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Book NewsBy Esther Callens

It is through the knowledge of history that hope springs anew.  Thus often unpleasant experiences are recounted in order to educate and accelerate growth in today’s society – a way to learn from the past in order to build a bright future. Challenging The Mississippi Firebombers (Memories Of Mississippi 1964-1965) offers an uncompromised glimpse into one such past –the Civil Rights era. Although Jim Dann – its author, only recounts a brief period, it is an imperative dissertation – one that should never be forgotten.
The sixties exemplify the epitome of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.  One group consisted of young, Black and white students that were united for one cause – to better America. Their names were John Harris, Fannie Lou Hamer, Irene McGruder, Charles McLaurin – these and numerous others peaceably fought for change regarding the voting rights act in the South. Facing unjust violence, incarceration and even death, they risked their lives, determined to prove that there was a better way – and it was equality. These were the people that Jim Dann wrote about. Giving a personal, firsthand account, he revisits with painstaking details the numerous activities that brought about pivotal change in America’s History – a time when people dared to dream.
Challenging The Mississippi Firebombers offers a meticulous, second to none look as Jim Dann was a volunteer in the 1964 Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Mississippi Summer Project. He was also an SNCC field secretary in 1965. Without Dann’s (and the countless other students) contributions, Freedom Summer would have just been an idea forgotten. When writing Challenging The Mississippi Firebombers, Jim Dann obtained facts, comments and photos from various sources. Also enlisted was the aid of John Harris (1943-2012) to write the preface and Tracy Sugarman (1921-2013) to draft illustrations.
Sadly, Jim Dunn passed away in June of 2013, after losing his battle with Leukemia. He will be missed.