Photo by Jessica Swanson
People from all over the country gathered Friday in the Thad-Cochran Grand Ballroom at the University of Southern Mississippi for the first session of the 50th Anniversary of Freedom Summer.
Visions of the past came to life as three children of Freedom Summer, Anthony Harris, Irene Williams and Debra Delgado, spoke of their experiences.
“Your experiences make you as an individual,” said Delgado, who was 12 during Freedom Summer 1964.
Delgado is a Hattiesburg native who currently serves as counsellor for Ward 2.
Although a member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church Freedom School, the challenges and risks she faced attending class on a daily basis influenced Delgado’s presence at the session where she recalled the murders of Emmett Till, President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., causing extreme grief in the 1960s.
“They would have real tears flowing, and I did not understand the significance of that until a few years later,” Delgado said.
Reflecting on Freedom Summer, Delgado stressed the importance of knowing your rights and keeping yourself informed on politics. She said that racism that lead to the civil rights movement has not ended.
“Things are not right,” Delgado said. “We are a long way from things being right.”