Freedom Rides and Freedom Summer: The Movement in Mississippi

In 1961, when buses of Freedom Riders were scheduled to stop in Jackson, Mississippi, 13-year-old Hezekiah Watkins went with his friends to the bus station to see what kind of person would put their body on the line for his rights. That resulted in the first of what would eventually be over 100 arrests fighting for justice for the man dubbed “Mississippi’s youngest Freedom Rider.” Working with Medgar Evers, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE) and a host of other organizations, Mr. Watkins worked and continues to work for voting and civil rights in Mississippi.

In 1964, three civil rights workers, James Chaney from Meridian, Mississippi, and Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner from New York City were abducted and murdered in Neshoba County, Mississippi. James Chaney’s daughter, Angela Lewis, born ten days before her father disappeared, grew up and into her father’s legacy. In 2005, forty-one years after her father was murdered, she saw one of her father’s killers finally brought to justice.

In this program, Mr. Watkins and Ms. Lewis will share incredible stories of courage in the struggle for justice and how the movement in Mississippi changed the course of history.