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Young Philadelphians Revisit the 1964 ‘Freedom Summer’ in Mississippi

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (CBS) — Youth activists from Philadelphia are joining their counterparts from around the country in Jackson, Miss., this week for the 50th anniversary of what has become known as the “Freedom Summer” of 1964, when three young civil rights workers were killed during a voting drive.

This afternoon, the Philadelphia contingent (top photo) boarded buses in Kensington for the twenty-hour ride south.

Nearly 40 students from Youth United for Change will attend the “Freedom 50″ conference, honoring the civil rights workers who signed up African-American voters in 1964, including the three who were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan.

The conference agenda is broad — immigration, prison policy, LGBT rights, and education — but delegate Tony Elliot (at right below) says in some ways the mission is not so different from fifty years ago.

“Times change, but not as much as you think they would,” he said today.  “Some people still feel segregated. Some people still feel racism.”


(Sierra Mallette and Tony Elliot, just before they boarded a bus for Jackson, Miss.   Photo by Pat Loeb)

(Sierra Mallette and Tony Elliot, just before they boarded a bus for Jackson, Miss. Photo by Pat Loeb)

The students’ focus is on education.  They’ve been working for public school funding all spring because they see it as a civil rights issue, according to Sierra Mallette (at right in photo).

“It’s us coming together, like they did fifty years ago, to stand up for what we believe in and not back down, and fight,” she said today.

The students return on Friday.


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