the commemorative events to follow.

The Mississippi Millennium Jam is an entertainment spectacular on June 21, 2004 that will follow a dedication at the grave of James Earl Chaney. Entertainment events celebrating civil rights include a step show competition between various college campuses' fraternities and sororities and a concert featuring hip-hop and other headline artists.

The Day of Action—June 25, 2004—will mark the end of Freedom Summer 2004 with a formal presentation of Millennium Conference proposals to the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C. Members of Congress and the White House will be invited to speak with the Freedom Summer participants, who will then be encouraged to visit their regional Congressional representatives to discuss the legislative proposals.


Donate to the James Earl Chaney Foundation Now Through Network for GoodThe James Earl Chaney Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit Human Rights & Civil Rights organization.  Contributions made payable to the James Earl Chaney Foundation are tax exempt.

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