Welcome to the monthly newsletter for Mississippi educators with stories and resources for teaching about the Civil Rights Movement and labor history.



Powerful Civil Rights Teaching Institute 

This summer, eleven middle and high school teachers from across the state of Mississippi met at a summer institute to share resources, stories, and fellowship about how to bring a deeper understanding of the rich history of civil rights and labor movements in Mississippi to their students. During the course of the week they created a strong bond based on their shared commitment to introduce students to the bottom-up and often hidden history of the state.

Join Civil Rights Teaching Statewide Learning Community

Mississippi middle and high public school teachers are invited to apply for the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and Labor History Teacher Fellowship. We are especially looking for fellows from the following counties: Attala, Benton, Forrest, Harrison, Hinds, Jackson, Jones, Lee, Marion, and Sunflower. Read more and apply.

Teacher Fellows Reveal
Unsung Heroes of Mississippi

The Mississippi Teacher Fellows have added unsung heroes from their home towns to the Uncovering Mississippi's Hidden History page on Historypin.Take a look and add a pin of your own. 

National History Day

Start Mississippi
National History Day Projects Now

Students have a wonderful opportunity to bring Mississippi history to life through National History Day. National History Day is a program that allows students to choose historical topics related to a theme and use a performance, paper, documentary, website, or exhibit to showcase their findings. There are many Mississippi history topics that would make strong history day projects.

There are also six opportunities to win a local history award. This year's theme is Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History. For more information about National History Day, see the Mississippi History Day website as well as the national website.

Hattiesburg Student's Project Published

A Hattiesburg student's documentary has been published in the July issue of International Journal of Naval History. Thirteen-year-old Abigail Wiest of Sacred Heart School said she has been interested in filmmaking for years. She combined that with her love of history to make her documentary on the U.S.S. Kirk for the Mississippi National History Day competition. Learn more.   

Teachers: Apply for Mediterranean Trip

Middle and high school teachers across disciplines will study and follow in the footsteps of World War II armed forces in North Africa and Southern Europe in the summer of 2016. The deadline for applications is September 4. A Mississippi teacher was selected for the inaugural trip in 2015. We encourage Mississippi teachers to apply again.  


National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) 
November 13-15, 2015 

This annual conference includes dozens of workshops on Civil Rights Movement and labor history. This is an ideal year for Mississippi teachers near New Orleans to attend. Learn more.

NCSS is offering  a First Timers' Scholarship to teachers from Mississippi and Louisiana who have never attended an NCSS Annual Conference. Learn more

Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek

On this 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, watch this powerful film that follows the journey of a teacher who moves home to coastal Mississippi when the graves of his ancestors are bulldozed to make way for the sprawling city of Gulfport. Here is an article by a Mississippi teacher who engages his students in the struggle to save the Turkey Creek community.

Voting Rights Act History Quiz
This August marks the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act which outlawed strategies that had been used by white supremacists to disenfranchise Black citizens and included provisions to facilitate the registration of new voters. In the Voting Rights Act History Quiz, teachers and students can learn some of the history of the struggle for voting rights that is all too often omitted from the textbooks.

Civil Rights Movement Veterans Website

In addition to the passage of the Voting Rights Act, many other events of note took place during the southern freedom movement in 1965. The Civil Rights Movement Veterans website is a great place to learn about this history through primary documents and reflections from veterans. 

Voice of Freedom
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer

Voice of Freedom is a new book full of stirring poems and stunning collage illustrations about the life of Fannie Lou Hamer, a Mississippi champion of equal voting rights. (For upper elementary and middle school.)

Marion Barry Interview and Transcript

Marion Barry was interviewed in 2011 by students from McComb High School and the Urban School of San Francisco about his childhood and activism in Mississippi. Barry served as the mayor of Washington, D.C. and was the first chairperson of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

Emmett Till book
Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Modern Civil Rights Movement

Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement is a new book from the University Press of Mississippi that offers a comprehensive account of the 1955 murder and its aftermath.

The foreword is by SNCC veteran Julian Bond. 

In Memory

Margaret Block

Margaret Block, lifelong civil rights activist, poet, and teacher passed away in June 2015. Her efforts to organize, agitate, and educate for social justice inspired people across the country to work together for freedom. Continue reading this remembrance from the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program.

Julian Bond

Long time activist, professor, politician, and writer Julian Bond died on August 15, 2015. Bond was a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He was the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center; was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives and Senate; and he was chairperson of the NAACP. Bond taught at American University and the University of Virginia. Learn more. Photo: Julian Bond at the farm of E.W. Steptoe in Amite County in 1963, by Harvey Richards.

BB King

World renowned blues artist B.B. King died on May 14, 2015. He was born on September 16, 1925, on a plantation in Itta Bena, Mississippi, near Indianola. King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and is considered one of the most influential blues musicians of all time, earning the nickname "The King of the Blues." Learn more

Lisa Anderson Todd

Lisa Anderson Todd, who joined the Mississippi Summer Project when she graduated from college in 1964, died on July 24, 2015. In her recent book For a Voice and the Vote: My Journey with the Mississippi Freedom Democratic PartyTodd describes the community of Greenville where she was assigned for voter registration and the MFDP in Atlantic City. Learn more.

John A. Williams

Renowned author and journalist John A. Williams died on July 3, 2015. Williams was born in Jackson, Mississippi. After serving in WWII, he graduated from Syracuse University and went on to write many novels. One of them was a fictionalized account of the life of Richard Wright known as The Man Who Cried I Am.


For More Information
We welcome Civil Rights Movement teaching stories and photos from Mississippi teachers to feature in this monthly e-newsletter. 

To learn more, submit stories, or share comments, write to project director Julian Hipkins III. Hipkins is also available to offer teacher workshops in Mississippi schools and pre- or in-service programs. Learn more here.

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This monthly e-newsletter is produced by Teaching for Change with funding from