In 1964, civil rights organizations, citizens of Mississippi, and student volunteers from across the country came together to challenge segregation in one of the nation’s most racially oppressive and violent states. They registered African American voters who had been denied the right to vote, established Freedom Schools, organized Freedom Votes and created the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. It was a strategic experiment that rocked the nation and fundamentally challenged white supremacy in the South. This lecture explores this campaign from the perspective of local people in Mississippi. Examining Freedom Summer challenges conventional understandings of civil rights history, allowing us to think more critically about the nature of democracy in the United States, state-sanctioned violence, long-standing ideological debates within the movement, and notions of collective leadership.