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Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party

The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) was created in April 1964 by the Council of Federated Organizations to challenge the state’s all-white regular Democratic Party. At an integrated state convention, MFDP elected 68 delegates (including four whites) to attend the 1964 Democratic National Convention, demanding that they be seated instead of the all-white delegation. On national television, MFDP delegate Fannie Lou Hamer spoke of the violence and threats experienced by Mississippi blacks attempting to vote. MFDP refused the two at-large seats offered by the Credentials Committee, saying they didn’t come all the way from Mississippi for two seats. After passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, MFDP sought to unseat Mississippi’s congressmen, claiming they had been unconstitutionally elected. In 1968, former MFDP delegates were seated at the Democratic National Convention.

Associated Archive Content : 24 results

American Journal: Let Justice Roll Down

Carey McWilliams writes to Dr. King to inform him his article, "Let Justice Roll Down," was included in the American Journal, a publication by the US Information Service aimed at representing opinions and current subjects of interest in the United States. This edition, published in 1965, was he 5th year in a row Dr. King had contributed an article describing the tempo of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

Amsterdam Article

This document describes the fight for civil rights in Mississippi in the early 1960's.

Article Regarding New Head Start Project

Head Start is Shifted to College and Politics Behind OEO's Cutoffs.The two articles depicted provide details on the relationship between the Office of Economic Opportunity and the funds being cut off from the Child Development Group to be given to a small Mississippi college.

Highlander Reports: Black Power in Mississipi

In this newsletter, the writers speak about various issues concerning African Americans and their discrimination in politics.

Letter from Fannie Lou Hamer to Friends

Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer requests the help of 'Friends', pertaining to voting rights in Mississippi. Mrs. Hamer also details some of the sufferings of black folks in Mississippi, especially, as it pertains to potential repercussions for them registering to vote.

Letter from John Lewis to MLK Regarding the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party

In this letter, John Lewis encourages Dr. King to start a letter writing campaign to prevent the illegal election of Representatives from Mississippi. Lewis offers Dr. King assistance from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Letter from Lawrence Guyot to MLK

Lawrence Guyot of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party seeks Dr. King's support for the Mississippi election campaign.

Letter from Mark Cohen to MLK

Mark Cohen, of the Political Union of Central High School, requests for Dr. King to speak at the school regarding peace and civil rights on the same day he's addressing the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom in Philadelphia.

MLK Statement Before the Credentials Committee of the DNC

Dr. King addresses the Democratic National Committee urging them to stand up against the inequities that prevent Negro participation in the political process in the state of Mississippi.

Newspaper Article "Negro Nation Ratified"

This article discusses a group of black nationalists who ratified a declaration of independence for a separate Negro nation. The new nation was named the "Republic of New Africa."

North and South

The SCLC newsletter informs its readers of the recent events that its members have taken part in. Hosea Williams went to Chicago to conduct a voter registration and voter motivation drive. Also, the SCLC's Operation Breadbasket, led by Jesse Jackson, made an agreement with a big food chain company. The company agreed to transfer some accounts from white banks to struggling Negro banks and to offer its Negro customers products manufactured by small Negro firms.

People to People: Something Happening in Mississippi

In this article for the New York Amsterdam News, Dr. King discusses the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, a group of Negroes from Mississippi who displayed the power of nonviolence by challenging the seating of the state's all-white regular Democratic delegation at the 1964 Democratic Convention.

Press Release: SCLC Add New Members

The SCLC reports about the six new members added to its executive board during the Annual Convention held in Savannah, Ga.

Primer For Delegates to the Democratic National Convention

The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party informs citizens of the mistreatment incurred by African Americans attempting to register to vote and participate in election process. The Party also outlines its journey to sending 64 delegates to the Democratic Convention of 1964 and how President Johnson denied them seats at the Convention.

Public Statement at the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party

Dr. King speaks at a rally held for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Dr. King stresses the importance of government assistance in protecting African Americans citizens from violent actions when registering and voting during elections. In areas such as Mississippi where harassment and murders took place frequently, African Americans were in dire need of a political party that was free of racism so that they could fairly be represented in a prejudice society.

Revolution in the Delta: Farm Hands Go on Strike

David R. Underhill discusses the strike of farm laborers in various Mississippi Delta cities. Underhill highlights strike procedures, methods, and locations.

Shriver Turnabout on Poverty Project Criticized

William C. Selover writes this article covering the criticism around Sargent Shriver's decision to cut funding for the poverty relief program, Child Development Group of Mississippi. Shriver, Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, had created Head Start programs and used the CDGM as a model for programs across the country. Several accusations are rendered as cause to the cut, including Shriver giving in to political pressure from segregationist senators of Mississippi. Many believe that once again poor people had "been sacrificed to political expediency."

Speech in Jackson, Mississippi

Dr. King addresses supporters in Jackson, Mississippi during his statewide tour for the 1968 Poor People's Campaign. He speaks of his excitement about the number of blacks in Mississippi that participated in the last congressional election. He emphasizes that the Poor People's Campaign cannot be successful without a strong coalition of organizations that see the need to combat poverty. King would be assassinated in Memphis two weeks after making this speech.

Statement Before The Credentials Committee

Dr. King makes a statement to the Democratic National Committee in an effort to persuade the the organization to recognize the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party as a sitting, and voting, entity of the Democratic Party. Dr. King emphasizes that not only is the fabric of the Democratic National Party at stake, but representative government as it is known throughout the world.

Statement Before the Credentials Committee Democratic National Committee

Dr. King makes a plea to the Democratic National Committee to provide a delegate from the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party so that there may be equal representation within the state. Dr. King's feels that by providing a delegate it may discontinue the prevention of political participation of African Americans in Mississippi.

Statement by Dr. Robert W. Spike on the Mississippi Seating Challenge

Reverend Dr. Robert W. Spike writes a statement concerning a plan to dismiss a seating challenge in the U.S. House of Representatives. Reverend Spikes discusses the political inadequacies concerning the denial of the Mississippi residents right to vote. Following the seating of the delegation, an investigation commenced to ensure the political legitimacy.

Telegram from MLK to President Johnson Excerpt

Dr. King writes President Johnson about the issues Negroes are facing in Mississippi, where they were being denied the right to vote. King calls Johnson's attention to the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which was engaged in a struggle for representation against the National Democratic Party as well as the political network of Mississippi.

Telegram from the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party Chairman Guyot to MLK

The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party Chairman expresses concern regarding the SCLC's exclusion of "indigenous people of various political orientation in preparing the program" for the annual convention held in Jackson, MS.

We Have No Government

This is a transcription of a press conference held on behalf of the poor people in Mississippi. Leaders and participants discussed alternatives to government aid to help rectify poverty related concerns.