Freedom Summer: The Savage Season That Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy - Bruce Watson Summer of 1964, I was sitting in my diapers, sniffing the Topanga Canyon breezes and watching the snakes and tarantulas go by, so I think I can be forgiven for not knowing what was going on in Mississippi. If you've seen the 1988 film Mississippi Burning, you know about the three young men, two white and one black, who disappeared on the first night of Freedom Summer. This book tells the rest of the story. Hundreds of brave and idealistic college-age kids left their safe white enclaves all over the country to converge on Mississippi. They hoped to register black voters, many of whom were not even aware they had the right to vote. They also taught in Freedom Schools, where black children could come and get a taste of what it was like to get excited about learning and be treated with the dignity they weren't allowed in the public schools. These volunteers risked everything, including their lives. Mississippi wasn't just another state back then, it was another country! There was no real law there, and it was a violent and dangerous place. Four volunteers lost their lives, and many others were beaten, bombed, threatened, jailed, and humiliated. It took a long time for the seeds they sowed to bear fruit, but when we elected a bi-racial president 44 years later, many of them felt like they'd had a part in making that possible.