“Freedom On My Mind” with Professor Rita Roberts
Professor of History and Africana Studies, Scripps College
Rita Roberts, Professor of History and Africana Studies at Scripps College, will lead a screening and discussion of the film “Freedom On My Mind” as part of Scripps College’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration. This event is free and open to the public. Doors to the auditorium open at 6:30 p.m.
About the Film
In 1961, Mississippi was a virtual South African enclave within the United States. Everything is segregated. There are virtually no black voters. Bob Moses, enters the state and the Voter Registration Project begins. The first black farmer who attempts to register is fatally shot by a Mississippi State Representative. But four years later, the registration is open. By 1990, Mississippi has more elected black officials than any other state in the union.
Freedom On My Mind vividly chronicles this complex and compelling history of the Mississippi voter registration struggles of 1961 to 1964: the interracial nature of the campaign, the tensions and conflicts, the fears and hopes. It is the story of youthful idealism and shared vision, of a generation who believed in and fought for the principles of democracy.
Freedom On My Mind dramatically interweaves powerful personal interviews, rare archival film and television footage, authentic Mississippi Delta blues, and vibrant Movement gospel songs. It emphasizes the strategic brilliance of Mississippi’s young, black organizers. Barred from political participation, they create their own integrated party – the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP). They recruit a thousand mostly white students from around the country to come to Mississippi, bringing the eyes and conscience of the nation with them.
The students and the MFDP organizers put together a delegation of sharecroppers, maids, and day-laborers to challenge the all-white delegates in the 1964 Democratic National Convention. They demand equality and justice from the highest official in the land – the President confronting the country’s leading politicians to live up to the democratic values they profess to hold.
Freedom On My Mind provides a sweeping panorama of a turbulent time: a time that tested America’s purpose and its commitment to democracy. The legacy of that time, the achievements and failures, remain with us today. Freedom On My Mind will enable viewers of all backgrounds to better understand and appreciate this uniquely American legacy.