University of Southern Mississippi Freedom Summer Conference

University of Southern Mississippi Freedom Summer Conference (Image 1)

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – It was a time of hardship for the Pine Belt, and all across the South. Now, it’s being commemorated by those who remember.

“And we’re not only commemorating it, but we’re also relying on our resources – the people who remember. the people who lived it and sacrificed it,” said Sherita Johnson, Conference Coordinator.

 It was Freedom Summer. And the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Black Studies is educating the community on the historic movement in 1964.

“I think it makes us appreciate what went through during the struggle. It also makes us appreciate the progress we’ve made. And also the work that still remains to be done,” said Anthony Harris, Professor of the Center for Black Studies.

That summer, activists from all around trailed throughout the South in efforts to end segregation and bring civil rights to African-Americans. 

Those who participated in Hattiesburg were invited to come back and share their experiences with the university.

“I wanted to see how things have changed in 50 years and things have changed a lot,” said a participator in the Freedom Summer, Paul Terrell.

It’s also a time for professors to get a broader understanding of the movement, and incorporate it into their lessons.

According to Johnson, the conference is the center’s effort to remain committed to bridging the gap between the community and the university.

 The conference will continue throughout the weekend, ending with a bus tour of the Freedom Summer Trail.

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