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Mark Levy Papers

Identifier: SCA-0046

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains correspondence, clippings, photographs, printed materials and miscellanea documenting the Mississippi Summer Project, the Meridian Freedom School, and Queens College student activism in the 1960s.


  • 1959-2008



Collection is open for research. Staff may restrict access at its discretion on the basis of physical condition.


The Mark Levy 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

Biographical Note

Mark Levy was born on May 30, 1939 in New York City to Harold and Leona Levy. He studied at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio from 1957 to 1959 and then transferred to Queens College, where he received a B.A. in Sociology in 1964 and an M.S. in Social Studies Education in 1973. While at Queens College, he served as Student Association President from 1962 to 1963.

In 1964, he and his wife, Betty Bollinger Levy, also a graduate of Queens College (B.S. Psychology in 1963), volunteered for the Mississippi Summer Project. The Mississippi Freedom Summer Project was organized by the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), a coalition of civil rights organizations comprised of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Mark and Betty served as co-coordinators and teachers at the Meridian Freedom School in Lauderdale County, a district overseen by CORE.

After that summer, Levy returned to New York City to teach social studies at a junior high school in Harlem, where he continued to work until 1968. In the summer of 1965, he traveled back to Mississippi to participate in a school desegregation project in Jackson. From 1968 to 1973, he was on the faculty at Queens College in the SEEK (Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge) Program, a state-funded program facilitating the enrollment of economically disadvantaged students. He also taught high school students in the Upward Bound Program and led seminars and supervised field internships in the Action Program.

In 1973, he embarked on a second career as a union organizer and representative at United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE). He then went on to work for Local 1199/NY (United Drug, Hospital and Healthcare Workers Union), and the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR/SEIU) from which he retired as Executive Director in 2008.


21 Linear Feet (31 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Mark Levy Collection documents the volunteer experiences of Mark Levy and his wife, Betty Bollinger Levy, in the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project. Most items date from June to August 1964, including correspondence, photographs, curriculum, lesson plans, student essays and newsletters, printed materials, clippings, and ephemera. There are binders of preparatory training materials and memorandums for accepted applicants.

Photographs document orientation at Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio, the Freedom School Convention, the Meridian Freedom School, and demonstrations at the 1964 Democratic National Convention in support of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.

The collection also documents Freedom Summer anniversaries and reunions; commemorations to James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner; and student activism in Queens College in the 1960s. The collection provides written, printed, and photographic evidence of the Freedom Summer Project and the struggle to achieve racial equality in Mississippi in the 1960s.


Materials are arranged in ten series, a few of which have subseries.

Series I: Correspondence

Series II: Mississippi Freedom Summer Project

Series III: James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner

Series IV: Additional Civil Rights Organizations and Events

Series V: Queens College

Series VI: Printed Materials

Series VII: Photographs

Series VIII: Artifacts

Series IX: Audiovisual Materials

Series X: Duplicates and Restricted Materials


Donated by Mark Levy in 2009.

Related Collections

A Mark Levy Oral History was recorded in 2013 by the Harlem Education History Project at Columbia University.

The following Queens College collections include more records from the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project:

Barbara (Jones) Omolade Papers

George Albertz Papers

Robert Masters Papers

Susan Nichols Papers

Johnnie Mae Walker Letter to Anne Koeppicus



Mark Levy Collection
Kelli Piotrowski, Matthew Michaels, Heather Ball, Kevin Schlottmann, Emily Lazio
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Queens College (New York, N.Y.) Special Collections and Archives Repository

Queens College Library, CUNY
Benjamin Rosenthal Library RO317
65-30 Kissena Boulevard
Flushing 11367 USA us