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Gracie Hawthorne Civil Rights Collection

Identifier: M629

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of photocopies of Ms. Gracie Hawthorne’s Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission file from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. These reports include Ms. Hawthorne’s civil rights activities, a telephone list, a list of members of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), a member list and newsletter from the Young Democratic Clubs of Mississippi and a copy of “Mississippi Newsletter dated July 14, 1967. The collection also contains copies of MDAH documents informing the individuals whose names appear in the Sovereignty Commission files that they have the right to have their names removed from those files.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1965-1967, 1997


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

Ms. Gracie Hawthorne was only seventeen when she began voter registration work during Freedom Summer in 1964. Ms. Hawthorne became involved with the Civil Rights Movement because she felt it was unfair to pay the same bus fare as whites only to be forced to sit in the back of the bus. Ms. Hawthorne who was a native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi and grew up in Newsman’s Quarter participated voter registration work in Canton, Jackson and Hattiesburg. While working in Canton, Ms. Hawthorne was arrested and almost lynched for her activism efforts. Ms. Hawthorne’s photo is on the cover of the book Faces of Freedom Summer that contains the photographs of Herbert Randall during the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer.

The 1964 Freedom Summer Project (also called the Mississippi Summer Project) focused on establishing freedom schools, voter registration and building the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) and was directed by civil rights activist Bob Moses. Volunteers from all over the country traveled to Mississippi to help achieve these goals and many of the volunteers were comprised of college age students, professionals, and clergy. The primary organization body responsible for organization efforts in Mississippi was the Council of Federated Organization (COFO) and it was mostly staffed by workers from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). This collection would be of interest to a researcher interested in the Civil Rights Movement and the movement in Mississippi.


1 Folder

Language of Materials



Copy of Ms. Hawthorne's State Sovereignty Commission file, documenting her work as a Civil Rights activist when she was a teenager in Mississippi.


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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Ms. Gracie Hawthorne in 2001.

Related Materials

Related materials found at the University of Southern Mississippi:

- M351 The Herbert Randall Freedom Summer Photographs

- M399 “Reflections of Mississippi Freedom Summer”

- M537 Richard Beymer Freedom Summer Collection

- M608 Paul Terrell Freedom Summer Collection

- AM2001-93 Bobs M. Tusa Freedom Summer Research Collection


• Case File

• Contents from the collection

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

Gracie Hawthorne Civil Rights Collection
Collection processed and finding aid written by Amanda Abulawi
23 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