Thirty-year-old Sandra Adickes was an energetic and idealistic high school English teacher from New York City the year she ventured south into Mississippi to teach in a Freedom School. The goal of the summer program was to empower the black community to register to vote and to help bridge some of the gap of educational neglect that had long been a tradition in that Jim Crow state. Both blacks and whites realized that only through education and participation in the democratic process could African Americans ever hope to improve their lot.
The enterprise was not without danger. On the first day of Freedom Summer, three workers involved in the program disappeared while investigating the firebombing of the church facility designated for their voter recruitment activities. Six weeks later, as Sandra Adickes conducted her classes in Hattiesburg, the badly beaten and bullet-ridden bodies of the three missing men were discovered buried in an earthen dam in nearby Neshoba County.
At summer’s end, Sandra accompanied her fearless students when they decided to integrate the Hattiesburg Public Library. Sandra was arrested in the effort. Read her riveting story, and what became of her courageous students, in her book Legacy of a Freedom School. You can also find a chapter about this remarkable teacher in my book, Chalkboard Champions., available from amazon.