On Tuesday, July 7, 1964, Dorothy Height and Polly Cowan led the first Wednesdays in Mississippi team down from New York City to Jackson, Mississippi. The women stayed overnight in Jackson on Tuesday; drove to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to observe freedom schools, voter registration projects, and to meet with local community leaders on Wednesday; and then flew back to the North on Thursday. Two of the team members were black; three were white. The black women stayed with black Jackson hostesses, while the white women, who could find no hostesses willing to host them, stayed at the Sun-n-Sand motel. Dr. Height recalls, “The black women had a whole community to greet them; the white women [were] met with a lot of white community hostility, so we made sure there were enough of them to reinforce their courage and commitment.”
Learn more about the Northern Women, including photos, biographies, profiles, WIMS applications, transcripts of them speaking at the debriefing, and excepts of Dorothy Height's audio from the debriefing.
The WIMS teams could not have worked effectively without the help of a handful of Southern women they called their "angels." These women not only served as hostesses, they also worked behind the scenes to arrange housing, rent cars, and recruit others to open their homes to the northern women so as not to arouse suspicion in the community.
Learn more about the Southern Women, including photos, biographies, and visual artifacts demonstrating their interaction with the WIMS team.
As each Wednesdays in Mississippi team returned home, they met to discuss their impressions of the trip. These proceedings were taped and often included interested parties in the community, NCNW staff, and family members of the women who had traveled south. The teams discussed what they had seen in Mississippi, the ways in which it had impacted their lives and the lives of those they visited, the success of their efforts, adjustments to be made for upcoming teams, and their plans to support civil rights in Mississippi and at home in the future.
Learn more about the Debriefing, including a summary of the meeting, scanned images of the original transcription, a text version of the corrected transcription, a glossary of the various references the WIMS women made, and excepts of Dorothy Height's audio from the debriefing