Phyllis Padow-Sederbaum Papers

Table of Contents

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Descriptive Summary

Biographical Note

Scope and Contents Note

Arrangement

Restrictions

Controlled Access Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Series Descriptions and Container List

Series I: Student Help Project, 1962-1978 (bulk 1963-1964)

Subseries A: Jamaica, 1963-1964

Subseries B: Virginia, 1963-1978 (bulk 1963-1964)

Subseries C: Curriculum Development, 1962-1964

Subseries D: Correspondence, 1963

Series II: Photographs, 1963-2000

Series III: Queens Ciollege, 1953-1965

Subseries A: Speaker and Publication Policies 1953-1965

Subseries B: Student Publications 1961-1965

Series IV: Additional Publications 1961-1971

Phyllis Padow-Sederbaum Papers


Processed by Dana Dasch-Goldberg and Rose Yndigoyen, Spring 2010; approved by Annie Tummino, Summer 2011; edited by Alexandra Dolan-Mescal, Fall 2013. Machine readable finding aid created by Deborah Marks, Fall 2013.

Some items from this collection have been digitized and are available through the Civil Rights Movement Archives

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Queens College (New York, N.Y.) Department of Special Collections and Archives
Creator: Padow-Sederbaum, Phyllis
Title: Phyllis Padow-Sederbaum Papers
Dates: 1961-2000
Extent: 1.5 Linear feet
Abstract Phyllis Padow-Sederbaum graduated with honors from Queens College in 1965 with a major in sociology. At Queens College, she worked with the Student Help Project to provide free tutoring services to under-served schoolchildren in South Jamaica, Queens and Prince Edward County, Virginia. During the summer of 1963, Padow-Sederbaum was one of sixteen Queens College students who lived with black families in Farmville, Virginia and tutored African American children who had been denied formal public education since 1959. The collection includes manuscripts, printed materials and photographs, and feature personal accounts of Padow-Sederbaum's activities as a tutor, civil rights activist, and student. The collection documents the Student Help Project in Prince Edward County, Virginia, and, to a lesser extent, in Jamaica, Queens.
Identification: CR.2011.003
Languages: English

Biographical Note

Phyllis Padow-Sederbaum (then Phyllis Padow) grew up in Merrick, Long Island and attended Queens College, graduating in 1965 with honors in sociology. At Queens College, she worked with the Student Help Project to provide free tutoring services to under-served schoolchildren in South Jamaica, Queens and in Prince Edward County, Virginia. The Student Help Project was organized by Queens College students who worked in close collaboration with education professors Dr. Rachel Weddington and Dr. Sidney Simon. During the summer of 1963, Padow-Sederbaum was one of sixteen Queens College students who lived with black families in Farmville, Virginia in Prince Edward County, providing instruction to all children denied access to public education.

Later, Padow-Sederbaum went on to earn a Masters in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and worked for many years as a researcher. For the past twenty-five years, Padow-Sederbaum has been a community volunteer. Along with other Student Help Project alumni, she recently became a supporter of the Robert Russa Moton Museum. The Museum is dedicated to the study of civil rights in education with a specific focus on the role played by the citizens of Prince Edward County in the struggle for integrated schools.

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Historical Note

In 1951, Barbara Johns, a black high school student in Prince Edward County, Virginia, led her classmates in a strike for a better school. With the help of the NAACP, Johns and her classmates then filed a desegregation lawsuit that became one of four cases that made up the historic Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education. Although Brown v. Board declared racially segregated public schools unconstitutional in 1954, many schools failed to integrate. Harry F. Byrd, U.S. Senator of Virginia, called for a strategy of “Massive Resistance” and in 1958, the Virginia General Assembly passed a series of laws to help facilitate this goal. In 1959 when Prince Edward County was ordered by a judge to desegregate, the white citizens of the County responded by closing their entire public school system rather than comply. Private, segregated schools were opened for white students only. Religious and community institutions, relatives, and nearby counties provided limited educational opportunities for black children, but the public schools did not open again until 1964.

In the wake of the school closing, the NAACP organized youth to protest not only the school lock-out, but also segregated movie theaters, stores and churches. The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) sent field organizers to Prince Edward County to conduct trainings in direct action. It is within this context that the Queens College students arrived in the summer of 1963 to teach and live with black families for six weeks. At the request of community leaders, the Queens College volunteers focused on teaching and did not directly participate in demonstrations.

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Scope and Contents Note

The Phyllis Padow-Sederbaum Papers feature personal accounts of her role as tutor, activist and student. Collection materials include administrative documents, correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and publications. The bulk of the materials concern Padow-Sederbaum's work with the Student Help Project in Prince Edward County, Virginia, during the summer of 1963. To a lesser extent, the collection documents Student Help Project activities in Jamaica, Queens, and Queens College campus activism. Materials dated after 1965 document reunions with fellow civil rights activists.

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Arrangement

Series I: Student Help Project
Subseries A: Jamaica (Queens, New York)
Subseries B: Virginia (Prince Edward County)
Subseries C: Curriculum Development
Subseries D: Correspondence
Series II: Photographs
Series III: Queens College
Subseries A: Speaker and Publication Policies
Subseries B: Student Publications
Series IV: Additional Publications

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Restrictions

Access

Collection is open for research. Staff may restrict access at its discretion on the basis of physical condition. Researchers may not cite or use correspondence or photographs without written permission from Phyllis Padow-Sederbaum.

Copyright

The Phyllis Padow-Sederbaum Papers are physically owned by the Queens College Libraries. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assignees. The collection is subject to all copyright laws. Queens College assumes no responsibility for the infringement of copyrights held by the original authors, creators, or producers of materials.

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Controlled Access Terms

Civil rights movements -- Virginia -- Prince Edward County
Padow-Sederbaum, Phyllis
Prince Edward County (V.A.) -- History
Segregation in education -- Virginia -- Prince Edward County

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Related Material

Rosalind (Silverman) Andrews Collection, Queens College

Debby Yaffe Collection, Queens College

Stan Shaw Collection, Queens College

Michael Wenger Collection, Queens College

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

item, date (if known), box, folder, Phyllis Padow-Sederbaum Papers, Department of Special Collections and Archives, Queens College, City University of New York

Source

Donated by Phyllis Padow-Sederbaum, March 2010.

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Series Descriptions and Container List

Series I: Student Help Project, 1962-1978 (bulk 1963-1964)
This series is divided into four subseries: Jamaica (Queens, New York), Virginia (Prince Edward County), Curriculum Development, and Correspondence that document the administration of the Student Help Project’s tutoring initiatives in Jamaica and Virginia, and also relate to Padow-Sederbaum’s personal experiences and observations.
Subseries A: Jamaica, 1963-1964
Correspondence ( 1964 ) Box-folder 1-1
Evaluation Forms ( circa 1963 ) Box-folder 1-2
Memorandums ( circa 1963-1964 ) Box-folder 1-3
Minutes ( 1963-1964 ) Box-folder 1-4
Personnel and Mailing Lists ( circa 1963 ) Box-folder 1-5
Reports ( 1963 ) Box-folder 1-6
Subseries B: Virginia, 1963-1978 (bulk 1963-1964)
Attendance Sheets ( 1963 ) Box-folder 1-7
Carnegie Hall Benefit Notes ( June 1963 ) Box-folder 1-8
Farmville Brochure (with Marginalia) ( 1963 ) Box-folder 1-9
Grievances and Discipline ( 1963 ) Box-folder 1-10
Group Good and Welfare ( 1963 ) Box-folder 1-11
Manuscript: Article for The Phoenix ( circa 1963 ) Box-folder 1-12
Minutes ( May 1963 ) Box-folder 1-13
NAACP Materials ( 1963 ) Box-folder 1-14
Newspaper Coverage ( 1963-1964 ) Box-folder 1-15
Notes from Final Meeting ( 1963 ) Box-folder 1-16
Personnel and Mailing Lists ( 1963-1978 ) Box-folder 1-17
Preparatory Work Conference Materials ( June 1963 ) Box-folder 1-18
Prince Edward Free Schools Materials ( 1963-1964 ) Box-folder 1-19
Procedures for Picnic ( 1963 ) Box-folder 1-20
Reports ( June 1963 ) Box-folder 1-21
Visitations by Queens College Students ( January 1964 ) Box-folder 1-22
Subseries C: Curriculum Development, 1962-1964
Books About the Negro ( circa 1963 ) Box-folder 1-23
Building Values into the Usual Arthimetic ( circa 1963 ) Box-folder 1-24
Education Division Library Materials ( circa 1963 ) Box-folder 1-25
Educational Report ( 1962 ) Box-folder 1-26
Elementary Reading Seminar ( 1964 ) Box-folder 1-27
New York Public Library Materials ( 1962, undated ) Box-folder 1-28
Peace Crane Pins ( circa 1963 ) Box-folder 1-29
Subseries D: Correspondence, 1963
Letters from Padow-Sederbaum (Originals) ( July-August 1963 ) Box-folder 1-30
Letters from Padow-Sederbaum (Annotated Transcriptions) ( July-August 2013 ) Box-folder 1-31
Letter to Padow-Sederbaum ( July 1963 ) Box-folder 1-32
Letters to Other Project Members ( April-July 1963 ) Box-folder 1-33
Letters to Parents of Volunteers ( 1963 ) Box-folder 1-34
Series II: Photographs, 1963-2000
This series is arranged chronologically. Many of the black and white photographs were taken by Padow-Sederbaum and depict her experiences living and tutoring in Prince Edward County during the summer of 1963. Students, teachers and community leaders engaging in various activities are shown. Many are taken at what was then known as Prince Edward State Park for Negroes, established as a "separate but equal" facility in 1950. There are photographs of the Junior NAACP protesting segregated facilities. At the request of local civil rights leaders, Queens College students observed but did not participate in the demonstrations.
Photographs also document Padow-Sederbaum’s work with the Jamaica Student Help Project in Queens, including a faculty-student football game fundraiser in September 1963 and of Padow-Sederbaum’s students at Springfield Gardens Methodist Church in May 1964. During intercession in January 1964, Padow-Sederbaum made a return trip to Farmville with fellow volunteers Mike Wenger and Stan Shaw; she took pictures of Shaw and Wenger in Washington D.C. during this trip.
Later color photographs, from 1978 and 2000, document reunions of Student Help Project members. Both were held at the residence of Rachel Weddington, the African-American education professor who served as trip mentor.
Prince Edward County, VA ( July-August 1963 ) Box-folder 1-35
Prince Edward (VA) State Park for Negroes ( July-August 1963 ) Box-folder 1-36
Junior NAACP Sit-Ins, Farmville, VA ( July-August 1963 ) Box-folder 2-1
Party at Stan Shaw's House ( September 1963 ) Box-folder 2-2
Fundraiser for Jamaica Student Help Project ( circa September 1963 ) Box-folder 2-3
Stan Shaw and Mike Wenger in Washington, D.C., Trip to VA ( January 1964 ) Box-folder 2-4
Tutoring at Springfield Methodist Church, Queens ( May 1964 ) Box-folder 2-5
Student Help Project Reunion ( 1978 ) Box-folder 2-6
Student Help Project Reunion ( 2000 ) Box-folder 2-7
Series III: Queens Ciollege, 1953-1965
This series is divided into two subseries: Speaker and Publication Policies and Student Publications. Together, these materials provide a larger context for campus life and issues during the early to mid-1960s.
Subseries A: Speaker and Publication Policies ( 1953-1965 )
Newpaper Clippings ( 1963 ) Box-folder 2-8
Speaker Policy Proposals ( circa 1963 ) Box 2-9
Statements on Academic Freedom ( 1953-1963 ) Box-folder 2-10
Subseries B: Student Publications ( 1961-1965 )
Man and Power ( 1965 ) Box-folder 2-11
Spectrum ( 1961-1962 ) Box-folder 2-12
Series IV: Additional Publications ( 1961-1971 )
This series consists of journals, pamphlets and newsletters collected by Phyllis Padow-Sederbaum. The materials provide additional context for the social and political debates Padow-Sederbaum and her contemporaries were engaged in as activists. Publications are arranged alphabetically by title.
Catalyst ( 1966-1967 ) Box-folder 2-13
Catalyst ( 1969 ) Box-folder 2-14
CORE-Lator (Congress of Racial Equality Newsletter) ( July 1963 ) Box-folder 2-15
New Left Review ( 1971 ) Box-folder 2-16
New University Thought ( 1961 ) Box-folder 2-17
New University Thought ( 1962 ) Box-folder 3-1
New University Thought ( 1963-1964 ) Box-folder 3-2
New University Thought ( 1965 ) Box-folder 3-3
Revolution in Mississippi (SDS Report) ( circa 1961 ) Box-folder 3-4