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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 16, 2014 / 18 Sivan, 5774

Freedom Summer, 50 years on: Even now, in this cynical age, we can appreciate the purity of its cause and the impact of its idealism

By David M. Shribman




JewishWorldReview.com | Today the phrase “Freedom Summer” has a romantic tint, colored in idealism, shaded in glory: a noble moment of grandeur when blacks and whites from Mississippi and beyond united in a brave effort to fight segregation and register blacks to vote.

But a half-century ago, the effort known formally as the Mississippi Summer Project was both audacious and dangerous. Three civil-rights workers were ambushed, kidnapped and killed. Another died in a car crash. Scores of Freedom Summer volunteers were beaten. Three dozen churches were bombed or burned. The granite walls of resistance were only barely penetrated. And when the summer ended, the progress that we today regard as inevitable still seemed impossible.

But 50 summers on, we now recognize that this was one of the signature episodes in America’s long story of racial strife and racial reconciliation.

It was a movement that was multifaith and multiracial but not really multigenerational. It was a youth campaign with almost no equal, except perhaps the flood of anti-war college students into New Hampshire for Eugene McCarthy’s presidential effort four years later — and there the principal obstacle was frigid temperatures and the only danger was icy stares.

“Freedom Summer,” said Charles R. McLaurin, a civil-rights activist who directed the program’s activities in Sunflower County in the Mississippi Delta, “opened doors and eyes about what was happening in Mississippi and helped change Mississippi.”

This month, the anniversary of the movement’s start, will bring forth a flood of testimonials but almost no reappraisals — for the effort now is seen as so pure in its purpose, so righteous in its goals, so wholesome in its intentions that, even in our contemporary culture of criticism, hardly anyone can condemn this mobilization of idealism.

As for the three who were abducted, murdered and found 44 days later, they are rightly remembered as martyrs to a sacred cause, and they are often remembered, surnames only, as if their names were the tolling of a bell: Chaney, Goodman, Schwerner.

Today those names are honored around the nation, even in Mississippi. Here in Pittsburgh, Rabbi James A. Gibson of Temple Sinai includes their names in the listing of the anniversary of the congregation’s dead, an annual ritual of remembrance known as Yahrtzeit. And though the three have been transformed into symbols of hope, their disappearance at the time was regarded as a symbol of hopelessness.

Indeed, from the moment of their disappearance there was little hope for their safe return. Here is the fifth paragraph of The New York Times story on their disappearance, written by Claude Sitton, the newspaper’s pioneering civil-rights reporter:

“The Mississippi Highway Patrol issued a missing-persons bulletin, but a spokesman in Jackson indicated late today that it had no plans at present for further action.”

The Summer Project was born of despair, even desperation. Mississippi, where 93 percent of blacks of voting age were unable to vote, was an isolated backwater of the Deep South, a world unto its own, determined to remain that way, to retain its ancient outlook, folkways and viewpoints, and to resist even the tiniest and most tentative movements toward racial integration.

Listen to the testimony of Dorie Ann Ladner, born in Hattiesburg, drawn into the civil-rights movement by the murder of Emmitt Till, expelled from Jackson State College for her activism and instrumental in Freedom Summer:

“This was a very important part of our history because blacks were being killed, segregation was at its highest peak, we could not get public utilities, we could not try on clothes in stores, our education was very poor,” she said in a conversation this spring. “We were not treated like human beings.”

This sense of hopelessness led her to support bringing outsiders to the state, surely to bear witness, perhaps to spur change. “We thought that college students from outside would bring along their parents, and their parents would bring along congressmen, and congressmen would bring along the federal government,” she said.

Not all the outsiders were white. Some were like Charlie Cobb, born in Washington and reared in Springfield, Mass., but with farm roots in Mississippi. He was field secretary for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee at the time. This is his testimony, rendered on the phone this spring:

“Freedom Summer focused for the first time the attention of the nation on Mississippi. The idea was to bring the nation’s children — mostly white, mostly middle-class or upper-middle-class children, many from politically connected families — to Mississippi and, as a result, the nation did look at Mississippi. That experience not only changed the students. It also changed the nation.”

The mastermind of the effort was Robert Parris Moses, almost always known as Bob, then as now a figure of great probity and perspective. Beaten and bloodied but determined to change both Mississippi and the nation, he was at once combative and comforting, particularly after the three abductees were found buried six weeks after their disappearance. Today, at age 79, he believes the effects of Freedom Summer were profound:

“It’s pretty clear now that it was absolutely critical, part of an earthquake. The March on Washington, Birmingham, Selma and Montgomery — they were mobilizing efforts around specific targets. The Mississippi theater was the only place where the whole state was the target.”

And it had vast political impact, eroding Dixiecrat control of the Democratic Party, itself buttressed by a one-party system in Mississippi that gave the region outsized power on Capitol Hill and outsized influence on civil rights. Its power in Washington hobbled Washington’s ability to exercise power in Mississippi.

Then came the formation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. The group mounted a challenge to the state’s all-white delegation at the Democratic National Convention that summer in Atlantic City, N.J. That, too, was a Bob Moses movement.

“All the social, political, cultural and economic factors in Mississippi were for decades controlled only by Mississippi,” Mr. Moses said. “The rest of the country had nothing to say about it. And that meant institutionalizing black inferiority and white supremacy in the state and across the South — until then.”

To the horror of party regulars, already seared by the death of John F. Kennedy only nine months earlier, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party pressed its case at Boardwalk Hall and on television sets around the country. In the midst of the Cold War and its rhetoric of freedom, those television broadcasts caught Annie Devine of Canton, Miss., speaking amid tears:

“We have been treated like beasts in Mississippi. They shot us down like animals.”

Fannie Lou Hamer, a Freedom Summer organizer and vice chair of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, said of the party regulars in her state: “I feel sorry for anybody that could let hate wrap them up. Hate will not only destroy us, it will destroy them.”

In the end, labor leader Walter Reuther and Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey, about to be nominated as Lyndon B. Johnson’s running mate, sculpted a compromise that allowed the delegation to remain at the session, largely as non-voting delegates, and that assured that Mississippi would never again send to a nominating convention delegates chosen in a discriminatory process.

“It is only now that a voice is being heard in our land,” Charles M. Sherrod, a SNCC field secretary, said in Atlantic City. “It is the voice of the poor; it is the tongue of the underprivileged; it is from the lips of the desperate.”

A half century later, the work of freeing the black and the poor from the legacy of Mississippi oppression remains unfinished. Next week, at the Freedom Summer 50th anniversary conference at Tougaloo College in Jackson, veterans of the effort will look back — and forward.

“It is too often that we don’t know a history of the past and because of that we have the wrong understanding of where we came from, where we are and where we are going,” Hollis Watkins, the chairman of the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, wrote in an essay this month.

The phrase “summer of love” customarily is associated with the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco in 1967, but somehow it seems more appropriate to the more enduring activities of Mississippi Summer. The actual results of Freedom Summer were modest: a few hundred new registered voters, so few that Martin Luther King Jr. said that at that rate it would take 270 years to register all the eligible black voters in Mississippi.

And yet that was not really the point. “[T]he work in voter registration involves, most importantly, the development of the will to stand up and act,” argued the Southern writer Robert Penn Warren in a 1965 book. “All of these things are basic for the long-range growth of political power, but they are equally important for the growth of other kinds of power — and for the fulfillment of a person.”

Indeed, Mr. Watkins, a county organizer for Freedom Summer, and his compatriots were not summer soldiers and sunshine patriots — the phrase comes from Thomas Paine and an earlier American struggle for liberty — and their efforts did not end in 1964.

Still, the Summer of ’64 — in many ways more important than the Summer of ’42, a time (and a movie) celebrated in American folklore — was a sunshine moment.

The Mississippi project was inspired in part by two white men, Allard Lowenstein, who later led the “Dump Johnson” movement and served in Congress, and Robert Spike, executive director of the National Council of Churches’ Commission on Religion and Race, both credited by Mr. Moses for mobilizing student and church forces.

Later, interracial strife would bloom inside SNCC and new voices of black separatism such as Stokley Carmichael would emerge. Within two years, Carmichael, later known as Kwame Ture, would replace John Lewis, a storied civil-rights activist and now a Democratic congressman, at the top of the organization. Carmichael died in 1998.

But that summer — tumultuous, thrilling, tragic — a bunch of largely white students led by a largely black organization helped change Mississippi, and the country beyond. Mississippi Summer was a summertime moment for us all.



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David Shribman, a Pulitzer Prize winner in journalism, is executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

© 2014, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Distributed by Universal Uclick, as agent for UFS.

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