It was called Freedom Summer, a campaign organized by civil rights groups in 1964 to send hundreds of young people into the heart of Mississippi to register black voters.
The Newseum in Washington, DC marks the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer with a special program featuring an extended preview of the new American Experience film Freedom Summer, produced, written and directed by Stanley Nelson. The film debuts on PBS on June 24 at 9pm.
The program also includes a conversation with Nelson, civil rights leader Bob Moses and Rita Schwerner Bender, whose husband, Michael Schwerner, was one of three Freedom Summer volunteers notoriously murdered by members of the Ku Klux Klan. The discussion will be moderated by Gwen Ifill of PBS NewsHour.
Mark Samels, executive producer of American Experience, will also make remarks prior to the screening.
Freedom Summer tells the story of the 10 memorable weeks in 1964 when more than 700 student volunteers from around the country joined organizers and local civil rights leaders in a historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in Mississippi. Major funding for the Freedom Summer documentary was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The event is free and open to the public, reservations required. Register online at the Newseum.
The June 16 Freedom Summer screening and discussion coincides with a yearlong exhibit at the Newseum, 1964: Civil Rights at 50, that chronicles the events of a dramatic year in the civil rights movement, including Freedom summer, 'Mississippi Burning' and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.