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Woman seated in rocking chair on front porch with gloves and purse

The collection consists of correspondence, a voter registration plan, photographs, and newsclippings from Thomas Foner's work as a volunteer with the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project in 1964. The collection documents his work with the project and contains substantial information about the conditions faced by volunteers during the summer.


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Series 1: Correspondence, 1964.

This series contains five letters sent by Foner to his family while he was working in Canton and Philadelphia during Freedom Summer. The letters discuss the work he was doing and give an overview of the conditions volunteers faced while working on the project. Much of the detail of the letters focuses on the violence, threats, and intimidation directed toward volunteers and local African Americans by police and local white communities. Foner repeatedly expresses his frustration with the lack of federal law enforcement presence for both security and voting rights enforcement. An edited version of one of the letters, written from the roof of COFO's Philadelphia headquarters on October 4, 1964, was published in the book Letters from Mississippi, a compilation of letters written by Freedom Summer volunteers.

Series 2: Program for Voter Registration in Canton, Mississippi, July 3, 1964.

This series consists of a report written by Foner on the Freedom Summer Project's work with voter registration in Canton. The report details accomplishments so far and plans for the future in regard to voter registration attempts and volunteer placement. It also discusses organizational structure and record-keeping, as well as challenges related to transportation.

Series 3: Photographs, n.d.

This series contains twenty-five black-and-white photographs from the Freedom Summer Project. Most of the photographs are of large groups of predominantly African Americans gathered in what appear to be formal meetings. Several of the photographs show speakers on a stage or at a microphone.

Series 4: Newsclippings, 1964-1965.

This series contains five newspaper clippings from national newspapers, including Newsday, the New York Herald Tribune, and The Washington Post, discussing the Freedom Summer Project and Foner's work with it. Most of the clippings contain articles that quote Foner or reference him by name. Several of the clippings contain articles about parents of volunteers working in Mississippi and their efforts to secure federal protection for their children, or to support civil rights work in other ways. Some of these articles include photographs of Liza Foner, and in one, she is interviewed about her feelings on her son's work.

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