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Collection Title: Kates (Jim) Papers

Collection Number: M390

Dates: 1963-2001

Volume: 0.90 cu. ft.

Provenance: Jim Kates

Donor: Materials in this collection were donated by Mr. Jim Kates in 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:

James (Jim) George Kates was born on March 4, 1945 in White Plains, New York. After graduating from White Plains High School in 1963, Kates attended Colby College Summer School of Languages where he received a diploma in advanced French. Kates’ educational experience includes studies at Wesleyan University, University of Rochester, Northeastern University, Boston University, School for International Training, and Harvard Extension School.

Kates became involved in the Civil Rights Movement in 1963, when he and a group of friends from White Plains helped solicit and collect donations for sharecroppers in Mississippi. In the summer of 1964, Kates served as a Freedom Summer volunteer in Holly Springs and Batesville, Mississippi. Kates returned to Mississippi in the summer of 1965 to volunteer in Natchez. The time between his two stays in Mississippi was spent first in Paris where he worked to organize the American community in Paris into a Paris Friends of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) / Council of Federated Organizations and then in Washington D.C as a volunteer in the SNCC office.

Kates later became a public school teacher, nonviolence trainer, poet and literary translator. In 1983, Kates was awarded a fellowship in creative writing from the National Endowment for the Arts. His writing has appeared in more than one hundred literary magazines, including The Massachusetts Review, The Agni Review and The International Poetry Journal. He has written, edited, and/or translated five books including a book of poems, Mappemonde (Oyster River Press, 2001), and an anthology of recent Russian poetry in translation, In the Grip of Strange Thoughts (Zephyr Press, 1999). Since 1997, he has co-directed Zephyr Press, publisher of Letters From Mississippi.

Jim Kates currently lives in Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire. He and his wife, Helen, have two children, Stanislav and Paula.


Contemporary Authors, Volume 200, (2002). Gale: Detroit.
Kates, Jim, e-mail interview, July 5, 2004.
Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement –


Materials Relating to the Book Letters From Mississippi.
Materials Relating to the Civil Rights Movement
Personal Materials

Other Finding Aids:
Box and Folder List
Photograph Log

Related Collections:
M358 Maurer (John B.) Freedom Summer Photographs
M362 Koening (Ruth) Freedom Summer Collection

Scope and Content:

This collection consists primarily of materials pertaining to the book, Letters From Mississippi, which was first published in 1965, and republished in 2002. The book contains letters written by Mississippi Freedom Summer volunteers in 1964 about their experiences in that important segment of the Civil Rights Movement. For the researcher’s convenience, the collection has been divided into three series:

Series I: Materials Relating to the Book Letters From Mississippi consists of letters that were considered for publication in the book, release forms signed by the authors of the letters, and other materials relating to the Freedom Summer centers. Also included are original letters written by Freedom Summer volunteer, Jim Kates, from June 25, 1964 - July 29, 1965.

Series II: Materials Relating to the Civil Rights Movement contains materials regarding the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), and an assortment of items that relate to Freedom Summer and civil rights in general. Also included are a letter written by John Murphy of the U.S. Dept. of Justice (Aug. 3, 1964); a letter from Nancy Smith (Jan. 30, 1965); and a letter from W. M. McMillan (Aug. 9, 1965).

Series III: Personal Materials consists of personal correspondence, an assortment of pamphlets and booklets, and an illustrated booklet titled Vietnam.

Box and Folder List

Series I: Materials Relating to the Book Letters From Mississippi
Box 1  
Folder 1 Correspondence Regarding Letters from Mississippi: 1964-1965, 2001
Folder 2 Releases Regarding Letters from Mississippi: 1964.
Folder 3 Releases Regarding Letters from Mississippi: 1964.
Folder 4 Releases Regarding Letters from Mississippi: 1964.
Folder 5 Note Cards Regarding Volunteers: 1964.
Folder 6 Oxford, Ohio: June 17-18, 1964.
Folder 7 Holly Springs, Mississippi: June 23, 1964 - May 14, 1965.
Folder 8 Photographic Images: Computer Scans from Holly Springs: 1964, 1966.
Folder 9 Batesville, Mississippi: May 29-August 13, 1964.
Folder 10 Mileston, Mississippi: September 5, 1964.
Folder 11 Greenville, Mississippi: June 30, 1964.
Folder 12 Greenwood, Mississippi: July 11-September 14, 1964.
Folder 13 Ruleville, Mississippi: June 22 – August, 1964.
Folder 14 Indianola, Mississippi: July 1, 1964.
Folder 15 Tchula, Mississippi: July 5 – August 29, 1964.
Folder 16 Canton, Mississippi: July 8 – August 6, 1964.
Folder 17 Jackson, Mississippi: June 23 – October 8, 1964.
Box 2  
Folder 1 Vicksburg, Mississippi: June 28-August 5, 1964.
Folder 2 Meridian, Mississippi: June 28-August 10, 1964.
Folder 3 Hattiesburg, Mississippi: July 15 – August 14, 1964.
Folder 4 Gulfport, Mississippi: June 24 – August 9, 1964.
Folder 5 Biloxi, Mississippi: July 4 – August 16, 1964.
Folder 6 Pascagoula, Mississippi: July 14 – August 8, 1964.
Folder 7 Letters Written by Jim Kates: 1964-1965.
Series II: Materials relating to the Civil Rights Movement
Folder 8 Lists of Volunteers and Ministers: 1963-1964.
Folder 9 Mississippi Project Parents Committee: August 1-September 3, 1964.
Folder 10 Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee: 1964-1965.
Folder 11 Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party: 1964-1965.
Folder 12 Voting Rights Bill: 1965.
Folder 13 Newspaper Clippings: 1964-1965.
Folder 14 Part of Address at Andrew Goodman’s Funeral: 1964.
Folder 15 Notes from Training Session: June 1964.
Folder 16 Selma, Alabama Report: March 7, 1965
Folder 17 Letters to/from Government Officials: 1964-1965.
Folder 18 Story: “Mama’s Hotel”: ca. 1979.
Folder 19 Miscellaneous Freedom Summer Materials: 1964
Series III: Personal Materials
Folder 20 Jim Kates: Correspondence and other Materials: 1963-1968
Folder 21 Vietnam War: ca.1965-1967.
Folder 22 Miscellaneous Materials: undated.

Photograph Log

M390-1 Elizabeth Moore
  2½ X 3½ (B & W) undated
  (Box 1, Folder 5)
M390- 2 Frank David Katz
  2½ X 3½ (B & W) undated
  (Box 2, Folder 20)


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