Mississippi in 1965 was a dangerous place for African American communities. A common target of hate crimes were community churches, which were often burned down by the Ku Klux Klan. Following up on the civil rights activism of Queens College students during th1 964 Mississippi Freedom summer, Professor Sidney Simon helped coordinate two student trips to Mississippi to help in church rebuilding efforts. The projects were developed by the Committee of Concern, a group of Mississippi religious leaders. The local communities did not have enough money to hire people for reconstruction, instead working on the buildings themselves on weekends and in free hours. Volunteer help was much needed and appreciated. Two trips were organized, the first for two weeks in January/February 1965, and the second during the Easter Recess. Sid Simon was the faculty advisor for the first trip, which created the photographic documentation that comprises this collection. Professor Steve Zeigfinger served as the faculty advisor for the second trip. Though there were faculty advisors, students organized and funded the trip themselves. A transport car was donated to them by the Woodcrest Commune in Rifton, NY. The first trip consisted of six students: Jon Alexander, Nick (“Gus”) Pereos, Walt Jarsky, Art Gatti, Robert Masters, and Bob Madden. They worked primarily in the Tougaloo and Jackson, Mississippi. The second trip’s members were Bob Madden again, Marc Helman, Lewis Fein, Ronny Pollack, and Bob Morrissey. This group worked on churches around Meridian, Mississippi.
The Sid Simon Collection (1965) was donated by Sid Simon in 2013. The photographs document the first of two trips of Queens College students to Mississippi to help rebuild churches that were burned down in retaliation to Civil Rights activities. The collection consists solely of photographs.
The Sid Simon Collection is comprised of three series:
Collection is open for research. Staff may restrict access at its discretion on the basis of physical condition.
The Sid Simon Collection is 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.
African Americans -- Mississippi – Social conditions
Committee of Concern (Jackson, Miss.)
Queens College (New York, N.Y.)
Item, date (if known), box, folder, Sid Simon Collection, Department of Special Collections and Archives, Queens College, City University of New York.
Donated by Sid Simon in 2013.