John Hale's book about the Freedom Schools during the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Project and Crystal Sanders's work on the largest Head Start program run by the Child Development Group of Mississippi (CDGM) from 1965 to 1968 sit at the end of a long line of histories of the black freedom struggle's mass movement years in Mississippi. Mississippi civil rights histories form well-trodden ground, from trailblazers John Dittmer and Charles Payne and nearly twenty-five years of subsequent scholarship and research supported by the building of new archives, to oral histories collected around the recent movement milestone anniversaries and reunions. There is always room for more accounts and fresh vantage points, given the nature of mass movements simultaneously orchestrated on multiple levels and in multiple locales, each with its own nuance and host of characters. Each book illustrates the cacophony of stories, voices, opinions, conflicts, political scuffles, and sacrifices that constitute a mass of movements with many routes to vaguely defined (and not always agreed upon) goals. As I have said elsewhere, full stories are messy and complicated, reflecting the reality of life. Recognizing these activist pasts becomes more relevant with the new phase of mass protest in the persistent struggle for black freedom, particularly around the global and domestic Black Lives Matter movement.
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