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Woods Guest House / Hattiesburg COFO Headquarters Collection

Identifier: M630

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of one brick taken from the ruins of the Woods Guest House at 507 Mobile Street. The collection also contains one newspaper clipping from the Hattiesburg American detailing the fire and history of the building.


  • Creation: 1890s
  • Creation: 1998

Conditions Governing Access

Noncirculating; available for research.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical / Historical

The Woods Guest House was built between 1895 and 1900 and it was located within the historic Mobile Street District in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and it has also been called the Freedom House of Hattiesburg. This was one of Hattiesburg’s first hotels open to African Americans during segregation. The hotel housed several musicians like Gladys Knight, Bobby Blue Bland, and B.B. King. It also had an important role in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s by housing civil rights workers who helped register African Americans to vote and establish freedom schools, and this includes civil rights activists such as Bob Moses and Fannie Lou Hamer. Many of the workers were a part of the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), and during Freedom Summer COFO was responsible for organizing volunteers that came from all over the country including those from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). During Freedom Summer, establishing freedom schools was an important goal and the city of Hattiesburg contained more freedom schools than in other parts of the state, and the Woods Guest House was home to a freedom school and library. The Woods Guest House also acted as a headquarters for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP). This collection would be of interest to someone interested in the Civil Rights Movement and important historical sites in the city of Hattiesburg. In 1998, the Woods Guest House was destroyed in a fire, and the brick in this collection is all that is left of the establishment.


2 Items

Language of Materials



Brick salvaged from burned ruins of historic African American hotel and Civil Rights headquarters during Freedom Summer, with newspaper clipping about the building.


The contents of the collection are arranged in the order in which they were received.


Donated by Kay Wall and Dr. Bobs Tusa on September 18, 1998.

Related Materials

M257 Jinny Glass Mississippi Freedom Summer Diary

M320 Zoya Zeman Freedom Summer Collection

M351 Herbert Randall (Herbert) Freedom Summer Photographs

M537 Richard Beymer Freedom Summer Collection


• Case File

• Contents from the collection

For addition source, see: External Documents link at bottom of page.

Woods Guest House / Hattiesburg COFO Headquarters Collection
Collection processed and finding aid written by Amanda Abulawi
24 June 2020
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001