During the summer of 1964, hundreds of Northern college students traveled to Mississippi to help register black voters and encourage participation in the Civil Rights movement. Under the direction of the Council of Federated Organizations, the predominantly white students organized health clinics, established "freedom schools" to educate black school children, and sponsored voter registration drives throughout the state. Perhaps most importantly, student volunteers helped to establish the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), which attempted to unseat the state's all-white regular delegation at the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City. Although the Democratic Party ultimately seated Mississippi's regular delegation, the MFDP's bid for recognition raised awareness of voter discrimination in the Deep South and helped secure passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Archival Collections and Reference Resources
- Online Manuscript Resources in Southern Women's History (Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library)