Eyes on the Prize: Mississippi
Cerena Vang
Eyes on the Prize: Mississippi highlights the political side of the Civil Rights Movement . How the Freedom Summer of 1964 and the events of that summer led to the creation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party . Freedom summer was a strategic move, bringing in the four major Civil Rights organizations and incorporating the most numbers of White people that the movement have ever seen. After doing some research, I discovered that 90% of the volunteers were White, Northerners, most of them Jewish. Freedom Summer was a strategic move to display the White power of the Civil Rights Movement. However, in class, we discussed how having too many White people involved in the Movement could potentially make it seem as though it was the White people who were liberating the Black people and not the Black people liberating themselves. 90% of the volunteers being White is a staggering percentile, enough to make it seem as though the White people are taking the movement into their own hands. After all, Freedom Summer only made national news when Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner had been murdered alongside their fellow Black volunteer James Chaney. After looking into Freedom Summer more and more it was perceived that the White volunteers acted in a condescending way, not necessarily leaving a good impression of White involvement in the Civil Rights Movements.
It seemed as though the Freedom Summer only succeeded on one of their goals, they failed to register many more people to vote, but the summer of 1964 did kick start the formation of the MFDP. These little victories meant so much more because after Freedom Summer, they were being noticed on National levels. As an Asian American student who is involved with Asian American Student Union on campus, I often read many articles about why the Asian American community needs to stand by the Black Lives Matter Movement. They state that we owe our rights to their involvement in the Civil Rights movement and that they paved a way for the rights of colored folk in the United States. To an extent, this is correct, but Asians were brought into this country later than the African Americans, therefore we have not had time to be oppressed as long as our counterpart. There are many other reasons as to why the Asian American community should support BLM but the message of those articles parallel the White people helping the Black people in the Civil Rights Movement. In the BLM case, the Asian American community does not hold as much leverage in the community as a group of White people, but it can provide more numbers for their movement, especially numbers of minorities. It is about gaining support. Asian Americans represent different stereotypes than Black people and by bringing them into it, it makes their movement seem more "White" on society\'s standards. By bringing together groups of people who have been marginalized, it helps build the support of BLM, similar to that of the Civil Rights Movem ent.