Monthly Archive for June, 2013

Completion of Duke’s CCC Still Image Digitization, Part 2

Duke University Libraries recently completed still image digitization for their contributions to the Content, Context, and Capacity (CCC) Project. Our last post highlighted the Charles N. Hunter Papers and the Asa and Elna Spaulding Papers. This time we focus on the Basil Lee Whitener Papers and the records of the Women-In-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes (Durham chapter):

Box 11, Folder 1: Photographs circa 1970s

Box 11, Folder 1: Photographs circa 1970s

  • Women-In-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes, Inc. Durham Chapter records, 1968-1998:   Founded in 1968 by Elna Spaulding, the Women-in-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes (WIAPVC) was an inter-racial non-profit organization dedicated to community improvement that would help to prevent violence of all kinds (domestic violence, street crime, etc.).  The organization’s records document the struggles in finding funding in its nascent years.  In fact, researchers will see correspondence with such luminaries as Senator Sam Ervin, First Lady Patricia Nixon, and the producers of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson asking for funds for WIAPVC’s community efforts.  In addition, researchers will discover documentation of the evolution of WIAPVC, organizational writings and workshop contents, selected photographs and clippings, and related material from other community organizations.
  • Basil Lee Whitener Papers, 1889-1968:  Political historians will find this collection of the utmost interest.  As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1957 to 1968 elected from Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, Whitener was one of a group of Southern Democrats (“Dixiecrats”) to vociferously oppose civil rights legislation.  Whitener’s papers digitized for the CCC project include his correspondence with reform proponents and opponents and his discussions with other congressmen discussing legislative strategies to quash reform.   Researchers will find the proposed amendments to the Civil Rights Act of 1957 introduced by Whitener’s predecessor as well as the argument that civil rights legislation would ultimately undermine federalism itself.  In addition to his involvement with civil rights, Whitener also served on the House Judiciary Committee when that group discussed two prominent issues—the selection of juries in federal trials and the appeal of Jimmy Hoffa’s tax evasion conviction.  The Hoffa transcripts are especially interesting, as researchers will learn the secret happenings in smoke-filled Memphis hotel rooms, including a cameo from Elvis himself.

Completion of Duke’s CCC Still Image Digitization, Part 1

The Duke University Libraries are proud to announce the completion of the still image digitization for the Duke-held collections of the Content, Context, and Capacity (CCC) Project.  Funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), this inter-institutional collaborative project of Duke, UNC Chapel Hill, NC State, and NC Central digitized records relating to the Long Civil Rights Movement.  The Long Civil Rights Movement is a term used by historians to expand the traditional definition of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s both further into the past and into more recent times.  Collections from this project date back to as early as the 1880s and to as late as the first decade of the 2000s.

The scope of the CCC Project is quite large.  In total, all four institutions will digitize over 350,000 documents.  Duke’s share of that total is approximately 66,000 scans from eight collections.  In addition, during the next (final) year of the project, the CCC staff will transition to the digitization of audio collections.  Duke will focus on the digitization of the North Carolina tapes from the Behind the Veil Oral History Collection, which is scheduled for publication in 2014.

Researchers will find many interesting topics in Duke’s CCC Collections.  These collections allow for an in-depth exploration of the politics of integration and the history of African-American thought.  They will introduce researchers to the efforts of an organization advocating non-violence.  They even allow researchers to view Duke itself as a microcosm of the changes wrought by the Civil Rights Movement.

Available from Rubenstein Library (in finding aids):

  • Charles N. Hunter Papers, 1850s-1932 and undated:  The child of enslaved parents, Charles Norfleet Hunter would become one of the most prominent African-American educators and reformers in North Carolina.  He led several African-American schools in and around Raleigh, North Carolina.  Through his education efforts, he worked with the Tuskegee Institute and corresponded with Booker T. Washington.  As a reformer, Hunter helped to found the North Carolina Industrial Association, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of African-Americans working in both the industrial and agricultural fields. Hunter’s collection contains fascinating correspondence as well as personally-compiled scrapbooks of newspaper articles relevant to the African-American community.  Perhaps the most valuable group of documents in the collection is Hunter’s writings and speeches wherein he presciently discussed the social condition of African-Americans using rhetoric that sounds quite like what one would expect to see out of the 1960s.  Researchers will find the Hunter papers enlightening and full of potential projects on a plethora of important subjects.
  • Asa and Elna Spaulding Papers, 1909-1997 and undated, bulk 1935-1983:  Asa and Elna Spaulding were one of the most prominent couples in the modern history of Durham.  Asa Spaulding served as the President of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance as well as on several presidential commissions.  Elna Bridgeforth Spaulding served as a Durham County Commissioner for five terms, founded and led the Women-In-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes, and served on the White House Commission on Aging.  For the CCC Project, Duke has digitized all of Elna Spaulding’s papers.  Researchers will find the correspondence of Mrs. Spaulding with local and national leaders.  They will also find the touching letters between Elna Bridgeforth and Asa Spaulding during their courtship.  Mrs. Spaulding also collected files on the many organizations in which she was active or with which she corresponded, including Women-In-Action, the County Commissioners, the North Carolina Democratic Party, and National Council for Negro Women.  With over 25,000 images to peruse, researchers will find plenty of material worthy of further attention in Elna Spaulding’s papers.

From the Archives: Durham County Citizens’ Councils Advertisement Appalls Locals

Durham County Citizens' Council racist propaganda from 1968

This post contains highlights of material from the Triangle Research Libraries Network’s CCC project, digitizing 40 archival collections related to the long civil rights movement from four area institutions. For more on this digitization project, click here.

An advertisement asking readers to “Compare the platform of the Communist Party and the Black Power or Civil Rights Movement,” was published in the Durham Herald circa 1968. The ad was sponsored by the Durham County Citizens’ Councils, a North Carolina branch of the white supremacist organization known as the “Citizens’ Councils of America” (and formerly as the “White Citizens’ Council”). The ad lists 1928 tenets of the Communist Party as proof that the mission of Civil Rights activists is aligned with a Communist agenda. It highlights goals that the Citizens’ Councils objected to, such as a “Federal law against lynching,” “Abolition of laws forbidding intermarriage of persons of different races,” and “Abolition of all Jim Crow laws.” The Citizens’ Councils’ fears are further illustrated by a map that marks a section of the South with the label, “the Black Republic;” land which the ad claims had been “promised Negro’s (sic) for their supporting Communist goals… [and was] now being demanded by Black Power Advocates.”1

The Women-In-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes Records contain the responses of some Durham Herald subscribers who were shocked and offended by the advertisement’s message. The printing of the Citizens’ Councils’ ad spurred many Triangle area readers to write in to the Editor of the paper, describing their disappointment and amazement at finding such a “blatantly untruthful” ad within the pages of the Durham Herald. 2 One such writer was John Paul Carter, who wrote passionately that by including this piece, the paper was reducing itself “to irrationality and hate-spawning.”2 
C.E. Edmondson of Hillsborough lamented, “How much longer must black Americans be subjected to such hatred and discrimination?”3 And Elma R. Knowlton dismissed the claims that the Civil Rights Movement is inherently “Communist-inspired,” saying it was instead “America-inspired,” a movement which “seeks not to destroy the hope and promise that is America, but to realize it.”3

You can read more about this incendiary advertisement in the Women-in-Action collection.

1. Advertisement. Women-In-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes Records, Box 10, Folder 5, Item: wiams10005004

2. Letters to the Editor of the Durham Herald. Women-In-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes Records, Box 10, Folder 5, Item: wiams10005003

3. Letters to the Editor of the Durham Herald. Women-In-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes Records, Box 10, Folder 5, Item: wiams10005007