Doris Wilson remembers the Black Women of 1964

I think most of these women were confronted with the realities of segregation for the first time. Like a lot of privileged blacks, they had lived above it. Many of them were flabbergasted, and at the reality of how Jim Crow affected people. Especially in 1964 when there was an atmosphere of real fear. Even though there was segregation in the North, it was a whole different ball of wax than in Mississippi. We were right in the midst of it.

I took one team to buy liquor in Mississippi, which was illegal, to show the lawlessness of the society. To expose them to the contradictions of Mississippi society. If you come from anywhere where it was legal to buy liquor, buying it in Mississippi was part of the lawlessness of the whole society.

I took the Chicago team to a little church where the Freedom Players were performing “In White America.” They had come to Mississippi to give support to Civil Rights. Black men had to stand outside and guard the church and the performance. We had to be protected, the whole audience had to be protected. The police were following us everywhere. We had this feeling of being bonded with the audience and the performers that night.

Doris Wilson