• At this spring 1964 press conference, Robert Moses of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) explains the agenda for the upcoming Freedom Summer initiative. Freedom Summer organizers invited college students—many of them white—to Mississippi to lead Freedom Schools and help register voters during the summer of 1964. Their objective, also reflected by the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, was to secure black voting power going into the 1964 presidential election and to get the country to “actually take a look at Mississippi.” Courtesy of WSB-TV, Walter J. Brown Media Archives via Digital Library of Georgia.

    More info
    Select an item:
    WSB-TV newsfilm clip of a press conference with Bob Moses and James Forman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee about the upcoming Mississippi Freedom Summer, 1964
    • Date
    • 1964
    • Creator
    • WSB-TV (Television station : Atlanta, Ga.)
    • Description
    • In this WSB newsfilm clip from the spring of 1964, Bob Moses and James Forman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) hold a press conference about plans for the upcoming Mississippi Freedom Summer. The clip begins with three African ... more
      In this WSB newsfilm clip from the spring of 1964, Bob Moses and James Forman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) hold a press conference about plans for the upcoming Mississippi Freedom Summer. The clip begins with three African Americans sitting at a table with microphones in front of them. James Forman sits at the right end of the table; Bob Moses is in the middle; and the individual on the left is unidentified. For a time Moses appears to speak, but his comments are not recorded. Later, a newsman adjusts dials on a piece of equipment. During the audio portion of the clip, Moses speaks about the Mississippi Freedom Summer and explains that civil rights organizations working together on the project hope to send over one thousand "teachers, ministers, lawyers, and students from all around the country" to help. Moses outlines the components of the project, including Freedom Schools, community programs, voter registration, research, and work in the white community. Moses expresses civil rights workers' desire to "get the country to actually take a look at Mississippi." He also indicates that they hope to bring "real change in the state" and to help African Americans vote in the 1964 election. Moses points out that with the ratification of the 24th Amendment to the Constitution, which ruled poll taxes illegal in federal elections, African Americans in Mississippi should be able to vote in the 1964 presidential election. The 24th Amendment was ratified on January 23, 1964. The only state to reject the amendment was Mississippi, which was one of five states with a poll tax when the amendment was ratified. Mississippi Freedom Summer was a cooperative effort of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) under the direction of the local coalition of civil rights organizations, the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO). The project was headed by Bob Moses of SNCC and David Dennis of CORE and brought over one thousand students to over eighty counties in Mississippi beginning in June 1964. Title supplied by cataloger. The Civil Rights Digital Library received support from a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded to the University of Georgia by the Institute of Museum and Library Services for digital conversion and description of the WSB-TV Newsfilm Collection. Original found in the WSB-TV newsfilm collection. less
    • Rights
    • Http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/. Cite as: WSB-TV newsfilm clip of a press conference with Bob Moses and James Forman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee about the upcoming Mississippi Freedom Summer, 1964, WSB-TV newsfilm coll... more
      Http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/. Cite as: WSB-TV newsfilm clip of a press conference with Bob Moses and James Forman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee about the upcoming Mississippi Freedom Summer, 1964, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 0871, 3:19/04:50, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia. less
    • Partner
    • Digital Library of Georgia
    • Contributing Institution
    • Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection

  • This Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party pamphlet introduces votersmany likely taking part in the political process for the first timeto the voting process by which the MFDP would elect a delegation to attend the Democratic convention and nominate its own candidates for Congressional offices. The MFDP defined itself as the party for “all people who want to be free,” including black communities and white supporters. Courtesy of Wisconsin Historical Society via Recollection Wisconsin.

    More info
    Select an item:
    Mississippi Freedom Demoratic party pamphlet
    • Date
    • 1964-1965
    • Creator
    • Werner, Hank
    • Description
    • This folder is primarily devoted to the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and its Congressional Challenge. It opens with the familiar COFO pamphlet on the MFDP. The folder also includes the following: a press release about the MFDP's (lack of a) p... more
      This folder is primarily devoted to the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and its Congressional Challenge. It opens with the familiar COFO pamphlet on the MFDP. The folder also includes the following: a press release about the MFDP's (lack of a) position on the War in Vietnam. Joseph Meissner and Steven R. Nelson's 1965 questions and answers about the Mississippi Congressional Challenge. Part of the September 17, 1965, Congressional Record on Congress's dismissal of the Congressional Challenge. Lawrence Guyot's letter to MFDP supporters on the disappointing Congressional Challenge results. The MFDP's passionate October 1965 statement before the Democratic Party's Equal Rights Committee, castigating the Democratic Party of Mississippi for its lack of loyalty to the national Democratic Party, while detailing the MFDP's history and loyalty. There is a late October 1965 MFDP report to its supporters, documenting continuing discrimination by county registrars, jailing of protesters, resistance to school integration, and violence and intimidation in Natchez. The folder concludes with newspaper clippings about a federal court's setting aside 1966 elections in which African American voters had been excluded from registering, and two progress reports from the MFDP about the court decision and dire conditions in Sunflower County. less
    • Rights
    • Copyright to these documents belongs to the individuals who created them or the organizations for which they worked. The principal organizations have been defunct for many years and copyright to their unpublished records is uncertain. We share them h... more
      Copyright to these documents belongs to the individuals who created them or the organizations for which they worked. The principal organizations have been defunct for many years and copyright to their unpublished records is uncertain. We share them here strictly for non-profit educational purposes. We have attempted to contact individuals who created personal papers of significant length or importance. Nearly all have generously permitted us to include their work. If you believe that you possess copyright to material included here, please contact us at asklibrary@wisconsinhistory.org. Under the fair use provisions of the U.S. copyright law, teachers and students are free to reproduce any document for nonprofit classroom use. Commercial use of copyright-protected material is generally prohibited. less
    • Partner
    • Recollection Wisconsin
    • Contributing Institution
    • Wisconsin Historical Society

  • Fannie Lou Hamer was a founder and leader of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and was selected as the party’s candidate for Congress in 1964. At the convention, Hamer’s televised testimony about the intimidation and violence she had been subjected to in her efforts to exercise her right to vote helped awaken the nation to the realities of Jim Crow politics. She famously asserted: “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Courtesy of Wisconsin Historical Society via Recollection Wisconsin.

    More info
    Select an item:
    Fannie Lou Hamer on Television
    • Date
    • 1964
    • Description
    • A television set displays an image of Fannie Lou Hamer, civil rights activist and political figure, speaking into microphones.
    • Rights
    • Copyright to these documents belongs to the individuals who created them or the organizations for which they worked. The principal organizations have been defunct for many years and copyright to their unpublished records is uncertain. We share them h... more
      Copyright to these documents belongs to the individuals who created them or the organizations for which they worked. The principal organizations have been defunct for many years and copyright to their unpublished records is uncertain. We share them here strictly for non-profit educational purposes. We have attempted to contact individuals who created personal papers of significant length or importance. Nearly all have generously permitted us to include their work. If you believe that you possess copyright to material included here, please contact us at asklibrary@wisconsinhistory.org. Under the fair use provisions of the U.S. copyright law, teachers and students are free to reproduce any document for nonprofit classroom use. Commercial use of copyright-protected material is generally prohibited. less
    • Partner
    • Recollection Wisconsin
    • Contributing Institution
    • Wisconsin Historical Society

  • The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party inspired broad public support for their cause. In this photograph, protesters march outside the Atlantic City convention hall demanding that the Democratic Party—and specifically President Johnson—recognize the MFDP delegation. Courtesy of Wisconsin Historical Society via Recollection Wisconsin.

    More info
    Select an item:
    Protest supporting the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party
    • Date
    • 1964-08
    • Description
    • A nighttime rally outside the Atlantic City Convention Hall in support of seating the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party(MFDP) at the 1964 Democratic National Convention.
    • Rights
    • Copyright to these documents belongs to the individuals who created them or the organizations for which they worked. The principal organizations have been defunct for many years and copyright to their unpublished records is uncertain. We share them h... more
      Copyright to these documents belongs to the individuals who created them or the organizations for which they worked. The principal organizations have been defunct for many years and copyright to their unpublished records is uncertain. We share them here strictly for non-profit educational purposes. We have attempted to contact individuals who created personal papers of significant length or importance. Nearly all have generously permitted us to include their work. If you believe that you possess copyright to material included here, please contact us at asklibrary@wisconsinhistory.org. Under the fair use provisions of the U.S. copyright law, teachers and students are free to reproduce any document for nonprofit classroom use. Commercial use of copyright-protected material is generally prohibited. less
    • Partner
    • Recollection Wisconsin
    • Contributing Institution
    • Wisconsin Historical Society

Founded in April of 1964, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) challenged the authority of the all-white Democratic Party that dominated Mississippi politics and disenfranchised black voters.  Bolstered by Freedom Summer voter registration efforts in black communities throughout the state and alternative “Freedom Ballots” organized in parallel with official elections, MFDP hosted its own state convention and elected its own delegation to the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

MFDP organizer and Mississippi native Fannie Lou Hamer had endured brutal physical abuse in retribution for her efforts to vote freely. Her televised testimony at the Democratic convention’s credentials hearing convinced many Americans that the MFDP delegates should be recognized. However, when threatened with a walkout by other white southern delegations, President Lyndon Johnson and other party leaders refused to unseat the Mississippi delegation in favor of the MFDP. Instead, they offered a weak compromise to the MFDP: two at-large non-voting seats. The MFDP refused these terms.

The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party’s presence at the convention drew national attention to the brutality of black voter disenfranchisement in Mississippi and throughout the South and helped catalyze support for the Voting Rights Act, which was passed the following year. Their dismissal by the Democratic Party reinforced the importance of their work; expanding black voting rights and political power would be critical in order to ensure representation in institutions of political power like party conventions and elected office.