Julius Lester was teaching guitar and performing as a folk singer in New York City when he decided to go to Mississippi during Freedom Summer. Folk music became an integral part of mass meetings and rallies not only in 1964, but throughout the civil rights movement. Lester tells of his role in energizing the people gathered at those meetings, and setting the stage for the organizers who called the crowds to action. He also reflects on the ever-present danger for participants in Freedom Summer.
“Freedom Summer” premieres June 24 on American Experience PBS.