Letter to Mother and Father from Ellen
Gulfport, August 12
Dear Mother and Father:
I have learned more about politics here from running my own precinct meetings that I could have from any Government professor… For the first time in my life, I am seeing what it is like to be poor, oppressed, and hated. And what I see here does not apply only to Gulfport or to Mississippi or even to the South … The people we’re killing in Viet Nam are the same people whom we’ve been killing for years in Mississippi. True, we didn’t tie the knot in Mississippi and we didn’t pull the trigger in Viet Nam – that is, we personally – but we’ve been standing behind the knot-tiers and the trigger-pullers too long.
This summer is only the briefest beginning of this experience, both for myself and for the Negroes of Mississippi.
Letter from an Freedom Summer Project activist to her parents about the responsibility she feels toward the civil rights movement and those it represents.