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About this collection

Browse/Search the Freedom Summer Digital Collection Now

Any folder shown online may be downloaded in PDF format for easy printing.

About the Freedom Summer Digital Collection

The Wisconsin Historical Society has one of the richest collections of Civil Rights movement records in the nation, which includes more than 100 manuscript collections documenting the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project of 1964.

More than 25,000 pages from the Freedom Summer manuscripts -- enough to fill several file cabinets -- are available online. In them you will find official records of organizations such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and  Congress of Racial Equality (CORE); the personal papers of movement leaders and activists such as Amzie Moore, Mary King and Howard Zinn, letters and diaries of northern college students who went South to volunteer for the summer; newsletters produced in Freedom Schools; racist propaganda, newspaper clippings, pamphlets and brochures, magazine articles, telephone call logs, candid snapshots, internal memos, press releases and much more. The digital collection will continue to grow as more manuscripts are added in coming months.

We encourage students, teachers, writers, historians, and other researchers to use these materials in any 2014 programs marking the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Freedom Summer Project. Feel free to copy them for classroom activities, term papers, displays or exhibits, dramatic presentations, and other non-profit educational purposes.

How Is the Freedom Summer Digital Collection Organized?

Online items were scanned to be exact duplicates of the physical items in the collection. Digitized items are grouped into digital manuscript folders according to how the physical items are grouped and stored in boxes in the Archives.

Every physical folder is presented online intact, clearly identifying its original creator, collection name, and box location. Digital folders can be browsed on your screen just as you would handle the original records in the Society Archives Research Room.

Each digital folder has a short summary of its contents at the bottom of every page. Each has also been tagged to show subjects, communities, people and events that are documented in it. Use an Advanced Search to retrieve folders using these tags. Many folders contain papers that span several years and describe events before and after 1964.

The text on most pages is searchable. Perform an All Fields search to find specific words or phrases. Bear in mind that text searching is not 100 percent accurate, even though it often returns hundreds of results.

Rights and Permissions

Users of Freedom Summer documents are responsible for obeying the U.S. Copyright Law. We share the documents strictly for nonprofit educational purposes and believe this conforms to fair use under the copyright law.

Copyright resides with the individuals who created the documents or the organizations for which they worked. The principal organizations have been defunct for many years and copyright to their unpublished records is uncertain.

We have attempted to contact individuals who created personal papers of significant length or importance. Nearly all have generously permitted us to include their work. If you believe that you possess copyright to material we have reproduced, please contact us at

Teachers and students are free to reproduce any document for nonprofit classroom use. Individual researchers may download them for private consultation. Other reproduction, especially for commercial use, may violate the U.S. Copyright Law and requires prior permission.

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Have Questions?

Contact our Library and Archives staff by email.

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