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Sandra E. Adickes Papers

Identifier: M322

Scope and Contents

The bulk of this collection consists of materials that document Sandra Adickes' activities during her service as a freedom school teacher in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in the summer of 1964.


  • 1964 - 1998


Conditions Governing Access

Noncirulating; available for research

Biographical / Historical

Sandra E. Adickes was born on July 14, 1933, in New York City to August and Edythe Oberschlake Adickes. She has a sister, Joanne Adickes Walker, and three adopted daughters, Delores, Lily, and Cynthia. She received a Bachelor's degree in English from Douglass College in 1954, a Master's in English Education from Hunter College in 1964, and a Ph.D. from New York University in 1977. She has taught English in New York public high schools, branches of the City University of New York, and at Winona State University in Minnesota. Adickes served as an editor for By a Woman Writt, published in 1973. In addition to numerous articles, she has also authored several books: The Social Quest (1991), Legends of Good Women (1992), and To Be Young Was Very Heaven (1997).

In 1963, Adickes spent part of her summer teaching in the black community of Prince Edward County, Virginia, where public schools had been closed in response to the Supreme Court's 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision to outlaw segregation. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, inspired by the Virginia project, organized a similar project for Mississippi for the next summer. Adickes was recruited by SNCC, and on July 4, 1964, after attending an orientation and training session at LeMoyne College in Memphis, she came to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where she served as a freedom school teacher at Priest Creek Baptist Church in Palmer's Crossing.

At the end of the summer, Adickes accompanied six of her students to the Hattiesburg Public Library, where the children were denied library cards. As a result of their persistence, the police were called and the library was closed. The group then made its way to the lunch counter at the Kress store. In compliance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the waitress allowed the students to place orders. However, she refused to serve Adickes. The group decided to leave, and when they walked outside, Adickes was arrested for vagrancy, even though she was carrying $70 in cash. Attorney Eleanor Jackson Piel took on the case, which was removed to federal court and dismissed. In turn, Adickes sued Kress for denying her civil rights. The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but was settled out of court in 1970. Adickes donated the money she received from the settlement to the Southern Conference Educational Fund. Among those who received financial assistance from Adickes' contribution were Jimmella Stokes, one of Adickes' most promising freedom school students, and the children of slain civil rights activist Vernon Dahmer.


.25 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



Materials relating to her life-time of civil rights and human rights activities.


Folder 1 contains Adickes' Freedom Summer Journal (July - August 1964).

Folder 2 contains items from Palmer's Crossing, including a copy of the first issue of Freedom News, the joint newspaper of Priest Creek and St. John's freedom schools, and a map of Palmer's Crossing denoting streets with freedom names (Summer 1964)

Folder 3 contains six photographs taken during the summer (Summer 1964)

Folder 4 contains post-summer correspondence, including letters from Jimmella Stokes, one of Adickes' freedom school students; Addie Mae Jackson, Adickes' Freedom Summer hostess; and Mary Stepps, Addie Mae Jackson's granddaughter; Carolyn Moncure, another Freedom School student; Ellie Dahmer; and Ella Baker. Also included are two signed pieces of hate mail directed toward Adickes (November 1964 - May 1990)

Folder 5 contains news clippings about Adickes' summer in Mississippi (ca. 1970 - 1994)

Folder 6 contains a reunion booklet from the Freedom Summer 25th Anniversary held at Queens College in New York (June 1989)

Folder 7 contains a number of articles/papers written by Adickes, including four about Hattiesburg freedom schools, one about the anti-Vietnam War movement, and one about the evolution of a radical teacher (1967 - 1998)

Folder 8 contains copies of two of Adickes' books: Legends of Good Women (1992) and To Be Young Was Very Heaven (1997)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials in this collection were donated by Sandra Adickes between January 1998 and November 1999.

Existence and Location of Copies

For Digitized Materials from this collection, see: External Documents link at bottom of page.

Photograph Log

1. Addie Mae Jackson 3.5 x 3.5 B/W Summer 1964 Mrs. Jackson, Adickes' Freedom Summer hostess, leans against a car in front of a house. (Folder 3)

2. Sandra Adickes With a Group of Freedom School Students 5 x 7 B/W Summer 1964 Adickes and 13 children pose for a photograph in the bed of an old Chevrolet pick-up truck. (Folder 3)

3. Freedom School Students 3.5 x 3.5 B/W Summer 1964 A group of students standing around a table. (Folder 3)

4. Freedom Summer Volunteers and Community Members 3.5 x 3.5 B/W Summer 1964 A group of volunteers and community members sitting in a circle under a tree. (Folder 3)

5. Freedom Summer Volunteers and Children 5 x 7 B/W Summer 1964 A summer volunteer plays guitar for a group of volunteers and local children. (Folder 3)

6. Jimmella Stokes, Rita May, and an Unidentified Woman 3.5 x 3.5 B/W Summer 1964 Stokes, May, and the unidentified woman stand on the lawn in front of a house. (Folder 3)

7. Bob Stone and Others 8 x 10 B/W 1964 Freedom Summer volunteer, Bob Stone, with two adult learners from Priest Creek Freedom School. (Folder 3)
Sandra E. Adickes Papers
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001