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Dorothy (Dottie) Zellner Oral History

Identifier: QMP-0045

Scope and Contents

Dorothy “Dottie” Zellner (born in 1938) discusses growing up in Manhattan as the daughter of immigrants in a Left, Jewish family in Manhattan. She recalls being a young child during the second World War, when Nazi hatred of Jews and the potential for Germany to attack the United States were experienced as imminent threats. Zellner discusses how McCarthyism affected her family in the late 1940s through the 1950s, and her experience at Music and Art High School, which she attended from 1951-1955. She then touches on her time at Queens College, where she became editor of The Crown newspaper and attended a youth festival in Moscow in 1957. The bulk of the interview is dedicated to her time in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, and lessons from the movement for today’s political climate. She participated in the sit-ins in 1960 and worked with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) for five years. She discusses James Forman, Julian Bond, Rita Schwerner, Fannie Lou Hamer, and meeting her husband, Bob Zellner. She also talks about what it was like to live in the segregated south as a white Northern woman working in an interracial organization.


  • 2019-06-10



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: 01:40:04

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated to Queens College and Queens Public Library by Dorothy Zellner and Bridget Bartolini in June, 2019.

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.


Dorothy (Dottie) Zellner Oral History
Annie Tummino
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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