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77 Student Voice of True Light (Hattiesburg, MS) The Student Voice of True Light was produced by the Freedom School students attending classes at the True Light Baptist Church located in the heart of Hattiesburg’s historic black community the Mobile Street District. Originally organized in 1903, True Light Baptist had for years been a center of local African American community organizing. Black women formed the core of this tradition. For more than six decades, they had helped raise money, provide meals, pay bills, and organize numerous social aid societies to assist local black families in need. Furthermore, the Student Voice of True Light was not the first African American newspaper produced by True Light church members. Over thirty years before Freedom Summer, True Light’s congregation joined with several other local black churches to produce a black community newspaper. This long legacy of community organizing established an institutional tradition of activism that helped make True Light the site of one of Mississippi’s largest and most active Freedom Schools. Its student body required a large faculty that ranged between eight and ten teachers depending on space and demand. As is clear in the essays that follow, many of True Light’s Freedom School students were particularly interested in critiquing their discriminatory society and thinking of ways to redefine freedom. July 20, 1964 What I Don’t Like about Hattiesburg There are lots of things I don’t like about Hattiesburg. One thing is the bus drivers, which have already been brought to light to the eyes of the people. Bus drivers, as Shirley White describes, are terrible. I have never had any of the incidents happen to me because when I was young I learned we were supposed to sit in the back part of the bus.I’m not going to sit in the back anymore. The one thing I don’t like is these Jim Crow restaurants.What I mean by that is these places where they allow no one but white Student Voice of True Light (Hattiesburg, MS) 78 Front cover of the Hattiesburg Student Voice of True Light. Courtesy of the McCain Library and Archives, University of Southern Mississippi. Student Voice of True Light (Hattiesburg, MS) 79 skinned people to eat and not people with black skins. Since the bill passed I eat where I want to. The question that puzzles me is: Why couldn’t we eat in these places before the Civil Rights Bill was passed? I know because we have black skin,but what has that to do with it.The black skinned people have fought in the war, become great scientists, and are qualified for the same jobs.All together we belong to America as much as the whites do.We were all created equal. Neither race is superior to the other. —Larry B., age 13 When I Was Going on Hardy Street Well, it was this bus driver. I was on the first straight seat on the bus, and he told me to move back. I said,“I will not. I paid a dime and two pennies for a transfer and I’m not moving.”He said,“You know white people must get on this bus.” I said,“You know colored people must get on this bus too.” —Mattie Jean Wilson, age 10 Editor: Mattie Jan Wilson Assistant Editor—Shirley White Managing Editor—Jimmie R. Ratliff Circulation Manager—Janice Walton Reporter—Albert J. Evans Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party precinct meeting, Saturday , July 25, St. Paul’s Methodist Church on 5th Street at four o’clock. There will be a meeting for everyone interested in working on the Student Voice of True Light on Monday,July 20,at 2:30 in the afternoon, at the True Light Baptist Church. A new staff for this week’s issue will be elected at this meeting. Student Voice of True Light (Hattiesburg, MS) 80 Why I Deserve Freedom I am a Negro, I am a black man. And, because of my color, I am deprived of the human rights which are given to me by God and promised to me by the United States. I live in a country of free people, yet I am not free. Our great nation was conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. The Bill of Rights guarantees to everyone the freedoms of religion , and the right of peaceful assembly, but in Mississippi these rights are denied to Negroes. The 13th Amendment...


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