Tag Archive for 'Durham'

Completion of Duke’s CCC Still Image Digitization, Pt. 3

Duke University Libraries recently completed still image digitization for their contributions to the Content, Context, and Capacity (CCC) Project. Our last post highlighted the Basil Lee Whitener Papers and the records of the Women-In-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes (Durham chapter). In this final post on Duke’s digitization activities for the CCC, we focus on the Rencher Nicholas Harris Papers, 1851-1980; the Allen Building Takeover Collection, 1969-2002; the Black Student Alliance records, 1969-2006; and the Department of African and African American Studies records, 1966-1981:

  • Rencher Nicholas Harris Papers, 1851-1980 and undated, bulk 1926-1965: In 1953, Rencher Harris became the first African-American to serve as a Durham city councilman. He was also the first African-American to serve on the Durham County Board of Education. Harris was a trailblazing local leader whose files speak to the varied issues that officials must address on a daily basis. Researchers will learn about racial inequalities in Durham County Schools, the intersection of race relations and health care at Lincoln Hospital where Harris was the Secretary for the Board of Trustees, the complexities of zoning under Jim Crow, and the planning of projects that still impact Durham today. Harris also documented his city council campaigns, meaning researchers can see how Harris’s strong get-out-the-vote efforts squared off against racist hyperbole espoused in anonymous newspaper advertisements.
  • Allen Building Takeover Collection, 1969-2002 (Available from Duke University Archives (in finding aids): : February 13, 1969 and the subsequent days became the single most significant event in the history of civil rights at Duke. Students from the Afro-American Society occupied the Allen Building, the home of Duke’s administration. While the occupiers remained peaceful, violence erupted outside of the Allen Building between police officers and supporters of the takeover. This collection documents the events that led up to the takeover as well as the tumultuous days during and after the event. Researchers will also find media coverage of the takeover and remembrances written many years later about the impact of the takeover on Duke and the larger civil rights movement.
  • Black Student Alliance records, 1969-2006: The Afro-American Society, which would later become the Black Student Alliance (BSA), formed in 1967 only four years after the first African-American undergraduates were enrolled at Duke. The organization has undergone two name changes since its inception, first becoming the Association of African Students, or The Association, and taking its current name of the Black Student Alliance in 1976. The records in this collection document the BSA’s on-campus activities, writings, and publications. The BSA served as a major advocate for recruiting more African-American students and faculty as well as for recognizing African-American culture in campus life. Their publications (i.e. The Talking Drum) and scrapbooks document African-American student life, especially in the 1990s and 2000s. Recent Duke Alumni will find a great deal of interest in this collection.
  • Department of African and African American Studies records, 1966-1981: Started in 1969 as the Black Studies Program, the Department of African and African-American Studies at Duke has become an essential department for the academic life of the university. This collection documents the beginnings of the department under Walter Buford and William Turner. Researchers will find documentation of the challenges of starting any new academic program but they will also learn of the unique struggles that African-American Studies faced in the early 1970s when some questioned the validity of the field itself. This collection also contains evidence of the intellectual history of radical politics, especially in the 1970s.

Researchers will certainly find a great deal of material to analyze in the eight collections cited in these posts. It is the hope of the CCC staff that you will visit the finding aids of each collection and start exploring the varied perspectives, narratives, and memories that help to comprise the Long Civil Rights Movement.

From the Archives: Asa T. Spaulding’s Audience with JFK

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.

Photograph of JFK and Asa T. Spaulding, 1963. North Carolina Fund Records, Folder 319, Scan 9

In addition to serving from 1958 to 1968 as the president of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, known as the largest and longest operating African American-owned insurance business in the United States,1 Asa T. Spaulding was a prominent leader in the Durham community and volunteered for many local projects. He was involved with organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America, North Carolina Council of Churches, and Durham’s Bi-Racial Human Relations Committee, among others. 2Spaulding was invited to the White House in September of 1963, at a time when he was working with the Community Campaigns of America. The occasion was a speech given by President John F. Kennedy in support of the United Community Campaigns project, which worked to resolve issues relating to education, health, and other community concerns in cities across the US, many chapters of which today are incorporated through the United Way foundation.

Tribute to JFK by Asa T. Spaulding, 1963. North Carolina Fund Records, Folder 319, Scan 8

Spaulding was honored to be present and witness the event, and in this photograph he can be seen sitting to President Kennedy’s left. 3 The United Community Campaigns broadcast occurred on September 22, 1963, just two months before Kennedy’s assassination on November 22. The photograph later appeared in the 1963 Christmas edition of The Whetstone, a quarterly publication produced by North Carolina Mutual, along with a heartfelt tribute to President Kennedy written by Spaulding. In his essay, Spaulding wrote that the ideals epitomized in Kennedy’s life and death had sparked a torch that “will ever brighten a path for all wandering, freedom-loving peoples in search for a better way of life.”4 Praising Kennedy’s bravery and his actions in office, Spaulding expressed his hope that other men and women would continue the works that Kennedy began with the same level of courage and devotion. Spaulding wrote of Kennedy that perhaps “time may prove him to have been more triumphant in death than he could have ever been in life… What he lived for and died for will shine with greater luster in the years ahead.”4

1. http://www.ncmutuallife.com/newsite/pages/about.html
2. http://www.northcarolinahistory.org/encyclopedia/10/entry
3. http://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/ref/collection/04710/id/2265/rec/9
4. http://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/ref/collection/04710/id/2299/rec/8

CCC progress update: Four new digital collections from NCCU

More digitized primary sources are now freely available online with the completion of four full collections at NCCU by the Triangle Research Libraries Network’s collaborative digitization grant. The collections of two of NCCU’s most prominent presidents — the James E. Shepard Papers and the Alfonso Elder Papers — reveal the challenges and achievements of the first state-funded liberal arts college for African Americans in the United States. Letters, speeches, writings, newspaper clippings, photographs and other material document Shepard’s lifelong dedication to higher education, Civil Rights activism, and community involvement. The Shepard collection also features a series of photographs from Shepard’s professional and family life. The Alfonso Elder Papers include many reports and documents relating to the development and growth of NCCU. Capturing a more personal image of NCCU’s second president are Elder’s correspondence with many faculty and staff members, including Floyd H. Brown and Helen G. Edmonds, and numerous speeches on the topic of higher education which were frequently given to student audiences.

Also complete is digitization of the Sarah M. Bell-Lucas North Carolina Alumni and Friends Coalition (NCAFC) Records. Sarah M. Bell-Lucas was the committee chair of the NCAFC Banquet and Publicity Committee and an alumna of NCCU. Her dedication to the university drew her back to the school to serve as director of undergraduate academic advising, and through her position with the NCAFC, she helped promote black higher education in North Carolina. The collection contains NCAFC meeting notes, program bulletins, and correspondence often relating to fundraising banquets.

NCCU’s Durham Fact-Finding Conference Records document the 1929 and 1930 meetings of the Durham Fact-Finding Conference, a congress of African American leaders in business, education, and religion held at NCCU. The collection also documents the 1942 Southern Conference on Race Relations and the 1944 Durham Race Relations Conference.  The names of many well-known individuals appear throughout the correspondence, speeches, and articles that make up the collection, such as W.E.B. DuBois, Hugo L. Black, Frank Porter Graham, Charles S. Johnson, Walter White, William Hastie, Langston Hughes, A. Philip Randolph, E. Franklin Frazier, Alain Locke, P.B. Young, Gordon B. Hancock, Claude A. Barnett, and George E. Haynes. NCCU president James E. Shepard presided over the conferences.

Visit the online finding aids for all of these collections to learn more about their contents and explore the fascinating digital material they contain.

CCC progress update: two new digital collections from Duke and NCSU

The Triangle Research Libraries Network’s collaborative large-scale digitization project, CCC, has completed digitization of two new collections from NCSU and Duke. These collections are now freely available online through the collections’ finding aids.

The first series of Duke’s Women-In-Action For the Prevention of Violence and its Causes, Inc. (WIAPVC) Records has been digitized. WIAPVC was an interracial community organization dedicated to service outreach in the Durham community that began in 1968. Some of the issues addressed by the group included working towards peaceful school integration in the city of Durham, creating programs for disadvantaged youth, and aiding racial reconciliation in the South. In addition to a fantastic series of photographs from WIAPVC meetings and events, the collection features reports on their many programs and local newspaper clippings related to the work of founder Elna Spaulding and WIAPVC’s other members.

The second series of NCSU’s North Carolina Extension and Community Association Records has also been digitized and is freely available online. The North Carolina Extension and Community Association was formed by local home demonstration clubs that promoted continuing education in home economics and related subjects throughout their communities. Digitized content includes the majority of the NCECA’s Administrative Records series, a robust collection of material such as extension agent packets (used as “field guides” by personnel), agendas and notes from agriculture and home economics meetings as far back as 1916, and yearbooks documenting the activities of the organization between 1932 and 1995. Also of interest are the records from the African American component of the organization established on a statewide level in 1940, which was known as the “State Federation of Negro Home Demonstration Clubs.” In 1966 the two associations were integrated and renamed the North Carolina Extension Homemakers Association, which continues to operate today.

From the Archives: A Culinary Lens to Segregation

This post is the 9th in a series from the Triangle Research Libraries Network’s CCC project, digitizing more than 40 archival collections related to the long civil rights movement from four area institutions.  For more on this digitization project, click here.

Rencher Nicholas Harris Papers, Box 4, Folder 4, scan 71: Durham City Schools – Cafeteria System, Revenue and Expense, Year Ended June 30, 1959 (rnhms01004071).

Rencher Nicholas Harris was Durham’s first African American city councilman as well as a member of the Board of Education and the Secretary for the Board of Directors of Lincoln Hospital.  His papers, collected at the Rubenstein Library and now digitized through a collaborative TRLN large-scale digitization project, cover the scope of his civic efforts from public health to transit planning. The document shown here from the Harris collection is a budgetary analysis of Durham school cafeterias in 1959, yet it is also a prime example of how civic documents demonstrate racial realities.

At first glance, the document lists the budgets of all of the public school cafeterias in Durham, separated into white and “negro” categories.  Examine the figures more closely and the depth of racism in the school segregation policy becomes clear.  For example, compare the operation expenses of white Durham High and African-American Hillside High ($68,475.27 to $39,346.22, respectively).  In addition, the white schools show a net income of $6,205.02 versus the net monetary loss of the African American schools of $4,638.23.  These statistics present a strong quantitative case against the “separate but equal” doctrine that legally supported Jim Crow laws.  One must remain cautious at overusing the figures given above without further contextual evidence.  Fortunately, such context is provided in the digitization of the Rencher Nicholas Harris papers. With Harris’ entire collection online, researchers now have the opportunity to determine the full significance of these statistical witnesses to inequality.

By Josh Hager, CCC Graduate Research Assistant at Duke

From the NECD Community VOICE: Thank You, Pauli Murray

From our friends at the Northeast Central Durham Community VOICE comes a moving article about civil rights activist Pauli Murray.

Murray, who moved to Durham, North Carolina, at age three, was the first African American woman to be ordained as an Episcopal priest. She was valedictorian of her class at Howard University Law School, and, twenty years later, became the first African American to be awarded a Doctor of Juridical Science degree from Yale University Law School. She worked tirelessly throughout her career to dismantle the Jim Crow system and advance the struggle for civil rights and equality.

Visit the VOICE’s website to read much more about Murray and the ways in which Durham residents continue to honor her many contributions.

In addition to organizing protests and sit-ins and authoring several compelling works, Murray was a founding member of the National Organization for Women (NOW). The Winter Park Institute at Rollins College will mark NOW’s 45th anniversary with a series of events this weekend (visit the events page for more information).

Check out Anne Firor Scott’s edited volume, Pauli Murray and Caroline Ware: Forty Years of Letters in Black and White  (UNC Press, 2009), for further reading.