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200 Freedom Flame (Shaw, MS) On July 19, 1964, the New York Times ran a story that infuriated African Americans across Mississippi. Among a number of racist and inaccurate statements taken from white civic leaders living near Shaw was a statement from a Cleveland, Mississippi, sheriff who claimed that “95 per cent of our blacks are happy.”82 Organizers in Shaw responded with a letter-writing campaign to the northern paper, giving local people a voice against the oppression. Galvanized in part by the letter-writing campaign, African Americans living in Shaw organized picket lines, boycotts , and mass meetings to protest the very real racism that constantly limited their freedom and economic and political opportunities. Students from the Shaw Freedom Schools played major roles in nearly all local movement activity. The Shaw Freedom Schools were dominated by older teenagers, young people who were standing at the cusp of adulthood and ready to claim leadership roles in their community. These burgeoning leaders organized through the Shaw Freedom School’s Freedom Flame and the school’s large Mississippi Student Union chapter, which in the late summer of 1964 led a boycott of the local McEvans High School. The leadership that emerged from the Shaw Freedom School helped energize and lead a growing local movement well into the fall of 1964 when the local Freedom School was still holding voter registration classes. August 5, 1964 M.S.U. Students Score Victory in McEvans High School Boycott Shaw M.S.U. News The Shaw Mississippi Student Union is composed of about 75 members. The officers are: President—Aaron German; Vice President—Charles Bonds; Secretary—Mary Crawford; Assistant Secretary—Doris Brown. There are also four committees, each of these committes has a Chairman; Welfare Committee Chairman—Vinson Flakes; Freedom Flame (Shaw, MS) 201 Program Committee—Rebecca Flakes;Action Committe—Ruby Richard; Membership Committee—Willie Crawford Hopefully we want to increase our membership.We had some members join our club on our last meeting night. We meet on every Monday night. We are progressing rapidly,and with the students’cooperation we want to keep the movement going and create a stronger one in the future. Shaw Parents Organize Thirty five parents from Shaw are organizing a Parents Association to try to meet with the school board and the teachers of McEvans High School in Shaw.After a discussion Wed.August 4, the problems of inept and oppressive teaching at the local Negro schools, they agreed to try to open negotiations concerning . . . (cont. on pg. 2) Untitled The Junior Class of McEvans High School sponsored a spaghetti supper in the cafeteria on Fri. July 31, 1964. Plates were sold to three of the volunteers. They went over to the cafeteria to get their plates and decided to eat there. They were accepted by everyone except the principal. “Oh, no; you don’t eat here.” He said,“You must see the superintendent first.”“Where does he live?” asked Morris Rubin, a summer volunteer. “In Shaw,” said Mr.Alexander.“And you expect us to walk over there to ask him if we may eat in the cafeteria?” “That is exactly what I expect,” repeated the principal. I’m very disappointed, said Morris,“but I will eat outside.” So he and the other volunteers sat outside on the ground and ate. “Let’s boycott the cafeteria!” someone suggested. Right away everyone agreed. On August 3, 1964, the students boycotted the cafeteria. Freedom Flame (Shaw, MS) 202 Another Shooting Five volunteer workers coming from Jackson to Shaw, on August 4, had stopped between Louise and Indianola on the highway, because of a flat. As they started to leave, they were shot at by some local whites of Mississippi. ...


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