The University of Southern Mississippi -- McCain Library and Archives
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Collection Number: M 381
Dates: ca. 1962-1966
Volume: .10 cu.ft.
Provenance: Most of the materials in this collection were created by Dr. Joseph A. Schwartz. Exceptions are a letter written by Leon Schwartz, and an article co-authored by Dr. Joseph Schwartz, Gerald A. Smith, Donald H. Miller, George R. Kalbfleisch, Robert W. Huff, Orin I. Dahl, and Gideon Alexander.
Dr. Joseph Adam Schwartz was a Civil Rights volunteer in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, from September 1964 to March 1965.
Dr. Schwartz was born to Leon Schwartz and Beatrice “Bea” Krevens Schwartz in New York City on January 3, 1938. He moved with his parents and younger brother Michael, to Los Angeles, California in 1946. After graduating from high school in 1955, Dr. Schwartz received both his undergraduate degrees in physics and sociology (1959), and his Ph.D. in elementary particle physics (1964) from the University of California (UC), Berkeley. During his time at UC Berkeley, he was involved with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), an organization strongly connected to the Civil Rights movement in the south.
His involvement with
SNCC at Berkeley contributed to a decision to volunteer in Mississippi.
He came to the South, leaving for a time a position as Head of the Physics
Department at Staten Island Community College of the City of New York.
After arriving in Batesville, Mississippi for orientation in September
1964, he traveled to Hattiesburg to begin work as a volunteer. Dr. Schwartz
helped with voter registration, community centers, and the Freedom library.
He also worked with the White Folks Project (WFP) to facilitate discussions
about racism among Hattiesburg’s poor white communities.
Contents of the Collection.
The collection is contained in three folders. Folder One holds eleven handwritten letters, mostly exchanges between Dr. Joseph A. Schwartz and members of his immediate family. One letter is to Bea and Isaac from Leon Schwartz. Folder Two holds photocopies of each of the original documents in the collection. In most of the letters, Schwartz discusses his feelings about the Civil Rights Movement and the lack of visible support from the national government regarding protection for civil rights volunteers. He mentions such organizations as the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP). He also makes mention of national SNCC chairman, Chuck McDew, and civil rights volunteer Michael Schwerner who was murdered in Neshoba County, Mississippi in 1964. Other topics of discussion are family matters and travel.
Folder Three holds a printed article co-authored by Dr. Schwartz and a typewritten description of a dream. The article is from Volume (10), Number (4) of a newsletter titled Physical Review Letters. Dated February 15, 1963, it is co-authored by Dr. Schwartz and titled, “Evidence for K* Spin Alignment and Possible Exchange Mechanism in the Reaction ?¯p????*†.” The dream that is described is set in Africa, and was apparently dreamt by Dr. Schwartz.
This collection should
be of interest to students and researchers of the civil rights era circa
1960-1965; especially those interested in researching the experiences
of volunteers with academic backgrounds in sociology, psychology or the
physical sciences. The collection would also be valuable to researchers
interested in the letters exchanged between civil rights workers and their
families during the 1960s.