Signed, Sealed, Delivered: How Black and White Mothers used the Box Project and the Postal System to Fight Hunger and Feed the Mississippi Freedom Movement


ACLS Fellowship Program


Communication, History, and Philosophy


"Signed, Sealed, Delivered" tells the untold story of ordinary Black and white women’s overlooked participation in the Civil Rights Movement using one of the nation’s largest federal agencies: the US Postal System. It examines a grassroots antipoverty organization called the Box Project to explore the relationship between motherhood, race, and political consciousness. Founded in 1962 by a white Vermont pacifist, the Box Project paired Black mothers in Mississippi with white New England women, who exchanged food and clothing for letters and information on the Movement and the welfare state through the interstate postal service. Analyzing this correspondence, and using numerous archival collections, welfare state and poverty data and original oral histories, the book centers the lived experience of everyday women during and after the movement. "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" illuminates how women, Black women in Mississippi and white women outside of the state, imagined themselves as participants in the movement, explores constraints to and attempts toward direct political engagement, and considers the role of benevolence in social movements.