For background information on Freedom Summer, speaker biographical sketches, discussion questions, and links to lesson plans and web resources, download the conversation kit for the program.
The lesson plans below are designed to provide context for the National Youth Summit on Freedom Summer, to provide suggestions for organizing student participation in the Summit and in-class discussion, and to share ideas for ways to get involved after the Summit.
- This activity is designed to encourage students to practice their critical reading and historical comprehension skills by reading the primary source document entitled the “Development of Freedom Summer” and examining a Freedom Summer volunteer application form. Key questions are posed after the reading to gauge students’ understanding of the text.
- This activity addresses the Common Core Standards for comprehension and collaboration. This class activity is designed to have students make an informed decision based on a series of questions asked and (if they so desire) to share the rationale for their position with their peers.
- This activity is designed to enable students to engage with and analyze Freedom Songs used during the Civil Rights Movement and the Freedom Summer Project.
- Freedom Summer veteran Courtland Cox discusses his work in the civil rights movement, the relationship between the work of Freedom Summer and the recent voter registration requirements, and emphasizes that the challenge of this generation of young people will be the fight for equal access to quality education.
- In this episode of the History Explorer podcast series, Freedom School Scholar Harry Clarke hosts an oral history interview with civil rights activist Martha Prescott Norman, who discusses the sacrifices she made to join the Mississippi Summer Project and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
- In this episode of the History Explorer podcast series, Freedom School Scholar Nicholas Nchamukong hosts an oral history interview with activist and Mississippi native June Johnson, recorded in 2000. Johnson discuss her work in the civil rights movement, including during Mississippi Freedom Summer. Johnson was a teenager when she became active in the movement, and worked alongside Fannie Lou Hamer and others.
- In this episode of the History Explorer podcast series, Freedom School Scholar Joy Lyman hosts an oral history interview with activist Zoharah Simmons, who, against the wishes of her family, joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee for Freedom Summer in 1964. The interview was recorded in 2000.
- This activity addresses the Common Core Standards for Comprehension and Collaboration. It is designed to provide students with an opportunity to deeply engage with at least one Summit panelist by examining his/her role in the Freedom Summer movement, identifying key points made during the presentation, and posing questions about intriguing, complex, or perplexing topics that were raised.
- This activity is designed to allow students to either reflect on a Freedom Summer newsletter and create a graphic comic strip based on ideas/content contained in the newsletter or depict how the National Youth Summit helped to shape/inform their understanding of self, society, civil rights, freedom, etc.
- Students will have an opportunity to examine effective and non-effective advertising strategies and historical voter registration propaganda. Afterward, they will have an opportunity to create their own voter registration slogans and/or advertisements in an attempt to encourage their increased participation in school, community, local, and/or national elections.
- Students will have an opportunity to briefly familiarize themselves with artist/activist Candy Chang’s work, which has been seen worldwide. Afterward, they (like Chang) will have an opportunity to create a social justice “word wall” and make images of their work available to the public.