The history behind Juneteenth and documentary, Freedom Summer details 10 important weeks of civil rights in 1964

06/19/14 Mary Glenney
From A Woman's Point of View | Listen to this entire show:



From a Woman's POV feels privileged for all of us to celebrate Juneteenth and to speak with NIKKI GIOVANNI on this day. It took months for the message of the proclamation to spread through the land, but as NIKKI GIOVANNI, the shows first guest, says in her poem “The American Vision of Abraham Lincoln on the Lincoln Memorial”

At this moment

Resting in the comfort of the statue Of the 16th president of the United States Missing An equally impressive representation Of his friend and adviser Frederick Douglas

We com

On this day

Recalling the difficult and divisive war We are compelled With a prayer in the name Of those captured and enslaved Who with heart and mind Cleared the wilderness Raised crops Brought forth families Submitted their souls Before a merciful and great God To acknowledge that that The Civil War Was fought not to free the enslaved For they knew they were free But to free the nation From a terrible cancer eating at our hearts… (from Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid by Nikki Giovanni).

Freedom Summer - Mississippi 1964

It might have taken months for the message to spread through the land, but it has taken years – and it will continue to take years for that truth in our heart to be lived in our daily deeds. History does not give meaning to those truths, people do. People lived and died to give meaning to that dream – and Mississippi in the summer of 1964 perhaps tested that dream more than any other time. GWENDOLYN ZOHARAH SIMMONS, a young college student, was the director of the Laurel Project in Mississippi in 1964. She will recount that time and we will see, we will live with a person who lives the dream.

And in this time when the challenge to freedom continues in every area, it is good to be reminded no one can give us freedom, but there are some who will try to take it away.

“Freedom Summer” will be shown on American Experience on PBS Tuesday, June 24 from 9-11 pm.

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