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David Owen Freedom Summer Collection

Identifier: M350

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of information concerning David Owen's involvement in the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project in 1964. Forms of material present include personal correspondence, newspaper clippings, and information concerning various civil rights organizations. Also included are a photograph of David Owen and several issues of The Southern Patriot. Of particular interest is a newspaper clipping detailing a physical attack against David Owen, Lawrence Spears, and Rabbi Arthur Lelyveld, which occurred during the group's Freedom Summer activities in Hattiesburg.


  • circa 1964-1989

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

David George Owen, from Pasadena, California, was a student of Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio. While attending Oberlin, Owen became interested in the Civil Rights movement, and, though he considered working other places for pay, he applied to work with the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project of 1964.

During that summer, Owen, age nineteen, worked in Hattiesburg, Mississippi canvassing local black neighborhoods to encourage voter registration. In July of that summer two local men attacked David Owen, who was with two other workers, beating the three volunteers with iron bars. The other volunteers who were beaten were Rabbi Arthur Lelyveld and Lawrence Spears. In August 1964, Owen asked to be transferred to work in Laurel, Mississippi where he worked for the remainder of the summer.

After the Freedom Summer project officially ended, David Owen took a short trip to New Orleans, Louisiana and then returned to work for civil rights in Mississippi. He was first assigned to work in Clarksdale, but later returned to Hattiesburg. He remained in Hattiesburg until early January 1965 when he returned to Oberlin College.


.75 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



David Owen donated this collection on November 13, 2001.

Related Materials

Faces of Freedom Summer (Photographs by Herbert Randall) E185.93 .M6 R36 2001

M483 Lelyveld (Rabbi Arthur J.) Collection, 1964 (This collection contains newspaper articles about a physical attack on David Owen.)

M351 Randall (Herbert) Freedom Summer Photographs, 1964-2001 (Photograph numbers 176, 182, 186, and 187 include David Owen.)

M482 Spears (Lawrence D.) Civil Rights Collection, 1964-1999


Contents of the Collection.

General notes from the collection case file.

David Owen Freedom Summer Collection
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001