About the Show
It is the spring of 1964 and a long, hot Mississippi summer is about to explode. The civil rights community is gearing up for a major operation nicknamed Mississippi Freedom Summer. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of mostly white student activists from the North are preparing to link up with dozens of mostly black freedom workers in the Magnolia State to accomplish what the Mississippi power structure fears the most: registering black people to vote. The state's entrenched white power structure has a different name for Freedom Summer - they call it an 'invasion' and they are ready to fight back. For the segregationists, Freedom Summer is nothing less than a declaration of war on the Mississippi way of life. The state responds by fortifying its Highway Patrol and 82 county sheriff offices with hundreds of newly sworn-in deputies, stockpiling tear gas and riot gear in larger cities and preparing prison wardens and county jailers to expect an influx of summer guests.