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Vermonter Speaks on "The Story"


Published January 14, 2009 at 2:01 p.m.

Vermonter Wally Roberts spoke at 1 p.m. today on National Public Radio's "The Story" (which is produced by American Public Media). Roberts was a volunteer during "Freedom Summer," a 1964 effort to bring white volunteers to the deep south to organize for civil rights. He appeared on the show with Bob Moses, a civil rights leader who organized the campaign.

Roberts, now a journalist from Central Vermont, told host Dick Gordon that he read about Freedom Summer in the newspaper while working as a teacher in Massachusetts.

"Did you understand the dangers you might face in Mississippi?" Gordon asked.

"I did," Roberts said. "One of the reasons for inviting the white volunteers in such large numbers was because African Americans ... were being killed and shot at and beaten up, and the rest of America didn't know about this, because it wasn't covered in the media ... By inviting white, northern students to participate, the hope was that this would draw national attention."

"But it would only draw attention if there were attacks against you, right?"

"That's right...."

Tune into this story on "The Story"'s website.