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Arthur Gatti Oral History

Identifier: QMP-0052

Scope and Contents

Arthur Gatti is an author and poet with a long history of involvement in activism and community organizing. In the interview, he discusses his life growing up in Queens, NY in an Italian American household and how he gained political consciousness and awareness through his experiences and the influence of his friends. One friendship he talks about at length is his relationship with Mario “Bob” Savio who later became known for his leadership role in the Free Speech Movement which originated on the Berkeley campus in California. Gatti further relates his time as a student at Queens College in the early-to-mid 1960s where he was very involved in Left political organizations and campaigns. One such project was the Queens College Mexico Volunteers where a group of Queens College students went to the towns of Taxco and Iguala in Mexico to assist in the construction of a school as well as support local infrastructural improvements. While outlining the projects, Gatti and interviewer Mark Levy (who attended Queens College at the same time as Gatti) describe the campus culture and the political atmosphere of the mid 1960s. Another project that Gatti participated in was the rebuilding of churches in Black community in Jackson, Mississippi that had been burned down in retaliation for the Freedom Summer campaign in 1964 that worked to register previously unregistered Black voters. And finally, after talking about his time in Mississippi, Gatti then describes his work as an organizer in the late 1960s as part of the Newark Community Union Project (NCUP). NCUP was a project associated with the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) which was dedicated to empowering the Black community to work for racial justice and to combat social and economic disparity in Newark, New Jersey. Gatti was in Newark in 1967 when the Newark Rebellion took place and he recounts his experiences on the ground during the insurrection as well as living in Newark in the aftermath.


  • 2020-11-19



This oral history is open for research. Media files and transcript can be viewed and/or requested through the Queens Memory Project on Aviary: For help using the site, contact

Conditions Governing Use

Interview shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). Users are free to share or adapt the material for non-commercial purposes, as long as they meet the terms of the license. See license details at


1 Digital Files ; Duration: 01:26:18

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Processing Information

Oral history conducted as part of the Queens Memory Project (, a collaborative program of the Queens Public Library and Queens College to collect stories, images, and other evidence of life in the borough of Queens.


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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