In June 1964, courageous young civil rights workers risked their lives in the face of violence, intimidation, illegal arrests, and racism to register as many African American voters as possible in Mississippi, which had historically excluded most blacks from voting. With a firsthand account of the details and thoughtful descriptions of key people on the front lines, including Fannie Lou Hamer, Charles McLaurin, John Harris, Irene McGruder, and many more, author Jim Dann brings that historic period back to life. He places those 15 months in Mississippi-known as Freedom Summer-in the overall history of the struggle of African Americans for freedom, equality, and democratic rights in the South, the country, and throughout the world. Fraught with lessons drawn from those experiences, Challenging the Mississippi Firebombers is a valuable contribution to understanding and advancing civil rights struggles in addition to being a fascinating and engrossing story of a pivotal moment in the mid-20th-century United States.
Jim Dann volunteered for the Mississippi Summer Project organised by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1964 and was hired by SNCC as a field secretary the following year. He taught high school physics for 20 years and is the coauthor of The People's Physics Book, a textbook for advanced high school physics.