Document 14: Elayne DeLott to Benjamin DeLott, "i really was kind of apprehensive," Tougaloo College, Jackson, Mississippi, May 1964, Elaine DeLott Baker Papers, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.

Introduction

   My parents, who had lived in the South, were horrified by my decision to go to Mississippi. The many letters that I wrote them during the next year downplayed the danger of the work I was doing, while attempting to communicate its value.

Dear daddy,

    I really was kind of apprehensive about coming here in the beginning, but it really turned out to be a lovely place. the campus itself is modern with a number of air conditioned buildings, and i've even got a refrigerator in my room. the kids are just lovely. they've had pretty bad schooling, but they are bright and quite willing to work. it's very satisfying work. of course i've taught before, but it is different teaching older kids than little ones like little brucker. you'll never believe that i actually get up at 6 in the morning, but i have to teach a sociology class at seven, and it takes me at least an hour to open my eyes. it is quite hot, but most of the day i'm in air conditioned places, and i have a fan in my bedroom. as far as jackson itself, i imagine there will be alot of trouble this summer, but don't worry, because i won't be involved. i don't leave the campus except in the day to go to sears roebuck, and these rednecks only work at night. there will be demonstrations, but i won't be taking part, so please don't get alarmed when you hear about trouble down here. i will write every week, and aside from that you would be notified immediately if anything happened to me, so don't go worrying for nothing. i'm sure i'll be safe and sound and have a nice quiet summer.

    i am also tutoring incoming freshman in english composition and teaching a seminar in art appreciation. a couple of my professors from school are coming down in a few weeks too. there are about 15 of us now, and more coming in all the time. now for you, i want you to take care of yourself too while mama is gone. you're probably in more danger than i am of perishing from neglect. will you send all my mail to tougaloo college, tougaloo mississippi, and maybe drop me a line yourself in the next few weeks to show me you're not starving.

[Signed]
Love,
Elayne

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