MFP Mission and Staff

MFP 2012 Sumner Courthouse group8

SPOHP’s MFP team in the Delta, 2012

The Mississippi Freedom Project is a collection of over 100 interviews focusing on civil rights  activism and organizing in the Mississippi Delta, including important events such as Mississippi Freedom Summer, the nationally-recognized voter registration drive that took place in the Mississippi Delta in the summer of 1964 amidst racial violence and oppressive Jim Crow laws, and the founding of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), the political formation most responsible for the formulation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Now Online

Visit the Mississippi Freedom Project archives, now online at the University of Florida Digital Collections webiste: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/freedom ! Thanks for George A. Smathers Libraries for the mini-grant that is currently bringing these interviews through processing for public access.

Background

The Mississippi Freedom Project collection is an ongoing series of interviews conducted since 2004. Every September, SPOHP sends a team of researchers to the Mississippi Delta to collect interviews and facilitate public workshops and lectures with veteran activists, lending the collection a unique focus on the lessons and work of community organizing in the Civil Rights Movement as it connects to the current social and political climate in Mississippi today.

Research Topics

The Mississippi Freedom Project includes an interview and organizing workshop with Lawrence Guyot, Director of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964, and interviews with Liz Fusco, who served as Mississippi Statewide Coordinator of Freedom Schools, Kelvin Williams, elected the first African American sheriff of Bolivar County since Reconstruction in 2011, and students at the Sunflower County Freedom Project as well as the former Teach for America volunteers who now direct the program. Several interviews also contain reflections from individuals who worked directly with Fannie Lou Hamer, chair of the MFDP and a formidable civil rights leader and community organizer, as well as the experiences of lawyers whose depositions and affidavits formed the justification of Section 5, the heart of the Voting Rights Act.

Grant Partnership with George A. Smathers Libraries

In Summer 2013, George A. Smathers Libraries approved a mini-grant proposal to transcribe the MFP collection. The completion of this project is timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer during the summer of 2014. African American Studies librarian Jana Ronan developed the proposal in collaboration with SPOHP researchers. The transcribed interviews will become a part of the University of Florida Digital Collections online, where they are available to researchers and educators. The richly diverse thematic focus of the Mississippi Freedom Project interviews will help to promote a broad, interdisciplinary approach to the understanding of African American history, US social history, public policy, psychology, agriculture, and technological change, among other topics.

During the week of January 22, 2014 the first Mississippi Freedom Project interviews were released on the University of Florida Digital Collections website. View the Mississippi Freedom Project Collection now!

In September 2013, SPOHP sent another team of researchers to gather more interviews for the collection.

Future Goals

SPOHP is also a co-sponsor of the Sunflower County Civil Rights Organization’s 50th Anniversary of Freedom Summer Reunion, to take place in June 2014.

In the News

clas web

MFP was featured on CLAS’s homepage in August 2013.

Thanks to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for featuring us on their homepage through the fall term, starting in August!

What a great way to kick off the semester, CLAS!


card_catalogMFP Staff and Volunteers

  • Jana Ronan, African American Studies Librarian at University of Florida Libraries @ ronan.uflib.ufl.edu
  • Sarah Blanc, Mississippi Freedom Project Coordinator @ s.v.blanc@gmail.com
  • Diana Dombrowski, Mississippi Freedom Project Staff @ ddombrowski@ufl.edu

To become a part of MFP, contact Sarah Blanc.

For more information about MFP at the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, please contact our offices at 241 Pugh Hall, 352-392-7168.