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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

‘Freedom Summer’ Reveals Grimmer Mississippi Than ‘The Help’

“The Help,” which tells the fictional story of black Mississippi maids in the early 1960’s who tell what it’s like to work in white homes in a book.

The film has come under criticism for glossing over the dangers the maids and the white writer working with them would have faced if fiction had been fact.

The dangers that real white and African Americans working for civil rights faced is told in Bruce Watson’s book “Freedom Summer: The Savage Season That Made Mississippi Burn and Made American A Democracy.”

Watson writes about the Freedom Summer of 1964, where both white and African-American workers worked with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to register voters and open schools in African American communities in Mississippi.

The very first week of that summer, three of the volunteers, Andrew Goodman, James Cheney and Michael Schwerner, disappeared and were later found murdered, beginning a summer of violence.

This segment first aired on September 9, 2010


  • Bruce Watson, author of “Freedom Summer: The Savage Season That Made Mississippi Burn and Made American A Democracy”

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