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
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
- 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
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