Faculty Enrichment Lecture: "The Making of A Mock Election: The Freedom Vote of 1963" by Paige McGinley


Monday, February 3, 2020 -
12:00pm to 1:00pm
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RLL 4th Floor Faculty Lounge

Lecture Title: The Making of A Mock Election: The Freedom Vote of 1963

Lecture Description: This talk analyzes a signal but overlooked event of the long civil rights movement: the Freedom Vote of 1963. A mock election that coincided with the state-sanctioned gubernatorial election, the Freedom Vote represented a new tactic for securing voting rights in Mississippi, where violence, economic reprisals, techniques of disenfranchisement, and lack of federal enforcement prevented many black citizens from registering to vote. The Freedom Vote campaign ran Aaron Henry and Edwin King for governor and lieutenant governor against Democratic and Republican Party candidates, whom they defeated by an overwhelming margin. In the end, 80,000 black citizens cast their votes—four times the number registered in Mississippi. In spite of its massive scale, the Freedom Vote has been underexplored. Examining the Freedom Vote within a longer history of black political performance, this talk explores the place of this mock election within the broader struggle for black enfranchisement; the Vote’s enabling of subsequent legal challenges and the formation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party; and the Vote’s rehearsal of both liberal and radical futures in Mississippi.

Paige McGinley is Associate Professor of Performing Arts and American Culture Studies at Washington University in St. Louis where she teaches courses in twentieth century theater and performance history. She is the author of Staging the Blues: From Tent Shows to Tourism (Duke UP, 2014), which was recognized with the Errol Hill Award and the John W. Frick Book Prize. A recipient of an NEH Fellowship, McGinley is currently completing Rehearsing Civil Rights: Practicing the Law, 1932-1968, the first in-depth examination of rehearsals for direct action and self-determination in the mid-century black freedom struggle.

Please join in welcoming Professor McGinley to the Boyd School of Law for her Faculty Enrichment Lecture on Monday, February 3, 2019 at noon in the Faculty Lounge