We want people to be able to live the truth.
—SNCC report on Mississippi schools, 1963
The movement has been called the closest thing in the United States to Paul Goodman's “anti-college” where students learn because they want to learn, learn in order to do and to discover who they are.
—Fifth Annual Spring Conference of SNCC, 1964
For a brief moment in 1964, a network of alternative schools flourished as a central component of the civil rights movement in Mississippi. The Freedom Schools of the Mississippi Summer Project were sponsored by COFO, the Council of Federated Organizations, an alliance of civil rights groups led by SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Through COFO, SNCC activists brought hundreds of northern volunteers, most of them white, to Mississippi for a few months to register voters and to teach in forty-one Freedom Schools. The schools offered young black Mississippians an education that public schools would not supply, one that both provided intellectual stimulation and linked learning to participation in the movement to transform the South's segregated society.