ABERDEEN, Md. (DC News Now) — Supporters of the place where the Freedom Riders discussed plans to register Black voters in Mississippi during the turbulent 1960s, have until Oct. 3 to come up with $20,000, or the home will be placed on the auction block two days later.
“We are still short,” said Patricia Cole, who is one of the organizers of the effort to save Freedom House.
Janice Grant owns Freedom House – it’s been in her family for decades. A series of financial hardships for this year, however, could force the sale of the property.
“It would be extremely difficult because it’s civil rights history, American history,” Grant said during a July interview.
Grant traveled to Mississippi with the Freedom Riders. Not all of them survived – Mickey Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman died at the hands of the Klan near Philadelphia, MS June 21, 1964.
“They gave their life for people to vote,” Grant said.
Freedom House sits empty, as Grant moved next door with her husband shortly after she returned from the trip to Mississippi.
Cole is president of the Havre de Grace Colored School Museum and Cultural Center, and a lifelong friend of Grant’s. She wants to see Freedom House restored.
“Seeing if we can just get a short-term loan to just so that it can get us over the hump,” Cole said about the efforts to save the building.
But time is running out to save this special piece of American history.