WEDU PBS Commemorates 50th Anniversary of 1964’s Freedom Summer with Film Screening Event and Voter Registration Drive

TAMPA, FL (May 28, 2014) — In the hot and deadly summer of 1964, the nation could not turn away from Mississippi. Over ten memorable weeks known as Freedom Summer, more than 700 student volunteers joined with organizers and local African Americans in a historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in one of the nation’s most segregated states.

Working together, they canvassed for voter registration, created Freedom Schools and established the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party with the goal of challenging the segregationist state Democratic Party at the national convention in Atlantic City.

Freedom Summer was marked by sustained and deadly violence, including the notorious murders of three civil rights workers, countless beatings, the burning of 35 churches and the bombing of 70 homes and community centers.

Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Stanley Nelson (Freedom Riders, The Murder of Emmett Till), Freedom Summer highlights an overlooked but essential element of the civil rights movement: the patient and long-term efforts by outside activists and local citizens in Mississippi to organize communities and register black voters — even in the face of intimidation, physical violence and death.

WEDU PBS, West Central Florida’s primary PBS station, is commemorating this occasion with a preview screening event on June 17th, 2014 at 7:30pm at Tampa Theatre (doors open at 6:30pm). In honoring the mission of the volunteers during Freedom Summer, WEDU PBS will host a voter registration drive during the screening event.

Staff members from the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections will be on-hand to help guest register to vote, change voter information, and answer guests’ questions about voting. This special screening event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and reservations are requested. Tickets can be reserved online at:

WHAT: FREE film screening of American Experience’s Freedom Summer, voter registration drive.

WHO:  Presented by WEDU PBS (Sponsored by: HART, Tampa Theatre)

WHEN: Tuesday, June 17th at 7:30pm (Doors open at 6:30pm)

WHERE: Tampa Theatre – 711 N. Franklin Street, Tampa

RSVP: (Free and open to the public. Seating is limited, reservations are requested.)

Freedom Summer premieres on AMERICAN EXPERIENCE on Tuesday, June 24, 2014; 9:00-11:00 p.m. on WEDU PBS (check local listings).


WEDU PBS is West Central Florida’s primary PBS station and public media company reaching 16 counties through media platforms including on-air programming and online experiences that broaden horizons, transport and transform and open gateways to new ideas and new worlds. Financially supported by the community, the organization offers a wealth of award-winning inspirational, educational and enlightening content over a variety of media platforms including: television programming, station’s website, and various social media platforms, monthly member magazine Premiere, educational outreach activities and a myriad of special events. WEDU’s focus on the local community has resulted in the station being regarded as a beacon of trust for men, women and children of every walk of life no matter their age, ethnicity or socio-economic status. WEDU is a treasured community resource; a window to the world for the homebound and a vital educational source for the youngest members of society. WEDU prides itself on its position in the Tampa Bay community as a leader, partner, informed citizen and a member of PBS, the most trusted institution in America (ORC International’s DualFrame CARAVAN, January 2014). For more information, program schedules or to support WEDU PBS, visit, WEDU Public Media on Facebook and Twitter or call 813.254.9338.