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Private collection of Marvin Rich.

Louisiana -- Summer 1964

A CORE pamphlet designed like pages in a photo scrapbook, with snapshots and corners holding them. Its full title is Louisiana -- Summer 1964: the students report to their home towns. It was compiled by Jim Peck and presents reports from Freedom Summer volunteers from all over the country, written for or told to their hometown newspapers in St. Petersburg, Florida, Mishawaka, Indiana, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and Clinton, Iowa and San Francisco, California.

The students describe the friendship, the tedium and the violence of that summer -- working on voter registration and reporting with vivid clarity why federal protection was needed for southern voters of color. (The Voting Rights Act would be enacted the following summer.) Registering voters was a long process. One student reports:

In Louisiana, a Negro applicant may be failed for not dotting an "i" or for circling something which should have been underlined or for many other minor errors not related to his ability to vote.

Marvin Rich's tales of working behind the scenes on voter registration campaigns throughout the south, and of helping to produce these remarkable pamphlets, enthralled the students and parents of P.S. 199 last month -- they bombarded him with questions and were reluctant to end the session.