Freedom Summer and the Meredith March in Madison Co.

(6/23/1966) Freedom marchers tried to pitch tents to lodge women and children on the grounds of McNeal Elementary School during James Meredith’s March Against Fear. The marchers were not permitted to pitch the tents on the grounds, but they proceeded to do so anyway. State troopers fired tear gas from the roof of the school into the crowd, and many were injured by the tear gas cannons. Wielding truncheons and gun butts, they cleared the area in fifteen minutes. Unlike the similar charge of troopers in Selman the previous year, the Canton incident provoked little national outrage. Marchers retreated to Ashbury Methodist Church to recover.

Sources:

Brown-Wright, Flonzie. Looking Back to Move Ahead Germantown, OH: FBW, 1994.

Cheeks-Collins, Jennifer E. Black America Series: Madison County, Mississippi Charleston: Arcadia, 2002.

Townsend Davis, Weary Feet, Rested Souls: A Guided History of the Civil Rights Movement New York: W.W. Norton, 1998.

Dittmer, John. Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994.

Mead, Carol Lynn. The Land Between Two Rivers: Madison County, Mississippi. Canton, MS: Friends of the Madison County—Canton Public Library, 1987.

Orr-Klopfer, M. Susan. Where Rebels Roost : Mississippi Civil Rights Revisited. (self-published) 2005.

Payne, Charles M. I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.