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Civil Rights: The Queens College Student Help Project

Paper Collections

Queens College students and faculty have a rich history of participation in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, as well as other struggles for social justice. Starting in 2009, the department began collecting materials from alumni, faculty, and community members involved in these movements. The collections document projects like the Virginia Student Help Project in 1963 (linked below), Mississippi Freedom Summer in 1964, and the Summer Community Organization and Political Education project in 1965, as well as local, New York-based campaigns of the NAACP, Congress of Racial Equality, and Students for a Democratic Society.

Visit for a full list of the collections related to Civil Rights and Social Justice at the QC Department of Special Collections & Archives.

As of May 25, 2021, all in-person library services, including building access, requests for physical materials, and drop-off return options will be suspended until further notice.

Please contact us at 718-997-3650 or to learn more about our collections or to schedule an appointment.

Collections listed in alphabetical order based on last name. The collections are open for research. Staff may restrict access at its discretion on the basis of physical condition.

Rosalind (Silverman) Andrews Papers

The Rosalind Andrews Collection documents her experience as a volunteer teacher with the Student Help Project in Farmville, Virginia, through manuscript, print, near-print, and photographic materials. Included are personal correspondence, letters from students, letters of support, and newspaper clippings as well as an example of classroom work, a flier, and a photograph. The collection provides a personal perspective on the work of the volunteer teachers and demonstrates the impact they had on the students of Farmville. Click to learn more.


Jean L. Konzal Papers

The Jean L. Konzal Papers include personal and printed materials documenting Konzal’s experiences with the Student Help Project, particularly her summer spent in Farmville, Virginia in 1963. Included are transcribed journal entries, background materials on the Student Help Project, Farmville, Virginia and Prince Edward County, newspaper clippings, participant contact lists, student letters to Konzal, and photographs. Also present are her later personal reflections in the form of a written speech and an interview with former Student Help Project chairman Michael Wenger. To a lesser extent, the collection also documents Konzal’s involvement with the American civil rights movement in printed materials and letters through 1965, including a pamphlet for the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom of August 1963. Click to learn more.


Elliot Linzer Papers

The Elliot Linzer Collection primarily documents the activities of various Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) chapters in New York City in 1963 and 1964. The items often pertain to specific events such as pickets, boycotts, fundraisers, and educational seminars. Click to learn more.


Phyllis Padow-Sederbaum Papers

The Phyllis Padow-Sederbaum Papers feature personal accounts of her role as tutor, activist and student. Collection materials include administrative documents, correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and publications. The bulk of the materials concern Padow-Sederbaum's work with the Student Help Project in Prince Edward County, Virginia, during the summer of 1963. To a lesser extent, the collection documents Student Help Projectactivities in Jamaica, Queens, and Queens College campus activism. Materials dated after 1965 document reunions with fellow civil rights activists. Some restrictions apply to the collection such as researchers may not cite or use correspondence or photographs without written permission from Phyllis Padow-Sederbaum. Please see the finding aid for more details about permissions and copyright. Click to learn more.


Stan Shaw Papers

The Stan Shaw Collection documents his experiences as a coordinator and tutor with the Queens College Student Help Project. The bulk of the collection dates from 1963 to 1964 and includes a diary, press releases, reports, printed material, photographs and a poster. The collection provides evidence of the Student Help Project’s tutoring initiatives in Queens, New York and Prince Edward County, Virginia. More broadly, the collection documents of the 1960s civil rights movement and the fight for racial justice in the United States. Click to learn more.


Sid Simon Photographs

The photographs document a January/February 1965 trip by Queens College students to Mississippi to help rebuild churches that were burned down during Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964. The group was stationed in Tougaloo, twelve miles north of Jackson. The collection consists solely of photographs. Click to learn more.


Michael Wenger Papers

The Michael Wenger Collection (1963-2009) comprises the papers of Queens College alumnus Michael Wenger. Correspondence, printed materials, and administrative records document the operation of the Student Help Project in South Jamaica, Queens and Prince Edward County, Virginia as well as activism on the Queens College campus during the 1960s, including Freedom Week and the Carnegie Hall Benefit Concert sponsored by Queens College C.O.R.E. Click to learn more.


Debby Yaffe Papers

The Debby Yaffe Collection is comprised of printed materials that document the Student Help Project and the broader story of the Prince Edward County public school closures. It includes newspaper and magazine articles from student, local, and national publications; a flyer for a benefit concert; the code of conduct for Project volunteers; excerpts from contemporary government reports; and a retrospective essay that details the role that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., then Attorney General of the United States, played in reopening the County’s school system. Click to learn more.