Jake Friesen Papers, 1964-1967


The Center, established in 1965, was sponsored by the Mennonite Central Committee and the Quakers. Both groups had participated in the 1964-1965 efforts to rebuild Mississippi Negro churches burned during the Freedom Summer of 1964; in addition they built a single community center in the state. Valley View Center was dedicated in October 1965, and the community-elected board of directors requested that the Mennonite Central Committee send a couple to work with them in developing a program for the Center. The Friesens arrived shortly thereafter. Center programs included Head Start, under the auspices of the Guild Development Group of Mississippi; health programs, including Planned Parenthood; cooking and typing classes, publication of a weekly newspaper, a library, baseball teams and a playground, and the drilling of a well for community use. Plans for a credit union were never completed. Financial support for the Center was scheduled for transfer or termination at the end of August 1967, when the Friesens left.