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Jean L. Konzal Papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: SCA-0042

Scope and Content Note

The Jean L. Konzal Papers include personal and printed materials documenting Konzal’s experiences with the Student Help Project, particularly her summer spent in Farmville, Virginia in 1963. Included are transcribed journal entries, background materials on the Student Help Project, Farmville, Virginia and Prince Edward County, newspaper clippings, participant contact lists, student letters to Konzal, and photographs. Also present are her later personal reflections in the form of a written speech and an interview with former Student Help Project chairman Michael Wenger. To a lesser extent, the collection also documents Konzal’s involvement with the American civil rights movement in printed materials and letters through 1965, including a pamphlet for the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom of August 1963.


  • 1962-2012
  • Majority of material found within 1963 - 1964





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


The Jean L. Konzal Papers are the property of the Queens College Libraries. All intellectual rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assignees. Queens College assumes no responsibility for the infringement of copyrights held by the original authors, creators, or producers of materials.

Biographical Note

As a Queens College student, Jean Leanore Konzal, née Stein, volunteered with the Student Help Project, an initiative that provided free tutoring services to underserved children in South Jamaica, Queens from 1962 to 1968. During the summer of 1963, Konzal was one of sixteen Queens College students who lived with black families in Farmville, Virginia and tutored African American children who had been denied formal public education since 1959. (The county had defunded and closed its schools rather than comply with federally-ordered racial integration.)

Although representatives from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) traveled to Farmville to organize marches and sit-ins shortly after the arrival of the Queens College students, Jean and her fellow Student Help Project volunteers refrained from participating in the demonstrations at the suggestion of Reverend L. Francis Griffin. The students did not want to compromise their teaching mission and wanted to limit the risk to their host families.

Konzal continued her involvement with civil rights and education issues beyond the summer of 1963. She attended the March on Washington on August 28, 1963 with fellow Student Help Project volunteers and participated in both a Freedom Fast at Queens College and a summer workshop on human relations at Rutgers in 1964. The workshop’s instructors included two of her mentors for the Prince Edward County Project, Sid Simon and Rachel Weddington.

Konzal graduated from Queens College in 1964 with a B.S. in Elementary Education. She has worked as a teacher, staff developer, and consultant. She has taught seminars on the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision and coauthored two books on family-school relationships, Making Our High Schools Better (1999) and How Communities Build Stronger Schools (2002). Konzal was chair of the Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education at The College of New Jersey when she retired, and currently serves as an adjunct professor for the college’s Global Master’s program.


0.5 Linear Feet (1 document box)


This collection includes personal and printed materials, photographs, and feature personal accounts of Konzal’s activities as a tutor, civil rights activist, and student. The collection documents the Student Help Project in Prince Edward County, Virginia, and, to a lesser extent, other civil rights activism through 1965. Also present are materials on the 1963 March on Washington and documents from several civil rights organizations.

Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged in four series, two of which are broken into subseries.

Series I: Autobiography and Reflections (2009-2011)

Series II: Student Help Project, 1962-2011 (bulk 1963)

Series III: Photographs, 1963-2012 (bulk 1963)

Series IV: Additional Civil Rights Movement & Activism (1963-1965)


Donated by Jean L. Konzal in 2011.

Related Collections

An interview conducted with Jean Konzal about her involvement in the Student Help Project can be found at the following record: NEED.

The following Queens College collections also include records about the Student Help Project in Jamaica, New York and Farmville, Virginia:

Debby Yaffe Papers

Elliot Linzer Papers

Michael Wenger Papers

Phyllis Padow-Sederbaum Papers

Rosalind (Silverman) Andrews Papers

Stan Shaw Papers

Finding aids to the collections above may be found in the Civil Rights and Social Justice Collecting Area.

Processing Information

Print finding aid created by Kristin Resurreccion and approved by Annie Tummino, Summer 2012, edited by Alexandra Dolan-Mescal, Spring 2014. Machine readable finding aid created by Alexandra Dolan-Mescal, Spring 2014



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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