By Christian Miller and Emalie Cormier
The sound was deafening, like a herd of tiny, rambunctious elephants, trumpeting and stomping up a flight of stairs. As this herd morphed from tiny elephants into children, a lively group took their seats. Their blue shirts, with “Great Futures Start Here” in bright white across the back, blazed in the fluorescent lighting.
As “This Little Light of Mine” played, the 19 children from the Boys & Girls Club of Hattiesburg joined in as part of a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer at Southern Miss. The goal of the workshop at College Hall was to introduce Freedom Summer to the young people. Freedom Summer was an effort in 1964 to register disenfranchised African Americans to vote and fight racism.
"We are all equal no matter what, and we all shine the same," Kai Graves, 8 1/2, said.
Director Deanne Nuwer instructed the students about the unfair voting laws in the South during the summer of 1964.
“Civil rights are always important and the students need to know,” said Nuwer, an associate professor of history at USM. “You are all lights.”
These photos show children from the Boys & Girls Club of Hattiesburg. They were learning about Freedom Summer during a workshop at College Hall at The University of Southern Mississippi.
Photos by J.R. Moody, Bria Paige, and Lauryn Smith