Council of Federated Organizations (COFO)


The Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) was made up of SNCC, CORE, SCLC, and number of smaller local groups. This organization was originally founded in May 1961, but revamped in February 1962 to coordinate voter registration drives among disfranchised blacks. Its largest contribution to the Freedom Summer Project was "the organizing of blacks into a potent political force." Directed by Bob Moses, COFO launched a "freedom vote" in 1963 to prove to the federal government and others that blacks wanted to vote and would if given the opportunity. In mock elections throughout the state, some 80,000 blacks symbolically voted for Aaron Henry, a local activist running for governor, and Ed King, a white chaplain from Tougaloo College who acted as his running mate. The success of this freedom vote helped set the stage for the momentous changes that were to take place the following year. In 1964, COFO coordinated the efforts of all the civil rights groups that launched summer-long protests in Mississippi.