History Detectives: Voting Rights in Mississippi, 1964



Local activist Gracie Hawthorne in front of SNCC’s “One Man, One Vote” at COFO headquarters in Hattiesburg. Photo (c) Herbert Randall.

This lesson introduces students to the history, strategies, and challenges facing by people in Mississippi in their struggle for voting rights in the early 1960s.

The lesson focuses on four cities in Mississippi: McComb, Laurel, Canton, and Hattiesburg. In small groups, students are provided confidential packets of documents for one of the four cities and assigned the role of either a voting rights activist or a member of the Sovereignty Commission. The folders are filled with background information and primary documents. Many of the readings are from the Civil Rights Movement Veterans website. The format of the lesson draws loosely on the Historical Scene Investigation model. 

Here is the lesson.