In Memoriam: Mendy Samstein

Mendy Samstein


Mendy Samstein was born and raised in New York City. He left a teaching position at Morehouse College in the fall of 1963 to join the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee’s (SNCC) Voter Registration work in Mississippi as a SNCC Field Secretary. In that capacity, he oversaw from the Council Of Federated Organizations (COFO) office in Jackson, Mississippi the recruitment and deployment of over 800 college students from around the country into rural Black Mississippi families and communities as part of the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project. His work in those years was indispensable to SNCC’s Mississippi Movement, which was instrumental to the transformation of the political party structures of Mississippi and the nation.

Mr. Samstein was one of nine SNCC workers in a house in McComb, Miss., on July 8, 1964, when three blasts ripped the house apart.

After leaving SNCC, Samstein taught in the New York public school system, later working with Bob Moses on The Algebra Project. Mendy died at his New York home on January 24, 2007. Stokely Carmichael called Samstein “one in a million”. (New York Times obituary).

Mendy Samstein
Photo by Matt Herron.