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Susan Nichols Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: SCA-0065

Scope and Contents Note

The Susan Nichols Collection documents events during her time as a volunteer in the Mississippi Freedom Project. The majority of the material is dated from July-August 1964. There are incident logs documenting acts of violence against volunteers and residents, including detailed reports on the disappearance of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. The collection includes documents from the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. There are memos, teaching materials, and student work from Freedom Schools. Also present are newspaper articles and clippings from various publications and personal correspondence between Susan Nichols and her mother.


  • 1960-1989


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


The Susan Nichols 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

Susan Nichols became involved with an active Friends of SNCC group as a student of Southern Illinois University. At Southern Illinois University Nichols roomed with Minnie Jean Brown, a member of the Little Rock Nine. The Little Rock Nine were nine African-American students involved in the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School, which sparked a nationwide crisis in 1957. Nichols was motivated to be active in the Civil Rights Movement by the values instilled by her father, and her affiliations with Chuck Neblett, an original member of the Freedom Singers, Dick Gregory, social activist and comedian, John O’Neal, co-founder of the Free Southern Theater group, Stokley Carmichael, SNCC leader and Black Panther member, along with many others.

She participated in the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project in Holmes County, Mississippi in the summer of 1964, where she worked at community centers. In the fall of 1964, she relocated to Greenwood, Mississippi in a much-needed clerical support role. In January 1965, Nichols moved on to Jackson, Mississippi to work with the Freedom Democratic Party. She then worked with Caesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers movement in 1966. Following that she worked for a CORE-affiliated organization from 1967-1969, fighting for national welfare rights in Newark, NJ.

Nichols later received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Southern Maine in 1983 and then a Masters in Social Work from Boston University in 1984. She went on to work in the mental health field and remained active in social justice groups. She relocated to Maine in 2000 where she became involved with Cuba Solidarity, a group which organizes unique study tours, events and solidarity brigades in Cuba. She has also been involved with local organizations advocating for an influx of Somali immigrants. Additionally she has been involved with Let Cuba Live, an organization that promotes respect for Cuba's sovereignty and independence, and Pastors for Peace, a special ministry of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization that facilitates the delivery of humanitarian aid to Latin America and the Caribbean.

As of 2014, Nichols was retired, living in Montana with her husband, and still active in Cuba Solidarity.


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Language of Materials



Susan Nichols was a volunteer in the Mississippi Freedom Project in 1964-1965. A graduate of Southern Illinois University, (B.A. in Psychology, 1983) and Boston University (Masters in Social Work, 1984). She worked for civil rights and social justice organizations, such as the Freedom Democratic Party, Caesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers, Let Cuba Live, Cuba Solidarity and Pastors for Peace. The collection contains incident reports and affidavits on violence, memos, institutional documents, pamphlets, handbooks, booklets, published articles, newspapers, newsletters from COFO, SNCC, the Freedom Democratic Party, Freedom Schools and personal correspondence.

Arrangement Note

Series I: Mississippi Freedom Project Subseries A. Freedom Schools Subseries B. Incidents Series II: Council of Federated Organizations (COFO)

Series III: Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Series IV: Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party

Series V: Print Materials

Series VI: Commemorative Events

Series VII: Personal


Donated by Susan Nichols, 2014

Related Collections

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

Mark Levy Papers

George Albertz Papers

Robert Masters Papers

Barbara (Jones) Omolade Papers

Johnnie Mae Walker Letter to Anne Koeppicus


Susan Nichols Papers
Stephanie McEvoy
May 20, 2014
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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