Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party Records, 1962-1971

Scope and Content Note

The records, both in paper form and on microfilm, have been arranged in two series: MISSISSIPPI FREEDOM DEMOCRATIC PARTY RECORDS; and MISSISSIPPI GENERAL POLITICS.

The MISSISSIPPI FREEDOM DEMOCRATIC PARTY RECORDS include files of correspondence to and from party chairman Lawrence Guyot, and with the party's attorney, Joseph L. Rauh Jr., the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and other groups and individuals. There is a folder of organizational papers, with platform statements of MFDP candidates, a few minutes and other documents from the formative stages of the party, and files of general papers containing printed MFDP form letters, reports, news releases, position papers, and copies of the challenges, law suits, and court documents. In addition, there are items received by party headquarters in Jackson or in Washington, D.C., some material on the 1963 “freedom ballot,” and a few papers regarding the Loyal Democrats of Mississippi, 1967-1968. Also present are copies of formal notices of intention to contest election results, and a copy of the partial proceedings of the Credentials Committee of the Democratic National Convention, including Fannie Lou Hamer's statement.

Records of the Mississippi Summer Project and voters registration campaign of 1964 consist of an incomplete run (last names P-S) of applications to work on the project, supporting letters (which are filed immediately behind the application to which they refer), and a “Current Personnel List.” These projects were sponsored jointly with COFO. The Freedom Primers and other manuals were published by MFDP as part of its educational work. The Clippings file contains photocopied news clippings from Mississippi newspapers, and from major national papers, especially the New York Times. Within the folder pertaining to Robert Clark's election to the Mississippi House may be found news clippings, campaign documents, and a typewritten paper by David Emmons analyzing the victory. Following a court order voiding the regular election and setting a special May 1966 election in Sunflower County, the MFDP conducted a massive voter education, registration and awareness campaign. These efforts are documented in the files concerning Sunflower County, by news clippings, press releases, flyers, and other mailings. Also included are some records of the National Committee for Free Elections in Sunflower. Leslie B. McLemore's papers include a copy of his 1965 Master's thesis on the MFDP, a paper entitled “Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, A Case Study of Grass Roots Politics” (1969), and another titled “1967 Sunflower and Mississippi Municipal Elections” (1970).

The second series, MISSISSIPPI GENERAL POLITICS, contains printed reference material about state elections, voter registration statistics, state officers, politics, the Democratic Party, and similar material. The writings by McLemore and others consist mainly of notes and drafts. A file on the Young Democratic Clubs of Mississippi includes a few flyers and a report of activities.