“Fifty Years Ago”

Dear editor,

Thank you so much for publishing the article “Fifty Years Ago” about the Freedom Summer of 1964. I was 14 years old then and I vividly remember the summer that did indeed change the course of the civil rights movement and the history of our country. I still recall the names Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner, the three civil rights workers who had been kidnapped and killed shortly after being released by the sheriff in a racially charged town in Mississippi. He had arrested them for “speeding” as they fixed a flat tire.

Here we are fifty years later going backward in the expansion of voting rights after the Supreme Court struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act. Why some have to hate others who are different. Does the fear of losing power drive this hate? Why are some in this nation obsessed with restricting the voting rights of those who think differently? Why can’t some in America live up to Christian principles and love others? We do after all claim to be a Christian country. Why can’t some do unto others as they would have others do unto them?

In many ways the best thing about that article was the last sentence. A black man who volunteered in Mississippi that summer described the richness of the friendship he had forged with a wealthy white female volunteer. He said their friendship is “just as real, is just as interesting, is just as enriching and is just as powerful and sweet as it was in 1964.”

Why are some determined to deprive themselves of the richness of expanding their horizons and accepting others who look “different?” Imagine how our country could grow if more persons began to engage in meaningful goal directed dialogue with others who are “different”. We might even begin to solve problems. Instead there is constant yelling and sniping at the “other side” and constant accusations that the “other side” is unpatriotic. Imagine the possibilities! I found the article to be thought provoking and refreshing. Thank you again.


Elaine M. Wiehagen