Freedom Summer

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Freedom Summer was a civil rights campaign across Mississippi during the summer of 1964.

Freedom Day march

By 1964 only a small portion of eligible black residents in the Hattiesburg area were registered to vote, mostly due to laws designed to discourage or even prevent blacks from registering. A typical voter registration form required applicants to copy and interpret a section of the Mississippi state constitution chosen by the registrar (see a sample form below).

On January 22, 1964, a crowd of around 200 gathered in a light rain around the Forrest County courthouse. According to contemporary accounts the majority of the crowd was black, with a dozen or so white ministers from other (mostly northern) states participating as well. Four applicants were allowed inside the circuit clerk's office at a time. By noon on January 22, 16 had filled out applications.[1] By the end of the day a total of 36 people completed registration forms[2]. The voter registration drive and picket lines continued for the next few weeks, and over 300 people completed registration forms.[3]

Freedom Summer Trail

The Freedom Summer Trail is a series of locations in Hattiesburg that were important during the 1964 Freedom Summer. There are also audio guides for each location.


  1. True Light Baptist Church
  2. Hattiesburg Community Center
  3. St. James United Methodist Episcopal Church
  4. Hattiesburg Ministers Union
  5. Woods Guest House
  6. St. Paul United Methodist Church
  7. Hattiesburg Public Library
  8. Forrest County Courthouse
  9. Vernon Dahmer Memorial
  10. Morning Star Baptist Church
  11. Mount Zion Baptist Church
  12. Bentley Chapel United Methodist
  13. St. John United Methodist Church
  14. Priest Creek Missionary Baptist
  15. Palmer's Crossing Community Center
  16. Kennard-Washington Hall

External links

Further reading


  1. "Voter registration drive begins here" by Elliott Chaze, Hattiesburg American, January 22, 1964
  2. "Pickets resume damp tramp," Hattiesburg American, January 23, 1964
  3. "Negro picket convicted of disobeying officer", Hattiesburg American, February 14, 1964