Front cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-viii

Contents

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pp. ix-x

Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-4

My summer as a voter registration volunteer in the civil rights movement was a life-changing experience for me, and this book permits me to share with readers what the volunteers confronted while living and working in circumstances that were so different from their own worlds. The Mississippi Summer Project—also known as Freedom Summer—...

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1.In Atlantic City for the Democratic Convention

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pp. 5-12

On Sunday that last week of August 1964, I was excited to be going to my first political convention. The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), a new, integrated, parallel political party, was challenging the seating of the all-white, segregationist Mississippi Democratic Party delegation because that party barred blacks from participation in ...

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2. My Life before Mississippi

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pp. 13-22

I lived in a harmonious family in a four-bedroom, wood-frame, colonialstyle home in Summit, New Jersey, until I was eighteen. Summit was an attractive Republican community of about 30,000 that appealed to Wall Street commuters....

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3. Mississippi, 1963

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pp. 23-54

“I was full of apprehensions this morning.” That’s how scared I was when I started my summer diary on Saturday, July 6, 1963, the summer after my junior year in college and the year before I went on the Mississippi Summer Project. I flew from Newark, New Jersey, to Jackson, Mississippi, for a one-month work camp at Tougaloo College, the small, historically...

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4. On to Greensboro, North Carolina, and Back to Cornell

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pp. 55-74

I arrived in Greensboro, North Carolina, in early August 1963, the month of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, for a three-week voter registration project sponsored by the AFSC, the national Quaker organization headquartered in Philadelphia.2 This time I was not alone as my new friend Karen Pate had also signed up for the project, and we took...

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5. Planning for the Summer Project

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pp. 75-94

The 1964 Mississippi Summer Project is unique in civil rights milestones for recruiting large numbers of northern college students to live and work in cooperation with local leaders of the Mississippi civil rights movement. Its primary focus was voter registration using volunteers like me to encourage black residents to apply to register to vote and participate in the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party....

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6. Orientation: How the Student Volunteers Were Prepared

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pp. 95-114

After my last college exams, I drove the VW home with all my belongings and then returned to Cornell for the weekend, graduation, and two friends’ wedding. I was able to rationalize making myself late for the orientation: friends were inviting me to a wedding for the first time, and I already had a head start in orientation from my weeks in Mississippi the previous summer....

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7. June 21, 1964

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pp. 115-130

On Saturday, June 20, hundreds of volunteers left Oxford, Ohio, for the Mississippi Summer Project. A volunteer had a car going to Greenville, and someone elected me, or else I volunteered, to go by car rather than by bus. This was obviously a preferable way of taking a long, more than twelve-hour trip....

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8. Living as a Volunteer in Mississippi, 1964

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pp. 131-176

Greenville is a stately southern city with two wide avenues running its length as you drive in from Highway 82 toward the Mississippi River. In the 1960s, the office of the influential Delta Democrat-Times anchored Main Street, which is still lined with many historic public buildings and large imposing houses of worship. The Federal Building containing the...

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9. My New Politics

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pp. 177-208

I was the only white female volunteer assigned to voter registration in Greenville—a special status given presumably because of my experience the previous summer. I felt privileged because of the opportunity to meet local people in their homes as we urged them to register to vote. Some of the other girls were envious of me because they spent their days inside and saw fewer local people in the Freedom Schools....

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10. Early Work on the Convention Challenge

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pp. 209-220

Preparation for the MFDP Convention Challenge continued while I was still in Mississippi, but I knew little about what the MFDP advisers, the civil rights leaders, and Joe Rauh were doing inside and outside the state. In Jackson, COFO staff were compiling the affidavits of registered voters who had attempted but were not allowed to attend precinct and county...

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11. Lyndon Johnson: The Formidable President

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pp. 221-238

Johnson’s consideration of how to handle the MFDP factored in the recent nomination of conservative Barry Goldwater at the Republican National Convention in San Francisco on July 16, 1964. Johnson would have competed with the Republicans for black votes if liberal William Scranton had received the nomination, but now it appeared that blacks...

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12. One Woman in Atlantic City

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pp. 239-250

On Saturday, August 22, 1964, before all the delegates arrived in Atlantic City and before the Democratic National Convention began, Fannie Lou Hamer sat well prepared and well dressed in the large ballroom in Convention Hall, the stage set for the Credentials Committee to hear and decide the MFDP Convention Challenge. To Joe Rauh’s credit, he...

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13. Sunday in Atlantic City

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pp. 251-264

President Johnson’s plan was to stall the issue of the Mississippi credentials, “procrastinate and make no decision” long enough that seating the MFDP would become academic. Johnson got another idea from Kenneth O’Donnell that would be “a backstop”: the members of the Credentials Committee supporting the MFDP could vote not to seat the regular Mississippi...

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14. Humphrey’s Pleading on Monday

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pp. 265-280

On Monday, August 24, Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, the long-serving liberal senator from Minnesota, civil rights warrior at the 1948 Democratic Convention, and Senate majority leader, who had played a crucial role in the recent passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, was Lyndon Johnson’s man in charge. When Humphrey arrived in Atlantic City on...

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15. Reuther’s Manipulation on Tuesday

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pp. 281-314

Before I heard anything about Walter Reuther, I was waking up on the church pew Tuesday morning thinking Pat and I should do more of what we had done Monday—wandering the boardwalk trying to talk to delegates about why they should vote to seat the MFDP that evening. When Pat was ready, we headed for Convention Hall to find our allies. Not a...

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16. The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party Turns to Protest

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pp. 315-324

Angry about the Credentials Committee decision, MFDP delegates decided on Tuesday evening to make their grievances known through nonviolent direct-action protest. Since Sunday night, supporters had maintained an around-the-clock vigil, with as many as four hundred young people sitting on the...

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17. Wednesday: Persuasion Fails

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pp. 325-338

The White House wanted the MFDP to accept the Credentials Committee’s decision that was adopted by the convention in order to restore convention harmony and improve Johnson’s election prospects. The Democrats did not like protests from its black constituency: “The sight of black Mississippians engaging in acts of civil disobedience against the...

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18. Victory or Defeat

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pp. 339-358

The MFDP Convention Challenge ended in victory or defeat depending on how you view the story and when you pass judgment on what happened. The name “Atlantic City” now has historic significance in the civil rights movement because it represents the events of five days in August 1964 that changed the course of the movement and the Democratic Party....

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Epilogue

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pp. 359-372

I changed after my summer in Mississippi, and so did Greenville. SNCC and Mississippi also went through major transformations following Atlantic City. And, as Walter Mondale said, the courageous people in the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party “permanently and profoundly changed both the Democratic Party and American...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 373-376

I have dedicated this book to my parents, who met in Grantsburg, Wisconsin, and moved to New York City after they completed their education and married. I am grateful that they always understood and supported me, including my choice to serve as a volunteer on the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project. They also complied with my request to save the letters I wrote during the summer....

Appendix A

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pp. 377-380

Appendix B

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pp. 381-384

Notes

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pp. 385-436

Bibliography

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pp. 437-438

Index

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pp. 439-456