Weekly Update • Thursday, October 15
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Session 7: The Movement in Mississippi
Tuesday, October 20, at 11am Central
Join the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL) on Tuesday, October 20, for an exploration of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi. Why is Mississippi considered "ground zero" of the Movement? What were the contributions of key figures like Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, and James Meredith? How did the lynching of Emmett Till spark the modern Civil Rights Movement? How did Jews play a role in this story?

ISJL Director of Heritage and Interpretation Nora Katz will introduce us to key moments and people in the history of the Movement in Mississippi. We'll also hear from folks currently doing the important work of interpreting and sharing this history in the present. This session features Dr. Robby Luckett, Assistant Professor of History and Director of the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University, and John Spann, Curator of Education and Programming at the Two Mississippi Museums.

Fannie Lou Hamer sitting on her porch, circa 1960s.
Will D. Campbell Papers, University of Southern Mississippi.
Past Program: The Movement Continues
This week we learned about the Long Civil Rights Movement and the fact that the Civil Rights Movement exists beyond the 1950s and 1960s. Some argue that the Movement began with the New Deal era of the 1930s, or even with the emancipation of enslaved people in 1865. And the Movement continues into the present as we persist in our fight for justice for all people.

If you missed the session, it's available any time on our website.

In the spirit of the Long Civil Rights Movement, we heard from Rabbi Salem Pearce of Carolina Jews for Justice and Lindsey Rubinstein of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Both institutions are fighting for civil rights and racial justice in the present. We also met Rachel Glazer, Community Engagement Program Manager at the ISJL, who leads our ASK program (focused on Jewish social justice) as well as our secular peer mediation and literacy initiatives.
Yale Hillel students at the Isaiah T. Montgomery House in Mound Bayou, Mississippi.
Go Deeper
The PBS series Eyes on the Prize provides a comprehensive overview of the Civil Rights Movement. The episode "Mississippi: Is This America?" is an excellent introduction to the Movement in Mississippi and its ongoing legacy.

During our next session, we'll meet Dr. Robby Luckett of Jackson State University. We'll learn about the Gibbs-Green Tragedy and current efforts to commemorate the event and honor its survivors. Read Dr. Luckett's New York Times op-ed about the tragedy on its fiftieth anniversary. If you want to learn more about Mississippi, the Mississippi Encyclopedia (available free online in its entirety), is an excellent first step.

Elevate Women's Voices
We don't hear enough about the role of women in the Civil Rights Movement. But many incredible women—like Ella Baker and Fannie Lou Hamer—changed the world as Civil Rights organizers. The Wednesdays in Mississippi project, which saw Black and white women from the north come to Mississippi to support the work of Freedom Schools, is a little-known facet of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement. Learn about a documentary film featuring the women who participated. Read about Polly Spiegel Cowan, a Jewish woman who co-founded the project alongside National Council of Negro Women President Dorothy Height.

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Trailer for PBS's Eyes on the Prize series.
A trailer for Wednesdays in Mississippi, a documentary about the Wednesdays in Mississippi project led by women from across the United States. Content warning: this video contains the n-word.
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Welcome to the ISJL Virtual Vacation!
We're excited to introduce you to the South’s vibrant cultural heritage, the big themes of southern Jewish history, the folks working to advance social justice in the South, and our region’s natural beauty, music, and food. There’s so much to explore—join us for a summer vacation from the comfort of your home!

Weekly digital events—live on the ISJL Facebook page and available any time on the ISJL Virtual Vacation website—feature museums, historic sites, scholars, chefs, and more from across the region.

Sign up now to join the journey. We're excited to travel with you, wherever you are.
Start your virtual southern Jewish journey with ISJL resources designed to provide engaging windows into the history of the Jewish South.
The ISJL's Virtual Road Trip Through the Jewish South is an interactive collection of online resources accessible from anywhere. Check it out and get inspired before you begin the Virtual Vacation!
We'll travel again soon! When it's safe to hit the road, the ISJL can build a variety of trips through different southern states, emphasizing southern Jewish life, Civil Rights history, and southern culture. It's never too early to start planning your group's next adventure!