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[July 11, 1964, Hattiesburg, Mississippi] [typescript page 1]
Dear kids [Susan and Diane?]:
For some reason which I don’t understand I’m sending you several million copies of this letter to the Gazette, which the editor asked us to write him occasionally. (All conceivable friends and relations have been sent copies too, except those in Kalamazoo; perhaps you could send your copies to the obvious people if you like.) Please do look for the thing to appear in the paper, and send us a copy of the printed goods if they do print it; look out for changes and omissions (they may cut it into two parts since it’s kind of long). This letter is a sort of scene setting thing; I hope Nancy will write one telling how we feel and what we’re doing (there is just nothing in the letter about us Kalamazooans, so the paper might not like it one bit. We’ll have to jazz up the next one with personal tidbits).
Today is Sat and it’s already hotter than hell and only 11am. The roosters are crowing their damn fool heads off. In spite of the heat we’ve managed to sleep pretty well (actually it cools down some at night). And I am finding that there’s a lot of time on my hands, largely because I’m terribly negligent about preparing my Negro history lessons (not that there’s any reading material to prepare from, but still there’s some stuff). We are too ambitious; we won’t possibly be able to do all the things we want to do in schools this summer, and our half-assed co-ordinator is undoubtedly going to make us end this session after three weeks and start again with a new batch of kids. This first week has been not too successful; really very little got done, at least in my classes. Yesterday we spent the whole morning with a visiting history prof from Stanford; unfortunately it was waste of time. The communication barrier raised its ugly head. Everything is so messy (I mean there are communication barriers in my school too, mainly that it’s miles away and everyone but me lives there where it is, at a suburban valhalla called Palmer’s Crossing). We’ve done nothing to get our newspaper started (I had hoped to have an issue out by today), almost nothing on the sacred cow of Negro history. We did have a great day of spelling Thursday. (No kidding. We did spelling and vocabulary for two and ½ hours. Kids loved it.) The Freedom Booklet we made with hours of sweat hasn’t been thrown into the fray yet in my school; and the DuBois bit about being a teacher in Tenn hasn’t either; in fact reading of any kind (I wanted everyone to read newspapers) just hasn’t started popping. We did have a day of playing congressional committee: none of the kids (high school) knew anything about congressional committees, so we acted one out for an hour or so. Acting out and conversation is the only way to communicate I’m afraid.
Well I really ought to be writing this for the next Gazoo letter and not wasting my ideas on you two. Will you save the letters I wrote already, just in case there’s some immortal insight or something? And by the way, here’s how you can occupy your next half-hour. As soon as you put this letter down, RUSH to the typewriter (in case you need directions, it’s on my desk) and write us a letter. Otherwise I’ll begin to think you’ve made Freia stew.
Joe [handwritten addition:]
Monday – Got your letter; many thanks, good to hear from you, and the fun of putting the scraps of paper together isn’t to be played down either.
Today our friendly insurance man sent us a clipping from the Gazoo about us – very ok article too.
Please send the stuff for our parents to them, if you can.
Just watched Ike on TV. Colossal. I.F. Stone asked a question. Jackson Clarion-Ledger had big head[line] today about Hoover saying there’s just as much civil rights crime in the north as here. J. Edgar is another pet hate. ME – PET HATE??
Actually I hate everyone just now. Today seems to be my turn to feel like scratching eyes out.
J. [handwritten addition in Joe’s handwriting:]
Somehow sending you many copies doesn’t seem relevant anymore, days & days having passed. I wish you had read the article about us in the Jackson Clarion-Ledger today. [Ugh?] – what lies!
|Title||Letter from Joseph Ellin to Kids; July 11, 1964|
|Description||Photocopy of a two-page typed and handwritten letter, dated [July 11, 1964] from Joe Ellin to "kids" [Susan and Diane]. In this document, Joe's frustrations are evident in the tone he uses in writing. He talks of a lack of teaching materials in the Freedom Schools and the communication gaps between teachers and students. The second page (and bottom of the first page) is a handwritten postscript added by Joe on the 13th and 14th of July.|
|Date||11 July 1964|
|Coverage (time period)||1964|
Palmers Crossing (Miss.)
|Format||Digital reproduction of a 2-page letter.|
|Publisher||University of Southern Mississippi Libraries. (electronic version)|
|Contributors||Electronic version made available through a National Leadership Grant for Libraries from the Institute for Museum and Library Services.|
|Notes||This item is part of the Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive.|
|Rights||Copyright protected. Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required.|
|Contributing institution||Special Collections, McCain Library and Archives, University of Southern Mississippi.|
|Collection||M323 Ellin (Joseph and Nancy) Freedom Summer Collection.|
|Source||Box 1, Folder 1|
|Digital repository||University of Southern Mississippi Digital Collections.|
|Digital collection||Historical Manuscripts and Photographs.|