Jesus meeting with someone on the outside was somewhat accidental though possibly inevitable since he was out of Israel in Tyre and Sidon.
50 years ago, a classic confrontation between the "ins" and "outs" occurred in Mississippi. This time the meeting was deliberate – with both whites and blacks in the north on the "inside" journeying to that state to help get Blacks registered to vote. Achieving dignity and a place in society.
This was a planned confrontation, not accidental. Unlike with Jesus meeting with the Cananite women there was a price to be paid for this confrontation. This played out in the so-called Freedom Summer in Mississippi, a classic part of the Civil Right struggle.
"In 1964, less than 7% of Mississippi’s African Americans were registered to vote, compared to between 50 and 70% in other southern states. In many rural counties, African Americans made up the majority of the population and the segregationist white establishment was prepared to use any means necessary to keep them away from the polls and out of elected office. As Mississippian William Winter recalls, “A lot of white people thought that African Americans in the South would literally take over and white people would have to move, would have to get out of the state.”
"In 1964, a new plan was hatched by Bob Moses, a local secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). For 10 weeks, white students from the North would join activists on the ground for a massive effort that would do what had been impossible so far: force the media and the country to take notice of the shocking violence and massive injustice taking place in Mississippi.
"Word of the coming influx spread and Mississippi officials geared up for the newcomers by increasing police forces, passing new ordinances, and purchasing riot gear and weapons. Meanwhile, Mississippi Summer Project (later known as Freedom Summer) students gathered on the campus of Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio to meet with SNCC leaders for training. After the first week, the volunteers learned that three members of their group — Mickey Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney — had gone missing in Mississippi. As the days passed and the young men were not heard from, people began to fear the worst — that they had been murdered by the Klan. " Later they found out they had been murdered.
"Undaunted, Freedom Summer volunteers went down to Mississippi, fanning out across the state, embedding themselves with local families, and setting up Freedom Schools for children where African American history and culture were taught — subjects forbidden in their regular public schools.
"On August 4, 1964, the bodies of the three missing men were finally found, buried beneath an earthen dam. But despite the brutal murders, volunteers and locals were more committed to their cause than ever; they focused their attention on signing people up for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which planned to challenge the all-white Mississippi delegation at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City.
"Freedom Summer activists faced threats and harassment throughout the campaign, not only from white supremacist groups, but from local residents and police. Freedom School buildings and the volunteers’ homes were frequent targets; 37 black churches and 30 black homes and businesses were firebombed or burned during that summer, and the cases often went unsolved. More than 1000 black and white volunteers were arrested, and at least 80 were beaten by white mobs or racist police officers. But the summer’s most infamous act of violence was the murder of three young civil rights workers
"The well-publicized voter registration drives brought national attention to the subject of black disenfranchisement, and this eventually led to the 1965 Voting Rights Act, federal legislation that among other things outlawed the tactics Southern states had used to prevent blacks from voting. Freedom Summer also instilled among African Americans a new consciousness and a new confidence in political action. As Fannie Lou Hamer later said, "Before the 1964 project there were people that wanted change, but they hadn’t dared to come out. After 1964 people began moving. To me it’s one of the greatest things that ever happened in Mississippi."
"As a result of the Freedom Summer of 1964, some of the barriers to voting have been eliminated and Mississippi has close to 1000 Black state and local elected officials. In fact, Mississippi has more Black elected officials than any other state in the union. "
The legacy of Freedom Summer was broader than the vote. Freedom Summer officials also established 30 "Freedom Schools" in towns throughout Mississippi to address the racial inequalities in Mississippi’s educational system. Mississippi’s black schools were invariably poorly funded, and teachers had to use hand-me-down textbooks that offered a racist slant on American history. Many of the white college students were assigned to teach in these schools, whose curriculum included black history, the philosophy of the Civil Rights Movement, and leadership development in addition to remedial instruction in reading and arithmetic. The Freedom Schools had hoped to draw at least 1000 students that first summer, and ended up with 3000. The schools became a model for future social programs like Head Start, as well as alternative educational institutions.