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Collection Title: Torkington (Roy) Freedom Summer Collection

Collection Number: M386

Dates:June 14 – August 3, 1964

Volume: 1 folder

Provenance: Materials in this collection were generated by Roy Torkington, who donated them to the USM archives on February 18, 2003.

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

Roy Torkington (b. 1940) attended the initial 1964 Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Mississippi Summer Project orientation session, and was assigned to voter registration efforts in Leflore County, Mississippi.

On June 25, 1964, three Itta Bena (Leflore County) men accosted Torkington and two other volunteers, threatening their lives. The subsequent arrest of those three Mississippians by the FBI and their prosecution under the 1960 Civil Rights Act was likely one of the first prosecutions under that law, and was certainly a very early example of determined federal action against voter discrimination in the South. Torkington’s account of the event is included in his correspondence.

Torkington later completed a BA in history and a master’s degree in library science. He has worked at the University of California at Berkeley’s Institute of Library Research and at the Library of Congress. Torkington currently lives in Berkeley, California.


Contents of the Collection.

Lichtman, Allan. “The Federal Assault Against Voting Discrimination in the Deep
South, 1957-1967.” The Journal of Negro History 54 (October 1969): 346-67.

Martínez, Elizabeth, ed. Letters From Mississippi. Brookline, MA: Zephyr Press, 2002.

“FBI Arrests Three Itta Bena Men Under Civil Rights Act.” Greenwood Commonwealth.
27 June 1964, p.1.

“3 Whites Arrested in Delta.” Clarion Ledger (Jackson). 27 June 1964, p.1.

Scope and Content:

This collection consists of twelve letters to the donor’s fiancée, Anne, documenting
in considerable detail the training, field work, and living conditions of a representative Freedom Summer volunteer. One of the letters in this collection appears in the book Letters From Mississippi.

Related Collections:

M390 Kates (Jim) Papers


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