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Wallace Roberts Freedom Summer Collection

 Collection
Identifier: M349

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of several items relating to Wallace Roberts and his involvement in the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project. Most of the collection was produced during 1964 and is in the form of newspaper clippings about Freedom Summer, manuscripts of articles and letters written by Roberts, and scanned images of photographs taken by Roberts. The collection also contains a paper, two articles, and a book review written by Roberts since the summer of 1964.

This collection illustrates the hardships experienced by African Americans in the South; reveals the purposes of the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project; and vividly depicts several of Wallace Roberts' adventurous experiences during Freedom Summer.

Dates

  • 1964-2000

Biographical / Historical

Wallace Irwin Roberts was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Mr. & Mrs. William W. Roberts, but spent most of his childhood in Bronxville, New York. Roberts attended Bronxville High School where he met the daughter of the president of Trans-World Airways, Jane Tillinghast whom he married in 1959, just before his freshman year at Dartmouth College. The couple has two children, Tyler and Amy.

While attending Dartmouth Roberts wrote for the Dartmouth, the college newspaper; was a member of Alpha Theta fraternity; and completed the requirements for a BA degree in European History in just three years. Roberts graduated magna cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1962. In that same year he began teaching at Windsor Mountain School in Lenox, Massachusetts, where he taught English and European History for grades eight through twelve, coached junior varsity basketball, and served as a dormitory counselor. Roberts also served as faculty advisor to Windsor Mountain's Eagle chapter of CORE (Congress of Racial Equality). Though the Eagle chapter did little protesting or demonstrating, the organization helped acquaint students with the hardships of Negro life in America. Under Roberts' leadership, the organization held a fair to raise money for seven black students from Birmingham, Alabama to attend Windsor Mountain for the following year.

In the summer of 1964, during the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project, Roberts moved to Shaw and later to Cleveland, Mississippi -- both small towns in the Delta region of the state. During the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project, Roberts encouraged and assisted African Americans to register to vote, and taught at a Freedom School.

In the fall of 1964 Roberts began graduate studies in American History at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. After three months Roberts withdrew from his studies and began writing for the Journal of Providence, Rhode Island hoping that because of his first hand experience he could help the Civil Rights movement by writing about it accurately.

In 1991 Wallace Roberts earned a Master of Science degree in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University. Roberts has worked as a property development consultant, a carpenter, and an adjunct instructor. He has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting and helped win the Armstrong award for best special section in best radio documentary of 1971. In addition, he won the Suburban Newspaper Association award for best special section in 1984. Roberts continues his career as a journalist and is currently writing a book.

Extent

.20 Cubic Feet

Provenance

Wallace Roberts donated this collection on March 31, April 9, and April 24, 2001.

Related Materials

M400 Jackson Freedom House Civil Rights Photograph, 1964 (This photograph was taken by Wallace Roberts.)

M320 Zeman (Zoya) Freedom Summer Collection, 1890-1998

M336 Zwerling (Mathew) Freedom Summer Collection, 1936-1965 (This collection contains a photograph taken by Wallace Roberts.)

Sources

Contents of the Collection.

General notes from the collection case file.

Wallace Roberts' Résumé, 2001.

Photograph Log

M349-1

Unidentified African American Man 4 x 5 B & W 1964

Computer scan of photograph negative of African American man in poor neighborhood in Cleveland, Mississippi. Head and shoulders portrait from side. (Folder 5)



M349-2

Lucy (?) 5 x 7 B & W 1964

Computer scan of photograph negative of African American lady in Shaw, Mississippi who opened her home to female Freedom Summer volunteers. Head and shoulders portrait. The photographer indicated that Freedom Summer volunteers tended to gather at Lucy's house in the evenings to use her washing machine. (Folder 5)



M349-3

Stella Hope 5 x 7 B & W 1964

Computer scan of photograph negative of Stella Hope who opened her home to Wallace Roberts during his Freedom Summer activities. Head and shoulder portrait from side. (Folder 5)



M349-4

Unidentified African American Mother and Child

5 x 7 B & W 1964

Computer scan of photograph negative of African American mother and child from poor neighborhood in Cleveland, Mississippi. Head and shoulders portrait. The photographer indicated that the mother appeared to be thirteen or fourteen years old. (Folder 5)



M349-5

Unidentified African American Girls

7 x 9 B & W 1964

Computer scan of photograph negative of two unidentified African American girls from a poor neighborhood in Cleveland, Mississippi. Head and shoulders portrait. The photographer indicate that it is a skin condition the girls had, not the age or restoration of the photograph, that is apparent. (Folder 5)



M349-6

Unidentified African American Prisoner

3 x 6 B & W 1964

Computer scan of photograph negative of African American countyprisoner lowering state flag. Three-fourths full length portrait from side. (Folder 5)
Title
Wallace Roberts Freedom Summer Collection

Repository Details

Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository

Contact:
118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001
601.266.4345