Story of the 1964 segregation battle in Mississippi
BY GEORGE J. DACRE
The story of the college students who went to the deep South and risked and sometimes lost their lives trying to end segregation will be performed next month at Shades Repertory Theatre in Haverstraw. The play is written by William Tucker and will be directed by Samuel Harps in celebration of Black History Month.
Shades, in a press release, says it will tell the saga of the heroic efforts of Bob Moses, a 21-year-old Harvard graduate and other volunteer civil rights workers of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). The young workers braved a violent and repressive Southern society in an effort to register voters and break the back of Jim Crow segregated culture. The entire South, at the time, was still segregated, but Mississippi was regarded as the worst of all and McComb, Mississippi, where Moses began his efforts, was the worst in the state.
In 1964, SNCC elected to enlist the support of mostly white Northern college students in a grand effort called “Freedom Summer.” About 1,000 students enlisted and 600 eventually made it to Mississippi. They suffered beatings and threats and two of them, Michael Swemer and Andre Goodman, along with James Chaney, a young black Mississippi volunteer were murdered the first week.
But the SNCC workers and student volunteers persisted and together broke the back of a segregated society in what perhaps was the most abrupt and radical social transformation in American history. This play, Shades says, tells the story of that summer and will be presented February 7, 8 and 9, all at 8 p.m. at Shades Repertory at 64 Main Street in Haverstraw.
Tickets and information at 845-675-8044.