We'll Never Turn Back: Adult Education and the Struggle for Citizenship in Mississippi's Freedom Summer

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Educational Studies and Research


In the summer of 1964, several civil rights organizations led by the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), formed a coalition and conducted a voter registration and educational program in Mississippi which was originally called the Summer Project but became known later as Freedom Summer. Continuing the civil rights work! that preceded it Freedom Summer was distinguished by its organized state-wide and highly public attempt to promote its three-pronged educational program of Freedom Schools, community, centers, and voter registration and by the recruitment of several hundred out-of-state student volunteers to implement the program. Adult education played a critical role in the schools, the centers, and the voter registration work and included literacy education, practical skills, and political awareness. Paulo Freire's work in adult education in Brazil and his paradigm of critical consciousness provide an intriguing historical parallel as well as a useful theoretical frame from which to analyze the adult education component of the Summer Project. Confronted with verbal legal, and sometimes violent hostility, Freedom Summer sought to use education and moral suasion to give democracy and citizenship a more genuine meaning.

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American Educational Research Journal





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