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Collection Title: Spears (Lawrence D.) Civil Rights Collection

Accession Number: AM 99-74

Inclusive Dates: 1964-1999

Volume: .20 cu.ft.

Given By: Donated by Mr. Lawrence D. Spears.

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Form of Material:

During Freedom Summer 1964, Lawrence Spears was a Stanford University student from Palo Alto, California doing voter registration work among the African American community in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. On July 10, while walking along the railroad tracks in southeast Hattiesburg with two other volunteers, Rabbi Arthur J. Lelyveld of Cincinnati, Ohio and David Owen, an Oberlin College student from Pasadena, California, and two young African American women from Hattiesburg, one of whom was Janet Crosby, the men in the group were assaulted with iron pipes by two white men from Collins, Mississippi. Rabbi Lelyveld had to be hospitalized.

The collection consists of copies of F.B.I. files about the incident obtained by Spears under the Freedom of Information Act. Also included is a "Reserved" sign from a parking lot on the University of Southern Mississippi campus reserved for visitors to USM's Freedom Summer symposium held June 7, 1999. Spears, Owen, and other former Freedom Summer volunteers returned to Hattiesburg to join with the local African American activists and Freedom School students with whom they had worked in 1964. Spears and Owen roomed together that week-end as they had during Freedom Summer.

Photographs of Rabbi Lelyveld, Spears, and Owen taken shortly after the beating by Herbert Randall are in the Herbert Randall Freedom Summer Photograph Collection.

Digitized items from the collection:

FBI teletype, Director to New Orleans; July 10, 1964
FBI teletype, New Orleans to Director; July 12, 1964
FBI teletype, Director to New Orleans; July 13, 1964
Memo, A. [Alex?] Rosen to Mr. [Alan H.?] Belmont; July 13, 1964
Memo, A. [Alex?] Rosen to Mr. [Alan H.?] Belmont; July 17, 1964
Memo, A. [Alex?] Rosen to Mr. [Alan H.?] Belmont; July 21, 1964
FBI teletype, New Orleans to Director; July 11, 1964
FBI teletype, New Orleans to Director; July 24, 1964
Report of SA [Special Agent]; July 23, 1964
Untitled FBI report [n.d.]
Statement by Lawrence D. Spears to the FBI; July 16, 1964
Memo, A. [Alex?] Rosen to Mr. [Alan H.?] Belmont; July 31, 1964
Memo, A. L. Hopkins to Erle Johnston, Jr.; January 26, 1965


Created by: Yvonne Arnold
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Revised: August 28, 2003