Efforts of Oberlin College Students in Mississippi in 1964 Recognized With Historical Marker

HistoricalMarkerIn October 1964, the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church was burned to the ground during a period of intense racial violence in the state of Mississippi. During a six-month period, nearly 40 Black churches were burned by arsonists. The Antioch Missionary Baptist Church had been the site of a voting rights drive meeting led by Fannie Lou Hamer.

At the time five students from Oberlin College were in the area working on a voter registration drive. Paul Schmidt, a professor of philosophy at Oberlin College and his wife Gail organized an effort to rebuild the church. They raised money for the effort and formed a team of more than 20 Oberlin students and three faculty members to travel to Mississippi during Christmas break to help the congregation rebuild the church. The effort became known as Carpenters for Christmas.

Now the church will receive a historical marker on the Mississippi Freedom Trail.

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