Nancy Schieffelin

SNCC/COFO, Mississippi, 1964
Current Residence: Belmont, MA

I was in Greenville, Mississippi the summer of 1964. Greenville was a slightly more tolerant city than others largely because of the presence of Hodding Carter and the Delta Democratic Times. Initially, starting the Freedom School was delayed so I helped set up a library. Once the school was established (in a church), I spent much of the day with very young children and some elders. I did not feel that I was an effective teacher (the age range was too vast and the subject matter too undefined), but I did establish some nice connections with folks in the neighborhood.

Close to the end of the summer, the push to register voters to the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party took up most of everyone's time: talking to church congregations, going door to door, and going to the MFDP convention in Jackson. Once back in New Jersey, I met with the press and demonstrated for the MFDP on the boardwalk outside the National Democratic Party Convention in Atlantic City. Freedom Summer had a profound effect on me. A white college freshman from a wealthy New York suburb, I dropped out of college and worked in a neighborhood house in Roxbury, MA. Eventually, I received a masters degree in social work and worked again in Roxbury as a clinical social worker.

Freedom Summer left me with an abiding concern for disaffected and discriminated against poor people. I volunteer work at the Women's Lunch Place, a day time shelter for homeless and poor women, coach at SCORE Boston, an ice hockey program for boys and girls from the inner city sponsored by the NHL and Boston Police and fundraise for YouthBuild, a national organization that transforms 16-24 year old undereducated, underemployed poor youth into productive community leaders. I continue to be involved in progressive politics. Most recently, I campaigned for Barak Obama in NH during the presidential race of 2008.


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