Author of Freedom Summer William Tucker was in Mississippi In 1964 when Three College Students were Murdered

BY GEORGE J. DACRE

“Freedom Summer,” a play appearing February 7, 8 and 9 at Shades Repertory Theatre, Central Presbyterian Church, Main St., was written by William Tucker 10 years ago and was originally meant to be a film.

The play depicts the killing of three students who were part of the Students Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to register black voters who were being denied the right to vote in Mississippi. Tucker was one of the 700 students in SNCC and while he said he was not shot at, conditions were extreme and dangerous for the volunteers.

Three of them Robert Moses, Michael Swemer and Andrew Goodman were killed along with James Chaney. a young black Mississippi volunteer. Tucker told the Rockland County Times in an interview on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the day of the inauguration of President Barack Obama, that things have toned down in the United States and he feels better about civil rights nowadays.

Tucker, born in Newark, New Jersey went to college in Massachusetts says his play “Freedom Summer” tells the saga of that time in 1964. “It takes the audience through the experience,” he said.

Music for the play was written by Nyack resident Sam Waymon, brother of songstress Nina DiSimone. The play’s production has been supported by a grant from the Arts Council of Rockland. “Freedom Summer” will be on at Shades in the Central Presbyterian Church on Main Street February 7, 8 and 9 at 8 p.m. Tickets and infomation at 845-675-8044.