The University of Southern Mississippi -- McCain Library and Archives
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Collection Title: Hazelton (Margaret J.) Freedom Summer Collection
Collection Number: M359
Dates: ca. 1964
Volume: ca. .25 cubic feet
Restrictions: Available for research use by the serious student and scholar.
Margaret Jo Hazelton was born on May 14, 1942 in Detroit, Michigan to John K. and Georgia L. Hazelton. She has two siblings, an older sister, Louise, and a younger sister, Katherine. She attended Higgins Elementary, Woodrow Wilson Junior High School and graduated from Cass Technical High School in 1960. She then entered Wayne State University, majoring in Biology.
In June of 1964, Ms. Hazelton participated in the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project. The project's goal was to help Mississippi's African Americans gain the basic rights they were being denied. Ms. Hazelton worked in Clarksdale, Mississippi, at one of the community centers set up across the state. She worked in recreational activities with children and also with the adult literacy program. After attending the Mississippi National Democratic Freedom Party Convention, a political division campaigning for African Americans to run for public offices, near the end of the summer, Ms. Hazelton returned to Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan to continue her education.
Margaret Hazelton received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 1965. From 1965 to 1966, she worked as a laboratory technologist at the University of Michigan working in arthritis research. In 1966, she joined the Peace Corps, teaching science and English in a junior high/high school in Malaysia. Upon returning to the United States in 1968, she joined the Detroit Travelers Aid, where she worked until 1972. Ms.
In 1984, Ms. Hazelton received her Master of Social Work degree and began working as an outpatient therapist at New Center Community Mental Health working with children, adolescents, and families. In 1986, she moved to Aurora Child and Adolescent Hospital where she was a therapist in an inpatient setting continuing to work with children, adolescents, and their families. After 1991, she worked in various outpatient mental health settings in Portland, Oregon. From 1994 to 2002, she was a clinical case manager and then team leader in Managed Behavioral Care. As of 2002, she is working as a consumer advocate for those receiving mental health care.
Ms. Hazelton currently lives in Trenton, Michigan. She has one son, Hugh P. Jedwill. Her hobbies include gardening, international relations and peace issues. She is the president of Friends of Malaysia, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer group that supports further education and information about Malaysia, Asia, and projects in Malaysia. She maintains an active involvement in the National Peace Corps Association, which is composed of many affiliated groups of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers supporting the Peace Corps and international development.
When asked how she arrived at the decision to serve as a Freedom Summer Volunteer, she said the following: "I very much believed and still believe that there should be true equality. I believe that every human being has equal importance and the right to dignity and respect. This belief was developed during my early years, by my activity in the Methodist church and Christian principles. I was an undergraduate student at Wayne State University and saw a leaflet. I had already participated in several civil rights actions and just "knew" that I had to actually act on my beliefs. It was not an easy decision since we had to pay our own way, and I had very little extra money. I truly appreciate my minister co-signing a loan via the Methodist Credit Union. Even though during my orientation week, we found out that three workers had "disappeared", I still felt very sure of my decision. It is a decision for which I will always feel proud and know that it was important, if not for anyone but myself. By participating in the activities of Freedom Summer, I learned that one can have an impact, even if it's one person at a time. It also gave me the courage to continue to reach beyond myself, and I did by joining the Peace Corps a few years later. Those two experiences have influenced the entire rest of my life."
Material in the collection
The collection consists of papers and photographs documenting Margaret Hazelton's Freedom Summer volunteer work in Clarksdale, MS from June to August of 1964. The papers date from the summer of 1964 to 1968 and contain a variety of materials, most notably Margaret Hazelton's pocket journal, affidavits and itemizations of race-related harassment throughout the state, and materials about Freedom Summer, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO). Other materials include Margaret Hazelton's correspondence to the Woodmere Methodist Church in Detroit, Michigan and a sermon from this church by Rev. James N. Porter entitled "The Tip of His Finger." The papers are arranged alphabetically by subject.
Rev. Frazer Thomason took the photographs. The majority of them are taken in Clarksdale, MS. These photographs include work in the community center, staff meetings, and various sights around the town. A few of the photographs were taken at the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party convention in Jackson, MS. The photographs are arranged in the order they arrived.
Photograph Log Available Here.