Scope and Contents
The Ross Flanagan papers are organized by the name of the project in which he was involved. The Friends Mississippi Project papers consist mainly of printed materials: reports, news releases, clippings, financial reports, and photos, notably of the burned African-American churches in Mississippi, and their reconstruction.
Ross Flanagan (1934- ), Quaker pacifist and activist, has been involved in many Quaker-related and Quaker-sponsored projects. In the 1950s he served on the staff of the American Friends Service Committee. He was arrested in Berkeley, California, and sent to prison for civil disobedience from December 1962 through January 1963 as a result of his individual protest against the escalating American presence in Vietnam.
In 1964, as he served as a member of a Quaker exploratory team travelling in Mississippi to assess the destruction of African-American churches which had been burned during civil rights disturbances. Thomas Purdy and Lawrence Scott were also members of this team, which provided material assistance in the reconstruction of those churches and related buildings damaged by violence. This effort, known as the Friends Mississippi Project, evolved from the Friends Committee for Reconciliation and Church Reconstruction, It was initiated by the New York Yearly Meeting of Friends with the support of the Philadelphia and Pacific Yearly Meetings.
Ross Flanagan was active with the Quaker Action and Relief for Vietnam War Victims between 1966 and 1969. This project was concerned primarily with the shipment of medical supplies to Vietnamese civilians, first in North Vietnam, and later to civilians in all parts of that country. The Canadian Friends Service Committee, A Quaker Action Group (AQAG), and the crew of the yacht Phoenix figured prominently in this endeavor. Flanagan was a project director of AQAG at this time. He was also director of the Quaker Project on Community Conflict of the New York Yearly Meeting during this period.
In 1972, Flanagan helped found the Block Association of West Philadelphia, a neighborhood safety program, which used community involvement and training programs in nonviolent tactics to teach citizens about crime prevention, provide victim services, and reduce urban fear of crime. A collateral organization, CLASP (Citizens Local Alliance for a Safer Philadelphia) served as a liasion and clearinghouse for the block safety movement. Ellie Wegener, a resident of the area and wife of a Lutheran clergyman, was executive director of CLASP, and a founder of both the Block Association of West Philadelphia and CLASP.
Ross Flanagan was later involved with the Interfaith Peacemakers Association.