Tonight was “Music of Our Lives.” The fundraising event for Park Avenue Youth and Family Services CDF Freedom Schools Program. The music, the crowd, the food, the venue were all fantastic and above all else, people gathered to support a really phenomenal program for kids.
The CDF Freedom Schools are modeled after the Freedom Schools of the Civil Rights movement and especially Freedom Summer of 1964. Read more about Freedom Schools here. There is also a new(ish) book out about Freedom Summer by Bruce Watson Freedom Summer: The Savage Season of 1964 That Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy.
Freedom Summer of 1964
The “Mississippi Freedom Summer Project” of 1964 was organized by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), two leading Civil Rights organizations.
SNCC, a political organization formed in 1960 by Black college students in the United States was dedicated to overturning segregation in the South. The COFO was an umbrella organization that coordinated activities of various leading groups such as Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). These two major projects continued the struggle in Mississippi and called for “Freedom Summer.”
The Freedom Summer Project was a major political action program designed to engage Black students and community volunteers in a variety of strategic activities to ensure basic citizenship rights for all Mississippians.
The Freedom Summer Project of 1964 activities included:
- promoting a massive drive for voter registration among disenfranchised Blacks and coordinating a mock election;
- creating community centers to provide weekly instruction and entertainment for Blacks;
- conducting Freedom Schools, a summer education program to provide Black children and teenagers with a richer educational experience than was offered in Mississippi public schools; and
- modeling for Mississippi children their responsibility to become a force for change in their state and nation.
These Freedom Schools provided reading instruction; a humanities curriculum emphasizing English, foreign languages, art, and creative writing; and a general mathematics and science curriculum. These schools were structured to motivate young people to become critically engaged in their communities and to help them identify and design authentic solutions to local problems.
Here are some pictures from the event that my husband (the talented Richard Matson-Daley) snapped.
If you weren’t able to make it to the concert tonight, but would like to support the work of PAYFS’ CDF Freedom School Program, you can still make a donation online – here (full disclosure, I work for PAYFS).