JUNE 24, 1964
Thirty Freedom Summer workers from Greenville, Mississippi, made the first effort to register Black voters in Drew.
White men circled the workers in cars and trucks, some equipped with gun racks, making violent threats. One White man stopped his car and said, “I’ve got something here for you,” flashing his gun.
Despite death threats and burning crosses, the workers persisted. During Freedom Summer, about 17,000 Black Mississippians attempted to register to vote, but only 1,600 were actually allowed to vote. These acts drew national attention to the state’s disenfranchisement of Black voters and contributed to the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.
A decade after the law passed, Mississippi saw the nation’s greatest increase in registered Black voters.