Jo Ann Ooiman Robinson Papers, 1960-1966


Jo Ann Ooiman was a participant in the Mississippi Summer Project of 1964 aimed at establishing the civil rights of Mississippi Negroes. At summer's end, she decided to stay in the South to continue her civil rights work until the next year when she moved to San Francisco and became a neighborhood organizer in the Haight-Ashbury district.

Born in September 1942, Miss Ooiman graduated from Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois, in 1964 and immediately joined the hundreds of Northern students going to Mississippi for a summer of civil rights activity sponsored by the Council of Federated Organizations. Assigned to Canton in Madison County, Miss Ooiman devoted most of her time to teaching in the Freedom School in nearby Pleasant Green. With the arrival of September and the time to return North, she decided to remain in Canton instead. She subsequently worked on elections to the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (an agency organized in county units responsible for administering federal agricultural programs), and on mobilizing support for the Freedom Democratic Party's challenge of Mississippi's 1964 Congressional elections.

In June of 1965, Miss Ooiman left Mississippi to join Tom Ramsay, a fellow worker from Canton, as a neighborhood organizer for the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee in San Francisco. Working in the Haight-Ashbury district, their concerns included schools and school busing, housing, poverty programs, police relations, and freeways.

Miss Ooiman left the project in January 1966, was married that summer in St. Louis, and in the fall enrolled in Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, to pursue a graduate degree in American history.