Civil Rights Movement
Letters & Reports From Freedom Summer

Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida

Among Freedom Summer's strategic objectives were raising national awareness of southern realities, demanding Federal action, and mobilizing political support for the MFDP. Summer volunteers were urged to write frequent letters to family, friends, teachers, and ministers about the Freedom Movement and their experiences. Many volunteers arranged to have their letters published in local newspapers, school or church bulletins, or reproduced and distributed to informal networks.

Freedom Summer projects and volunteers were also supposed to send regular progress reports to movement headquarters. Some actually did so.

This was before the era of cheap photocopy machines, so letters and reports had to be retyped with carbon copies, or mimeographed from hand-typed stencils (often by parents who just days or weeks earlier had been desperately pleading with their daughters and sons not to to to Mississippi).

Daily 1964 Summary Reports from Freedom Summer compiled by the SNCC Communications Department in Atlanta.

"Julian and I in the Communications office of the SNCC office on Hunter Street were in essence the "pulling-together place" for reports so that we could reliably summarize events and share actualities with journalists. Julian would often leave at about 4 pm (for dinner with his wife and kids), saying to me, "So long, Mary. You're in charge." I would then try to pull together any and all reports that we were waiting for, arriving from many and possibly all of our offices. At a certain point we were also dispatching tape-recorded reports of incidents called in from our offices. An actual recording from a site of action is termed an "actuality" in newspeak. I remember working from a list of radio stations and calling each individually to give them an actuality by phone.

"This was an advanced form of news media liaison — in fact highly advanced for the time — but nonetheless, it required that each transmission by phone be handled individually. I can remember my fingers hurting from managing the manual holding of the tape recorder close to the phone, working generally until late at night, often alone. It had to be done. I also recall that the Black radio stations were extremely grateful for these actualities because they could turn around and broadcast them as a "Special Report from LeFlore County, Mississippi," which enhanced their ability to get the news out and their stature.

"I do recall phoning to initiate contact with our offices in late afternoon and early evening when they failed to transmit their expected reports. I was acutely aware that these might someday provide reliable circumstantial information that could be very useful in accurately portraying the pressures, events, and catastrophes affecting our offices. I sometimes had to chase reports down. This was also something that reporters traveling to local offices cherished, as they could drop data right into the reports they were typing on manual typewriters that they would phone in to their editors."

 — Mary King, SNCC.

Letters & Reports Collections from Multiple Mississippi Locations
1964Mississippi Diary, William Myers & Clark Forman, ECLC
1964Letters From Mississippi (collection)
Reports From COFO & Other Central Offices
6/2Pine Bluff AR, Hattiesburg MS, New Orleans LA, Jackson MS
6/5Hattiesburg & Natchez MS, Pine Bluff AR, Enfield NC
6/8Beating in McComb-Summit MS
6/12 Canton MS, Tuscaloosa & Selma AL
6/13Meridian (Mickey Schwerner) MS, Selma AL
6/17Jackson & Hattiesburg MS
8/17Mississippi Ministers Project — Evaluation, unsigned DM
8/21Activities report, Jackson area August 17-21. Unsigned NCC (Ministers Project?)
Letters & Reports From Oxford OH Volunteer Training
5/28Dear Vails, letter from Pat Vail (COFO) re preparations for Freedom Summer
 6/9Why I Am Going to Mississippi, Chude Allen
6/14  Note from Oxford training session (handwritten), Lucy Montgomery
6/18Letter to Tom Levin re medical support for Freedom Summer, Carol Rogoff, SNCC
6/18Letter re Orientation & Training, Mike Yarrow
6/16Letter re Freedom Summer training, William Hodes
6/22Nonviolence debate at Freedom Summer training, William Hodes
6/22 Dear Family, handwritten letter from Pat Vail (COFO) describing Freedom Summer orientation
6/26 Dear Family, note from Pat Vail (COFO) from Freedom Summer orientation
Original (handwritten)Typed
6/26Dear Parents and All, letter from Eugene Nelson re Chaney, Schwerner, Goodman
Letters & Reports From Batesville & Panola Co,
6/23Summer Volunteer Hit By Local White, unsigned COFO
6/25Confidential Report, SNCC Activities in Panola County, Claude Weaver, SNCC
6/26Sheriff Parades Police Dog at Court House, Unsigned, COFO
6/27Local, COFO Volunteer Receives High Parking Fine, Unsigned, COFO
6/28Statement re police harassment and traffic violations against R.J. Miles (PCVL), unsigned COFO
6/28Police Harassment — Traffic Violations, Unsigned, COFO
6/29White Citizen Harassment, unsigned COFO
6/29White Citizen Harassment of John Hardy & Joseph Murphy, Unsigned, COFO
6/29White Citizen Harassment of John Hardy & Joseph Murphy #2, unsigned, COFO
7/3Two Local Whites Chase, COFO Volunteers, Mike Smith, COFO(Batesville )
7/9Letter to Annell Ponder re Greenville community center, Vicki Halper, COFO
Letters & Reports From Canton & Madison Co,
See also Letters & Field Reports Canton & Meridian
1964Freedom Registration in the City of Canton, L. Foner?
1964Report re her secretarial experience for Mrs. Devine, Judy Hampton
1964Report about phones, Margaret Cunningham
JuneOutline of Committee Work, Madison County Movement
6/6Project Report Valley View, Unsigned CORE/COFO
6/29Canton Mississippi preparations for Freedom Summer, Unsigned CORE/COFO
JulyGluckstadt: General Information & report, Unsigned COFO/CORE.
JulyFreedom School Plans, Pleasant Green (Madison Co.). Bob Gilman, JoAnn Ooiman
JulyReport: Southwestern area of Madison Co., . James Ohls, Mark Lepper and Sandra Watts, COFO/CORE
7/4Valley View weekly report, unsigned COFO
7/6Communications and Transportation, memo to George Raymond (CORE) from Bara Leiber and Ruth Steward.
7/7Federal Programs Project Weekly Report, Michael Piore, COFO, Canton
7/8Canvasing report, Rev. Alexander Harper, COFO, Canton
7/11Incident Sheet - Volunteer delivering books for Freedom Library arrested in Madison Co., unsigned COFO
7/11Arrest of Harry Malm in Canton ., unsigned COFO
7/12Weekly Report, Valley View project (Madison Co) (). Unsigned COFO
7/15Freedom Schools in Rural Madison Co., Wood & Bishop
7/19Attempt to integrate white facilities, Valley View. Charlie Bromberg, COFO
7/24 Dear George, note to George Raymond (CORE) from Natalie Tompkins re request from Rankin Co.
7/26Weekly Report, Valley View project (Madison Co). Unsigned COFO
7/26Weekly Report, Pleasant Green project (Madison Co). Daniel Wood, COFO
7/16Lettter From a Freedom School Teacher, Dorothy Teal
8List of Arrests in Canton, unsigned, COFO. July 21-Aug 12
8Law Student's Report, Robert P. Watkins, COFO
8Valley View Report, unsigned, COFO
8/1Note to Theresa re Freedom Singer event in Green Bay WI (handwritten), Jean Little
8/17Follow up note re Freedom Singer event in Green Bay WI, Jean Little
8/15Letter to President Lyndon Johnson, Arlene Bock, COFO
8/19Response to Green Bay Freedom Singers requests, Joel Skornicka
8/22The Ministers' Report, Canton . Arthur Byrd, Thomas L. McCray, NCC
8/23Daily Report: Federal Programs, Eric Orr? COFO
8/24Daily Report: Federal Programs, Unsigned Eric Orr?
8/25  Madison County Freedom School Reports, Jo Ann Ooiman
8/25Daily Report: Federal Programs, Eric Orr, COFO
8/26Daily Report: Federal Programs, Eric Orr, COFO
8/27Daily Report: Federal Programs, Eric Orr, COFO
8/27Report: General Evaluation of Stay Aug 18-27, Rabbi Gerald? Engel?
8/28Daily Report: Federal Programs, Eric Orr, COFO
1964Report on Gluckstadt Freedom School threats, Arlene Bock, COFO
Letters & Reports From Clarksdale & Coahoma Co,
7/2Clarksdale -- Rev. Rayford's Trial, unsigned, SNCC
7/21Les Johnson Arrested, Clarksdale, . Yvonne Klein, COFO
7/25Report From Clarksdale No. 1, Fraser Thomason, DM
7/30Report from Clarksdale No. 3, Fraser & Loris Thomason (DM?)
7/31Report From Clarksdale No. 5, Frazen Thomason, DM
8/5Report Clarksdale No. 7. Fraser Thomson, DM
8/13 Report From Clarksdale No. 9, Frazier & Loris Thomason
8/15Report From Clarksdale No. 10, Frazier Thomason
Letters & Reports From Cleveland & Bolivar Co,
6/28Sunflower and Bolivar counties update #1, Jerry Tecklin, COFO
???A new spirit in Shaw, George Robbins, COFO
7/7Sunflower and Bolivar counties update #2, Jerry Tecklin, COFO
7/13Report—Terror in Shaw, Wally Roberts, SNCC
7/19Sunflower and Bolivar counties update #3, Jerry Tecklin, COFO
7/23 Report on work as minister-counsellor, Shaw project, George Phelps, DM
AugReport: Arrested for Leafletting, Wally Roberts
8/31Report on Shaw, Mississippi, Charles Harper, UCC
9/2Report: Observations Regarding Cleveland, Robert Hall & Robert Gregg
Letters & Reports From Columbus & Lowndes Co,
7/8Report on Trip to Columbus, Lowndes Co, Don Elliott, COFO,
7/14Civil Right arrests and trials, Columbus. Unsigned, COFO
7/30The District One Project July 17-30, W.M. Weber, DM
8A freedom worker's description of venturing into downtown Columbus, unsigned, COFO
8/4Columbus activities. Mike Higson, COFO
8/14Bi-Weekly Report, Richard Wheelock? COFO?
8/20Report of Minister Counselor of Columbus, Philip M. Kelsey
8/21Report from Columbus, August 17-21. William O. Smith, Ministers Project?
Letters & Reports From Greenville & Washington Co,
6/23Political and racial situation, unsigned COFO
6/29Suspicious cars, Unsigned, COFO
6/30Greenville research report, Unsigned, COFO
6/30Weekly Report to Jackson, Unsigned COFO
JulyDear Gang, Pat Vail, COFO
7/2Dear GangOriginal handwritten version -Retyped version, Pat Vail (COFO)
7/3Dear Gang, letter re Greenville project and freedom schools. Pat Vail COFO
7/5Incident of July 5th, Greenville. Unsigned COFO
7/6/Letter to Mr. & Mrs. J.H. Vail, parents of Pat Vail (COFO) re federal protection for Freedom Summer activists. Senator Hugh Scott (R-PA)
7/9Report on visit to Sheriff of Washington County, Greenville. Louis Grant, COFO?
7/10Dear FamilyOriginal handwritten -Retyped version, Pat Vail (COFO)
7/12Weekly report: Greenville, . Unsigned COFO
7/17Dear Miss Vail, letter to Pat Vail (COFO) re federal protection for Freedom Summer activists, Senator Joseph Clark (D-PA)
7/17Dear Pat, support letter & donation from Operation Mississippi in Pittsburgh PA
7/25Dear Pat, letter from Howard(?) Howe, Harvard Law School
AugDear FamilyOriginal handwritten -Retyped version, Pat Vail (COFO)
8/6Dear Mom and Dad, Pat Vail, COFO. Re MFDP and the Greenville project.
8/28Letter From Irene & Everett MacNair
Letters & Reports From Greenwood & Itta Bena, LeFlore Co,
6/26FBI Investigation and Arrests in Itta Bena, Unsigned
7/27Report on mob violence against SNCC workers. Betty Garman & Julian Bond
Letters & Reports From Hattiesburg & Forrest Co,
See also Hattiesburg Reports & Evaluation Forms
6/24Report from Ron Ridenour about incidents in Hattiesburg
6/29 SNCC staff worker Pete Stoner arrested and beaten, Hattiesburg, unsigned, SNCC
7/11Report to Greenwood and Atlanta; re: Hattiesburg, T. Shaw, DM
7/23 Report on work as minister-counsellor, Shaw project, George Phelps, DM
7/24Report from Hattiesburg. Beech, Cameron, COFO
7/26Report from Hattiesburg, T. Shaw, Delta Ministry?
8/3Report from Hattiesburg, Beech & Cameron, COFO
8/10Report to Greenwood and Atlanta; re: Hattiesburg, T. Shaw, DM
8/11Report from Hattiesburg, Beech & Cameron, DM/COFO
8/14Hattiesburg Project, Summer 1964, Report to Civil Rights Commission. Unsigned (presumed from ministers project)
8/15Greenwood-Atlanta report from Hattiesburg, Terry Shaw, SNCC?
8/20Note to Caroline Ballin, by unidentified seminary student, re her statement
8/20Note to William G. Lamb, by unidentified seminary student, re Lamb's letter to the editor
8/26Dear Family and Friends, letter/report from Cornelia Mack
9/1Report Ministers Project, Hattiesburg . Aug 24-Sept 1. Fannie Bennet, NCC
9/12Dear Friend, letter to funders re trip to Hattiesburg. John Crossley Jr. NCC
Letters & Reports From Holly Springs & Marshall Co,
JulyThree Letters & Reports From a Freedom School Teacher, Chude Allen
7/8Letter re the freedom project, Gitta Perl
7/8Letter re leave of absence, David W. Trimble
7/12Weekly report, Kathleen Dahl
7/13Letter re end of service, Gitta Perl
7/19Weekly report, Eugene Hunn
7/19Weekly report, Ruth Koening
7/26Weekly report, Ruth Koening
7/26Weekly report, Eugene Hunn
7/26Letter regarding research & information, Mary Jennings
8/2Weekly report, Eugene Hunn
8/2Report on visit to Welfare Office, Eugene Hunn
8/5Field report from Holly Springs. Harriet Tanzman, COFO
8/9Weekly report, Eugene Hunn
8/19Letter re Frank Caccatori (Frank Cieciorka), Karin Kunstler
10/22   Letter re news from San Francisco, Sandy
Letters & Reports From Jackson & Hinds Co,
6/30Incident Sheet - Volunteers arrested by Jackson police, Unsigned, COFO
7/2Dear Jack, letter re MFDP. Signature illegible  
7/19Report re Talk at Millsap College Ed, Johnnie, Len, Diane, Jackson,
Letters & Reports From Moss Point, Pascagoula, & Biloxi, Jackson Co,
1964Report From Moss Point-Pascagoula, undated
6/24Kirschenbaum and Ridenour arrested Unsigned, COFO
6/25 Moss Point report, June 23-25, Unsigned, COFO
6/25Daily Report, Unsigned COFO (Moss Point)
6/30Report from Moss Point, Unsigned, 6/17-30
6/25Report from Moss Point, Unsigned, 6/23-25
 Memorandum: Report From Moss Point, unsigned Undated (believed to be 6/24 1964)
6/25Report from Moss Point, Unsigned,
JulyMoss Point-Pascagoula, harassment, unsigned COFO
7/7Special Report July 6 and 7 re shooting at Moss Point mass meeting, unsigned COFO
7/7Special Report re shooting, follow up Moss Point, unsigned COFO
7/8Report from Moss Point, Unsigned,
7/11Statement: violation of Civil Rights Act in Moss Point ()
7/13Report from Moss Point, Unsigned, 7/9-13
7/13Voter registration, courthouse report, Mosspoint, Mary Ellickson, COFO
7/13Report on courthouse visit, Mosspoint, Marianne McKay, COFO
7/16Harrassment of COFO workers by Moss Point police, Howard Kirschenbaum, COFO
7/17Moss Point membership meeting. Sally Belfrage, COFO
7/20Report from Moss Point, Unsigned, 7/17-20
7/21Report from Moss Point #1, Unsigned, 7/15-21
7/21Report from Moss Point #2, Unsigned
7/21Moss Point weekly report of court proceedings and meetings, Unsigned, COFO
7/22Daily Report Form, Ed Hamlett. Biloxi,
7/24Gene Guerrero Daily Report Form, Biloxi,
7/24Ed Hamlett Daily Report Form, Gulfport,
7/26Report from Moss Point, Unsigned
AugBiloxi Report, Unsigned COFO undated (probably August '64) ()
8/6Report about bomb attack by 12-year old COFO worker Biloxi. Lodie Robinson, COFO
8/14Ocean Springs report, re violence, threats, and retaliation, Alan Verson, COFO
Letters & Reports From Meridian, Lauderdale & Clarke Counties,
See also Letters & Field Reports Canton & Meridian
July?Clark County - Stonewall community contact list, unsigned, COFO. Undated Freedom Summer
July?List of Towns and Citys in Clarke County,, unsigned COFO
July?Trainers for voter registration and federal programs & welfare, unsigned Clarke Co. COFO
7/29Report: County Meeting of the Clarke County Freedom Democratic Party, unsigned MFDP
8/11Report on the activities of an NCC counsellor, Rev. Felix Danford Lion.
Letters & Reports From Ruleville & Sunflower Co,
See also Letters & Field Reports Sunflower Co. & Ruleville
JuneArriving in , first days, & fear., Mike Yarrow
1964Christopher Hexter bogus trial notes for obstructing traffic, Unsigned, COFO
6/28Sunflower and Bolivar counties update #1, Jerry Tecklin, COFO
7/1Letter home, Wally Roberts
7/2Experiences of a Summer Volunteer #1, Mike Yarrow
7/7Sunflower and Bolivar counties update #2, Jerry Tecklin, COFO
7/11Experiences of a Summer Volunteer #2, Mike Yarrow
7/18Account of Arrest and Jail, Mike Yarrow
7/19Sunflower and Bolivar counties update #3, Jerry Tecklin, COFO
7/27Experiences of a Summer Volunteer #3, Mike Yarrow
7/31Report with suggestions concerning the Ruleville project, Allan Levine & Charles Andrews, DM
Letters & Reports From Vicksburg & Warren Co.
8/17Vicksburg Mississippi Ministers Project Evaluation, Dick Williams?
Letters & Reports From Yazoo Co.
7/9Incident Sheet - Arrest of folk singer Roger Johnson in Bentonia, unsigned COFO
Letters & Reports From Florida
6/22All-Day, CORE Conference, Dunnellon Florida, Judy Benninger, CORE
8/5Weekly Report, CORE Florida Task Force, Judy Benninger, CORE
Letters & Reports From Louisiana
6/13Dear People, letter re journey South & CORE training, Plaquimines, LA, Peggy Ewan (Meg Redden)
Misc. & Other Letters & Reports
5/31Letter From Jim Boebel, about Freedom Summer
1964Report From Amite County, Marshall Ganz, COFO
JulyMemo re Second District MFDP Convention, undated. Stokely Carmichael, SNCC
7/7Federal Programs Project Weekly Report, Michael Piore, COFO, Canton
7/7Freedom School at Asbury Church, Unsigned COFO, [Handwritten report]
7/13Letter to Amzie Moore re support for, COFO, Rep. Don Edwards
7/16Lettter From a Freedom School Teacher, Dorothy Teal. Carthage .
7/16Courthouse Situation Issaquena Co. Muriel, COFO
7/18Communication & Transportation letter, Sara Lieber & Ruth Steward, COFO/CORE
7/21Letter to Steve Blum re community center at Biloxi, Annell Ponder, SCLC
1964Report on Freedom School, Cedar Grove (Newton County), Prickett, Nelson, Tompkins, COFO
1964Report on Freedom Democratic Party work toward educational meetings, Mabel Metzer, MFDP
JulyA Report From Mississippi, Gail Falk, COFO. (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)
7/22Report on meeting with Joe _____, (handwritten), Wesley A_______
7/22Report on meeting with Ralph Wisedess?, (handwritten), Wesley A_______
7/23Report on meeting with Rev. S_____ Mason?, (handwritten)
7/24Memo to George (Raymond?), re request for speaker in Rankin Co. , Natalie Tompkins, COFO
7/24Report from Mississippi NAACP Headquarters, re Dr. King speaking tour & other topics, Lee Ball
7/25Report of Visit to Mississippi, July 19-25. A. Stauffer Curry, DM
7/31Report from Starkville, unsigned
8/8Mississippi Summer Project – Experiences and Observations, July 26-August 8. Albert Ronander
8/8Report on the Summer Project. Alvin Pam
8/20Mississippi Project Report, 14-page general report by Calvin Petersen
8/24Letter re funding community centers, Kaufman, Levine, Lodge
Letters & Reports From New York City
7/4To Mrs. Hodes re Newsletter, Kay Raphael, parents group
7/20Notes on parents meeting with James Forman, Steve Schwerner, Unsigned COFO? SNCC?
2/9Meeting of Miss. Project Parent's Committee, Unsigned

Please send us Freedom Summer letters for posting here.

You can postal-mail photocopies to us or email PDF scans to Policy for more information.

See also:
Summer Project Documents
Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) Documents
Freedom Summer Press Releases
Freedom Summer Articles by Movement Veterans
MFDP Articles by Movement Veterans

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