Robert Weil was born in Evanston, IL in 1940. While attending Harvard University, Robert became politically active and co-founded TOCSIN, one of the foremost peace and nuclear disarmament organizations of the United States and became its first chairperson. Following graduation he pursued his interest in Asian studies and completed the graduate study course at the International Christian University, Tokyo during 1961-62. While at Columbia University, completing his Masters in Chinese and Japanese Studies, Robert was inspired by the civil rights movement to leave school and head to Mississippi, where he worked with SNCC 1963-65.
Robert helped set up the information office for the Mississippi Summer Project (Freedom Summer), which recruited college students from across the country to travel to Mississippi in order to make people aware of conditions at the national level, register voters, build community centres and teach at “freedom schools.” When the civil rights workers, James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, were abducted and murdered, Robert worked in SNCC’s Atlanta office to spread the word throughout the country. Robert was also a lead organizer of the Mississippi Freedom Labor Union which organized a strike of several hundred cotton plantation workers in the Delta. Robert worked for SNCC in Jackson and Shaw, MS, and in Atlanta and the SW Georgia Project.