Each trip required an enormous amount of planning, most of which was done in New York City. The women were told what clothes to wear. They were instructed on what supplies to bring to the Freedom Schools. Their flights were scheduled. Phone numbers in case of trouble were handed out. Before each trip Height and Cowan had the women role play through their encounters in the south. After each trip, the teams were debriefed. WIMS tried to account for every detail, ensure their women’s safety, and use their time as effectively as possible.
- List of Materials for Canton Project, 1964
In 1964 one of the WIMS goals was to help the Freedom Schools COFO had founded. This is a list of the supplies the Canton Freedom School needed. At the bottom of the list Susie Goodwillie wrote where to send the materials, and scribbled a note that they should send on a book of photographs entitled The Family of Man.
- Suggestions for Supplies and Wardrobe to Take to Mississippi
The WIMS staff sent each team members suggestions for what to take with them to Mississippi. The list included wardrobe advice. Note the white gloves.
- WIMS Team Members Responsibilities
The WIMS staff reminded each team member of the problems they might meet, and how to respond. These varied from how to deal with a member of the press, to combating rumors about themselves as civil rights workers, to safety recommendations. “For the safety of all concerned,” the staff warned, “please remember to take staff advice and never go out on your own without reporting and keeping in touch with your checkpoint.”
- WIMS Phone Numbers
The WIMS staff understood that it was important for every WIMS team member to be able to reach out for help at any time. Although this is a list for the 1965 teams, it was virtually the same as that of 1964. Note that the list includes members of the Justice Department, including John Doar, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, and Marion Wright [Edelman], legal defense attorney for the NAACP in Jackson, Mississippi.
- WIMS Reports
The WIMS staff wanted to get as much information as possible from each team and each team member. Toward that goal they asked each woman to write a report. They also met with each team after the women had returned from Mississippi. They recorded many of these meetings, and then transcribed these recordings. Polly Cowan’s training as a radio producer proved useful.