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Jackson in Hinds County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
 

COFO Central Offices

 

— Mississippi Freedom Trail —

 
COFO Central Offices Marker (front) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, March 22, 2018
1. COFO Central Offices Marker (front)
Inscription.  
Front
From this building, COFO (Council of Federated Organizations) coordinated efforts of SNCC, NAACP, CORE, SCLC, and other activist groups from early 1963 through early 1965. Clarksdale's Aaron Henry was COFO president. Bob Moses, program director, and David Dennis, assistant program director, supervised this office and mentored young activists, building a strong grassroots base. Despite frequent brutal attacks, key volunteers, along with SNCC and CORE field secretaries, kept the office open throughout the 1963 Freedom Vote and Freedom Summer of 1964 campaigns.

Rear
COFO This building on the historic John Roy Lynch Street Civil Rights Corridor served as the COFO (Council of Federated Organizations) headquarters, considered the "nerve center" of the Mississippi freedom struggle. COFO was a coalition of organizations including the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and community groups. Among the organizers
COFO Central Offices Marker (rear) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, March 22, 2018
2. COFO Central Offices Marker (rear)
were SNCC field secretary Bob Moses, state NAACP president Aaron Henry, NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers, and others. They had observed firsthand the challenges faced by activists and saw the need for civil rights solidarity. Originally an ad hoc group, COFO was formally organized in February 1962. The leadership of the new organization included President Aaron Henry, Program Director Bob Moses, Assistant Program Director David Dennis, and Secretary Carsie Hall, a Jackson attorney.

The focus was on voter registration and citizenship education. In 1963 COFO organized the Freedom Vote campaign—a statewide mock election in which 80,000 African Americans cast their votes for Aaron Henry and the Reverend Ed King, a white Mississippian and chaplain at Tougaloo College. This work expanded into the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and its challenge to the Democratic Convention in Atlantic City, efforts resulting in an integrated delegation at the next convention and new rules ending racial and other exclusion. COFO created the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project—better known as Freedom Summer—during which nearly one thousand summer volunteers from across America convened in a broad voter registration campaign that attracted international attention to the civil rights movement. COFO also administered Freedom Schools across the state, where children and adults
Photos from rear of marker. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, March 22, 2018
3. Photos from rear of marker.
Click on photo for closeup
learned African American history, a topic neglected in their formal studies, and attended innovative classes in science, math, music, and literature.

Working with program directors Moses and Dennis were SNCC and CORE field secretaries. One such key figure was Lawrence Guyot, SNCC director and COFO project director in Hattiesburg, an important activist site in the state, and chairman of MFDP. Volunteer and advisor Allard K. Lowenstein from New York was also key in recruiting college student volunteers for the Freedom Vote and Freedom Summer through his network of contacts at Yale and Stanford universities. SNCC recruited more black and white men and women from schools throughout America, and COFO expanded Freedom Summer to include support and volunteers from national medical, religious, social service, labor and other groups.
 
Erected 2016 by the Mississippi Development Authority Tourism Division. (Marker Number 23.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCivil Rights. In addition, it is included in the Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and the Mississippi Freedom Trail series lists.
 
Location. 32° 17.849′ N, 90° 12.104′ W. Marker is
COFO Central Offices and the marker. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, March 22, 2018
4. COFO Central Offices and the marker.
in Jackson, Mississippi, in Hinds County. Marker is at the intersection of John R. Lynch Street and Short Hickory Street, in the median on John R. Lynch Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1013 John R Lynch Street, Jackson MS 39203, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) (a few steps from this marker); M.W. Stringer Grand Lodge (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Noel House (approx. 0.2 miles away); St. Mark's Episcopal Church (approx. 0.2 miles away); Summers Hotel & Subway Lounge (approx. 0.3 miles away); Scott Radio Service Company (approx. 0.6 miles away); Jackson State Tragedy (approx. 0.6 miles away); Edwards Hotel (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jackson.
 
Also see . . .  Opened by Jackson State University 2011, the COFO Civil Rights Education Center. (Submitted on March 24, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Another nearby COFO Central Offices historical marker. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, March 22, 2018
5. Another nearby COFO Central Offices historical marker.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 16, 2019. It was originally submitted on March 24, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 142 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on March 24, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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Aug. 15, 2020