Part 2

  • Explain. Because Freedom Summer volunteers were predominantly young students, the project sparked some generational tensions. Many of the volunteers' parents, even if they supported the civil rights movement in general, were concerned about the violence that their children faced and discouraged them from participating. Some parents disagreed with the radical tactics of the project, believing that more traditional routes to change—legislative, judicial, etc.—should remain the focus of the Civil Rights Movement. Others were inspired by their children's commitment to civil rights and even learned from them. The letters volunteers wrote home testify to the varied responses that they faced from family.
  • Distribute copies of Voices of the Freedom Summer Document Study
    • A different student should read each letter out loud. As the students read the letters, instructor should remind students who wrote these letters and when (young people during Freedom Summer, in 1964), and for what audience (generally loved ones).
  • Ask students to find a partner and choose a letter that they find interesting.
    • Assignment.  Students are to take on the role of the person the letter was written to. In that role, they should write a response to the letter writer. Then they should take on the role of the letter writer and respond to their new letter.
    • Students may share their original letter and their two responses, time-permitting.
  • Instructor may create a bulletin board of the letters on which the instructor can write positive feedback and questions on post-it notes. In addition, students will be encouraged to write their positive comments and questions as well (optional).
  • Assignment. Students should read “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” as homework.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Part 2." (Viewed on September 22, 2023) <>.


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