Freedom Summer At 50

PBS’ “American Experience” is honoring the 50th anniversary of the Mississippi Freedom Summer with a wonderful show. It showcases the thousands of student volunteers, organizers and local blacks who encouraged voter registration, created schools and challenged the segregationist state Democratic Party at the national convention in Atlantic City. That summer saw the murders of 3 civil rights workers, countless beatings, the burning of 35 churches, and the bombing of 70 homes and Freedom Houses.

Westport artist and writer Tracy Sugarman — who died in 2013 — played an important role in that effort. His words and drawings are featured prominently in the broadcast.

Channel 13 aired “Freedom Summer” last night. It will be repeated early tomorrow morning (Thursday, June 26, 2 a.m.) and Saturday (June 28, 2 p.m.). If you can’t see it live, this one is definitely worth recording.

Tracy Sugarman (above left, with his family), and some of his sketches, on the "American Experience" website.

Tracy Sugarman (above left, with his family), and some of his sketches, on the “American Experience” website.

(Hat tip to Dick Lowenstein)


4 responses to “Freedom Summer At 50

  1. I taped and have been watching the documentary and it brings back so many memories. Meetings with Mr. Sugarman (Tracy) and his family, Fannie Lou Hamer speaking, and of course the time Dr. King spoke at Temple Israel as we’ve talked about. So sad to see these events again but so glad we have persevered and will continue to. I was too young to go in 1964 but I was a member of SNCC, CORE and other groups, and stood on a corner downtown with a sash, “Mississippi Summer Project.” Even in Westport (!) some people said horrible things and one man spit on the ground!! But other gave — quarters, dimes which were a lot in those days. Amazing the synchronicity of Pete Seeger singing at the moment the announcement was made; I cried just as I did back then. Thank you for the inspiring if tragic memories.

  2. signature didn’t complete!! Website below

  3. Nick Thiemann

    The show relives a time when young people felt empowered to accomplish something. It expresses their energy , happiness, fears, and disappointment. Come on kids, there’s more to life than a job.

  4. Julia McNamee

    One of the Inklings classrooms at Staples was lucky enough to receive some of Mr. Sugarman’s works, thanks to the work of Kathie Bennewitz. They’re incredibly moving and no doubt will motivate kids for years to come.