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Today: Picture Book Featuring Mississippi’s Head Start Programs (1965)

In 1964, the Economic Opportunity Act funded the creation of Head Start, a preschool program designed to reach poor children.  The Child Development Group of Mississippi (CDGM), created in 1965, brought the program to Mississippi after coming off the success of the Freedom Summer program in 1964.  With the achievement of Freedom Summer still in the air, parents became extremely involved in not only sending their children to the Head Start programs, but volunteering as teacher’s aids, support staff, and even janitors to provide this educational opportunity to their children.  Head Start in Mississippi became a grassroots effort.

The Newell Child Development Center (Holly Springs, MS) and Pilgrim’s Rest Child Development Center (Durant, MS) worked together to create Today, a picture book about children’s daily activities in the Head Start program.  The book, which was written by the young attendees, caused debate among the teachers and parents about editing the text to be grammatically accurate or allowing the children the freedom to express themselves naturally.  As seen in the book, it is obvious that the teachers left the text unedited. 

View this item in its entirety , or you may view the original book on the 3rd floor of McCain Library (Room 305).  Today can be found in the Mississippiana Collection at Miss LC2771 .T63 1965. For more information on this book, contact Jennifer Brannock at Jennifer.Brannock@usm.edu or 601.266.4347.

Text by Jennifer Brannock, Curator of Rare Books and Mississippiana