Category Archives: TRLN CCC Project

behindtheveil

North Carolina Interviews added to Behind the Veil Digital Collections

The John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture is pleased to announce the addition of 310 oral history interviews to the Behind the Veil Digital Collection. The addition to the collection documents the lives of African Americans from the state of North Carolina who lived through the era of Jim Crow in the Charlotte, Durham, Endfield, New Bern and Wilmington areas. The digitization efforts were made possible by the Triangle Research Libraries Network’s Content, Context and Capacity grant project to document the Long Civil Rights Movement in the state. Researchers now have access over 400 digitized interviews from the collection from states throughout the American South.

behindtheveil

To listen to the digitized interviews please visit – http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/behindtheveil/

To view the entire collection, please visit – http://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/findingaids/btv/

To learn more about the making of digital collection, please visit the Digital Collections blog: http://blogs.library.duke.edu/bitstreams/2014/02/07/announcing-310-new-behind-the-veil-interviews-and-a-new-blog/

For more information, contact, John B. Gartrell, Director, Franklin Research Center.

Map of Durham, Duke Power Company, May 1, 1948. From the Rencher Nicholas Harris Papers.

Eight New Digital Collections on Civil Rights

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.

This inter-institutional collaborative project of Duke, UNC Chapel Hill, NC State, and NC Central is digitizing 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.

In total, all four institutions will digitize over 350,000 documents. Duke’s share of that total is approximately 66,000 scans from eight archival collections from the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. 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.

Check out the gallery of selected documents digitized as part of the project (click to enlarge) and browse each of the eight collection’s finding aids, now containing the embedded digitized documents, below.

Collection descriptions and links to finding aids (containing digitized materials):

  1. Charles N. Hunter Papers, 1850s-1932 and undated: An educator and reformer ahead of his time, Charles N. Hunter’s papers feature valuable writings and speeches as well as correspondence with many luminaries, including Booker T. Washington.
  2. Asa and Elna Spaulding Papers, 1909-1997 and undated, bulk 1935-1983: Elna Spaulding was a Durham civic leader who served as a County Commissioner and as the present of Women-in-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes. Her papers include correspondence and records of her civic life with many organizations.
  3. Women-In-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes, Inc. (WIAPVC) Durham Chapter records, 1968-1998: Founded by Elna Spaulding in 1968, the WIAPVC is an organization dedicated to community improvement. Its records document both its successful projects and its fund-raising challenges.
  4. Basil Lee Whitener Papers, 1889-1968: Basil Lee Whitener was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1957 to 1968 from Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. His papers document his opposition to civil rights legislation as well as his activities as a member of the House Judiciary Committee.
  5. Rencher Nicholas Harris Papers, 1851-1980 and undated, bulk 1926-1965: Rencher Nicholas Harris was Durham’s first African-American city councilman. His papers document a myriad of local issues in the 1950s, including segregated schools, health care, and zoning laws.
  6. Allen Building Takeover Collection, 1969-2002: This collection documents the events and the remembrances of the February 1969 Allen Building Takeover, during which students occupied Duke’s administrative building demanding improvement of African-American life on campus and skirmishes between sympathizers and the police on the quad became violent.
  7. Black Student Alliance Records, 1969-2006: The Black Student Alliance is a Duke African-American student advocacy organization. Its records include evidence of the organization’s projects as well as their publications and compiled scrapbooks illustrating student life.
  8. Department of African and African American Studies Records, 1966-1981: These records trace the development of the Black Studies Program into a full-fledged academic department. In addition, the records contain evidence of radical political thought in the 1970s.

Researchers will find a great deal of material to analyze in these eight collections. The CCC staff encourages you to 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.

The grant-funded CCC Project is designed to digitize selected manuscripts and photographs relating to the long civil rights movement. Funding is provided by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division on the Department of Cultural Resources. For more about Rubenstein Library materials being digitized through the CCC Project, check out previous progress updates posted here at The Devil’s Tale!

Post contributed by Josh Hager, CCC Graduate Assistant.

booker-t-washington-autograph

Digitizing the LCRM Update #10: A Project Milestone and an Iconic Signature

In this month’s Digitizing the Long Civil Rights Movement update, we are happy to announce that initial scanning for all of Duke’s manuscript content in the Content, Context, and Capacity Project is complete. Over 66,000 scans are now either published or are being processed to enable publication as soon as possible. We encourage you to check out the CCC Content Page as a portal for looking at all of Duke’s CCC Collections as well as those digitized by NC State, UNC-Chapel Hill, and NC Central. Meanwhile, we are beginning work on digitizing the audio oral histories from North Carolina found in the Behind the Veil Collection, which will be our primary focus during the upcoming third year of the grant.

For our collection highlight this month, we turn to the Charles N. Hunter Papers. Born to enslaved parents in Raleigh in 1851, Hunter would go on to become one of the most prominent African-American educators and advocates in North Carolina. Aside from industrial activism and prolific writings, Hunter served as a teacher and principal at several schools, mostly in the Triangle and its environs. As part of that work, he corresponded with the Tuskegee Institute and its founder, Booker T. Washington.

Letter, Booker T. Washington to Charles N. Hunter, July 7, 1914.  Charles N. Hunter Papers
Letter, Booker T. Washington to Charles N. Hunter, July 7, 1914. Charles N. Hunter Papers, Box 2, Folder 2, Item ID: cnhms02002037. Click to enlarge.

The letter shown here is from Booker T. Washington to Charles N. Hunter. Written in 1914, it concerns a project, led by Hunter, concerned with building rural schools for African-Americans throughout the South. Hunter worked with Washington and the Tuskegee Institute for this project and continued to correspond with the institute after Washington’s death in November 1915. Given Hunter’s work with Washington, it is appropriate that the last school at which he served as a principal was Booker T. Washington School in Johnston County.

The Charles N. Hunter Papers, and other CCC Collections, will be published in the coming months.

For more information on the CCC Project, please visit our website or like us on Facebook.

The grant-funded CCC Project is designed to digitize selected manuscripts and photographs relating to the long civil rights movement. For more about Rubenstein Library materials being digitized through the CCC Project, check out previous progress updates posted here at The Devil’s Tale!

Post contributed by Josh Hager, CCC Project Graduate Assistant.

chronicle#1-02-16-1969

Digitizing the LCRM Update #9: Remembering the Allen Building Takeover

This month’s Digitizing the Long Civil Rights Movement update pauses to look back into Duke’s own past struggles with racial equality.  On February 13, 1969, students in the Afro-American Society occupied the Allen Building where the university’s primary administration offices were (and still are) located.  These students demanded that Duke take steps to enact racial equality on campus, including the founding of an African-American Studies department, the hiring of more African-American professors, and the establishment of an African-American cultural center on campus.  Similar demands had been made before from members of the Black Studies Program, as featured in our fourth update in this blog series.

What distinguished the Allen Building Takeover from the previous efforts for reform was its forcefulness—on both sides of the debate.  The Takeover marked the first such occupation by students in Duke’s history.  The administration’s response also became notable for what some members of the student body perceived to be its brutality.  Police officers dispatched to the scene used tear gas to disperse a crowd that had gathered around the building, leading to a “riot” on the main quad of West Campus.

Photos from <i>The Chronicle</i>, February 16, 1969.

Photos from <i>The Chronicle</i>, February 16, 1969.
Both photos from The Chronicle, February 16, 1969.
Allen Building Takeover Collection, Box 1, Folder 10: abtms01010035

In the wake of the Takeover, students rallied to enact the suggested agenda of the original occupiers.  Eventually, most of the demands did become standard practice at Duke, but the change occurred more gradually than what the galvanized student body had wanted in February 1969.  The items selected above are from a photo essay published by The Chronicle (Duke’s independent student newspaper) that encapsulated the events of Takeover.

We are happy to announce that the Allen Building Takeover Collection and its wealth of primary documents and remembrances of the important event will soon become available online to researchers.

For more information on the Content, Context, and Capacity Project for Digitizing the LCRM, please visit our website or like us on Facebook.

The grant-funded CCC Project is designed to digitize selected manuscripts and photographs relating to the long civil rights movement. For more about Rubenstein Library materials being digitized through the CCC Project, check out previous progress updates posted here at The Devil’s Tale

Post contributed by Josh Hager, CCC Graduate Assistant.

Dried rose with correspondence, Asa Spaulding to Elna Bridgeforth, circa December 1931.  Asa and Elna Spaulding Papers, Box EC-4, Folder 3:  esgms04003022

Digitizing the LCRM Update #8 – A Preserved Love Story

Dried rose with correspondence, Asa Spaulding to Elna Bridgeforth, circa December 1931.  Asa and Elna Spaulding Papers, Box EC-4, Folder 3:  esgms04003022
Dried rose with correspondence, Asa Spaulding to Elna Bridgeforth, circa December 1931. Asa and Elna Spaulding Papers, Box EC-4, Folder 3: esgms04003022

Elna Spaulding is a central figure in the materials that Duke has digitized for the Content, Context, and Capacity Grant.  The records of the Women-in-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes, an organization that Mrs. Spaulding founded and led from 1968 until 1974, are available now.  In addition, all of Mrs. Spaulding’s personal papers have been digitized and will shortly become available for viewing.

In anticipation of both the publication of Elna Spaulding’s myriad professional accomplishments and Valentine’s Day, this month’s update focuses on the personal connections underlying the accomplished careers of Elna and Asa Spaulding. In the years prior to their wedding on June 24, 1933, Asa Spaulding and Elna Bridgeforth corresponded regularly.  The following two quotes are from letters that Mr. Spaulding sent to Miss Bridgeforth:

“I would not put you out of my life if I could, and I could if I would…Do you know the song: ‘I wouldn’t change you for the World.’  The words are quite significant.” (December 30, 1931)

“As I start out upon the first day of a New Year it is with thoughts of you and with [a] heart full of thanksgiving for what the past year has meant to us and with much anticipation as to what lies before us.  I wish I might look into the future and see.” (January 1, 1932)

Unfortunately, we do not have Elna Bridgeforth’s replies, but we know that she kept a rose that Asa gave her with one of these letters (pictured here) throughout her life.  We encourage readers to peruse the correspondence between the future Mr. and Mrs. Spaulding to gain a unique look into one of the most influential couples in the modern history of Durham.  You may even find inspiration for a Valentine’s Day note of your own.

Post contributed by Josh Hager, CCC Project Graduate Assistant.

Photograph taken by Jim Thornton for the Durham Herald-Sun, undated.

Digitizing the LCRM Update #7: A High-Caliber Holiday Photograph

As we approach the conclusion of 2012, the CCC Project at Duke is excited to announce that we have begun work with the last three manuscript collections that will undergo digitization for the grant.  Collection reviews of the Black Student Alliance Records, the Charles N. Hunter Papers, and the Allen Building Takeover Collection are underway.

At the same time, we are working on the finishing touches of the Elna Spaulding Papers, the largest collection that Duke is contributing to the CCC Project.  Look for more updates on these collections in upcoming blog posts on The Devil’s Tale.

For this month, we wanted to highlight a photograph that conveys the holiday spirit.  We recognize that it is the season for peace on Earth, good will toward all, and (toy) firearms.

Photograph taken by Jim Thornton for the Durham Herald-Sun, undated.
Photograph taken by Jim Thornton for the Durham Herald-Sun, undated. Women-in-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes Records, Box 11, Folder 1: wiams11001036

If we were giving out year-end awards for the CCC Project, this photograph has to win the “Most Ironic” trophy.  Normally, at this point, we would provide context that would explain exactly what this spokesman is trying to convey.  Unfortunately, all that we know about this photograph is that it appeared in the Durham Herald-Sun and the photographer was Jim Thornton.  The fact that this photograph appears in the Women-in-Action records indicates that the event was some sort of anti-violence demonstration that perhaps encouraged parents to avoid purchasing violent toys for Christmas.  However, this explanation is at best an educated hypothesis.

No matter the explanation, this photograph and the rest of the CCC materials are quite thought-provoking.  And our final thought for this update:  Happy Holidays from the CCC Staff!

To learn more about the CCC Project, please visit CCC on Facebook.

The grant-funded CCC Project is designed to digitize selected manuscripts and photographs relating to the long civil rights movement. For more about Rubenstein Library materials being digitized through the CCC Project, check out previous progress updates posted here at The Devil’s Tale

Post contributed by Josh Hager, CCC Graduate Assistant.

Issue of DRIVE Reporter, December 15, 1963, published by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.  Basil Lee Whitener Papers, Box 143, Folder 4:  blwms02004082

Digitizing the LCRM Update #6: The Importance of Context

In this month’s update of the Content, Context, and Capacity Project at Duke, we examine the context of an issue of the DRIVE Reporter, a publication of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.  The first page of this issue includes a memorial to President John F. Kennedy and an article about President Lyndon Johnson’s new call for Congress to act on civil rights legislation.  Immediately, two questions come to mind:  Why are these issues appearing in a labor union’s publication?  And why does this publication appear in the papers of Basil Lee Whitener, a Congressman from North Carolina?

Issue of DRIVE Reporter, December 15, 1963, published by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Basil Lee Whitener Papers, Box 143, Folder 4: blwms02004082

The first question ties to the stated mission of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.  Led by its controversial president Jimmy Hoffa, the Teamsters launched DRIVE (Democratic, Republican, Independent Voter Education) in 1959 to educate its members about labor issues and pending legislation.  Both the death of President Kennedy and Johnson’s proposals qualified as issues that would affect labor in the immediate future.  In addition, the Teamsters had fought for the equality of African-Americans in the workplace.  Thus, the inclusion of a story on civil rights legislation made sense in terms of the scope of the Teamsters’ mission.

Committee assignments explain why this publication appears in the papers of Basil Lee Whitener.  As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Whitener reviewed the federal trial of Jimmy Hoffa that occurred in 1964.  This publication, along with other Teamsters information, was gathered by Whitener and his staff as research files for the trial proceedings.  If Whitener had not been a member of that committee in 1964, the CCC Project would not have access to these rich Hoffa files.

To learn more about the CCC Project and how context plays a role in the history of the LCRM, please visit CCC on Facebook.

The grant-funded CCC Project is designed to digitize selected manuscripts and photographs relating to the long civil rights movement. For more about Rubenstein Library materials being digitized through the CCC Project, check out previous progress updates posted here at The Devil’s Tale

Post contributed by Josh Hager, CCC Graduate Assistant.

Political Advertisements, Undetermined Newspaper, [May 1949?]:  
Rencher Nicholas Harris Papers, Box 10, Folder 2.

Digitizing the LCRM: Update #5, Getting Out the Vote

With election fever infecting a large part of the country, it is only appropriate that this month’s featured documents from Duke’s CCC Project digitized collections are newspaper advertisements about voter turnout from the Rencher Nicholas Harris Papers.  What makes these documents particularly interesting—and disturbing—is the demographic group that they targeted:  white voters frightened about the perceived usurpation of power by an African-American voting bloc.

Political Advertisement, Undetermined Newspaper, [May 1949?]:
Rencher Nicholas Harris Papers, Box 10, Folder 2.
Political Advertisements, Undetermined Newspaper, [May 1949?]:
Rencher Nicholas Harris Papers, Box 10, Folder 2.
These advertisements likely appeared in one of Durham’s newspapers in the days before the local elections of May 1949.  I determined the probable date by looking at the other materials in the Harris Papers located near these clippings.  Two possible dates emerged—May 1949 and November 1956.  While both dates are plausible, the fact that the advertisements speak specifically to Durham’s leadership rather than a presidential or gubernatorial election makes 1949 more likely.  In addition, the fact that Election Day was a Saturday is another strike against 1956.  We encourage readers of this blog to decipher the exact date of these advertisements as well as their original newspaper(s) and the persons behind the generically-named “Public Spirited Citizens of the Community.”

Beyond determining the provenance of these advertisements, we anticipate that most readers will find these advertisements most interesting for their racial arguments.  The fears that undergirded these advertisements relied on the two-pronged belief that African-American voters would turn out in large numbers and that all of those voters would cast their ballots monolithically.  While the language in the advertisements is clearly prejudiced, its reliance upon believing that African-American leaders were successfully organizing get-out-the-vote efforts is an oddly-backhanded compliment to Harris and his political allies.  The language in these advertisements is ripe for further analysis, so we encourage our readers to dive in and become immersed in the racial and political history of Rencher Nicholas Harris’s time on the Durham City Council.

The grant-funded CCC Project is designed to digitize selected manuscripts and photographs relating to the long civil rights movement. For more about Rubenstein Library materials being digitized through the CCC Project, check out previous progress updates posted here at The Devil’s Tale

Post contributed by Josh Hager, CCC Graduate Assistant.

Draft Petition to Duke Administration Regarding Cultural Representation of the Black Community, 1979

Digitizing the LCRM: Duke’s Dept. of African & African-American Studies

In this month’s update of the CCC Project at Duke University, we are happy to announce the publication online of the records of Duke’s Department of African and African-American Studies.  The items included in this collection document the beginnings of the department, the research and teaching of its faculty members, and the various social and cultural movements occurring within the African-American community during the 1970s and later.  We encourage researchers to peruse the digitized documents, accessible from the collection inventory, to find a host of items sure to add to the scholarship of the long civil rights movement.

Our document spotlight for the month highlights the struggles that the African and African-American Studies Department, then known as the Black Studies Program, experienced in its earliest days.  From its inception in 1969, the Black Studies Program had been offering several courses through adjunct faculty.  Still, the Program lacked a director and its course slate remained minimal, although the Program did offer a major.

In addition, members of the African-American community at Duke contended that the university’s administration did not implement programs to encourage “black cultural representation.”  The document shown below is a draft petition from late 1979 written by members of the African-American community at Duke asking the administration to ameliorate both the academic and cultural issues that hampered the growth of the African-American community at the university.

Draft Petition to Duke Administration Regarding Cultural Representation of the Black Community, 1979
Draft Petition to Duke Administration Regarding Cultural Representation of the Black Community. Department of African and African-American Studies Records, Box 1, folder 30 (File ID daams01030169)

Although we do not have a completed petition in the Department’s records, the goals of the document did eventually become Duke’s policy.  University administration would create new standards to recruit more African-American faculty members.  In addition, the Program would soon become a fully-staffed Department.  In terms of cultural engagement, the establishment of the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture in 1983 helped to fulfill the demands listed in the petition.  Researchers will now have the opportunity to learn even more about the beginnings of African-American Studies at Duke and how struggles for recognition led to a strong academic and cultural presence on campus.

The grant-funded CCC Project is designed to digitize selected manuscripts and photographs relating to the long civil rights movement. For more about Rubenstein Library materials being digitized through the CCC Project, check out previous progress updates posted here at The Devil’s Tale

Post contributed by Josh Hager, CCC Graduate Assistant.

Letter, Patricia Nixon to Elna Spaulding

LCRM Update #3

Letter, Patricia Nixon to Elna Spaulding
Letter, Patricia Nixon to Elna Spaulding, June 30, 1969. Women-in-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes Records, Box 1, Folder 3 (File ID: wiams01003143).

 

In last month’s update  for the progress of the CCC Project at Duke, I discussed how an interest group tried to lobby Congress to oppose civil rights reform.  In that case, the National Restaurant Association lobbied Congress to block a piece of legislation that it felt would harm its members.  Contacting officials to enact desirable policies is certainly one of the most important activities of advocacy organizations, yet before lobbying can occur, an organization must become sustainable through fundraising.  This month, we take a look at the Women-in-Action for the Prevention of Violence Records and how that nascent organization contacted a wide array of individuals, corporations, and institutions to raise funds for their efforts to combat domestic violence and promote racial harmony.

The President of Women-in-Action, Mrs. Elna Spaulding, wrote letters to many of the luminaries of the late 1960s in her effort to garner funding.  Potential benefactors included the Eckert Corporation, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, financial firm Lehman Brothers, Coretta Scott King, the producers of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Senator Jesse Helms, and (pictured here) first lady Pat Nixon.  Many of the recipients did not respond; most responded like Mrs. Nixon, with well-wishes but no funding.  However, Mrs. Spaulding was successful enough to take her fledgling organization and make it into a major community actor in both Durham and elsewhere in North Carolina.  We encourage you to peruse the correspondence in the Women-in-Action Records to find out for yourself who gave to the cause.

The grant-funded CCC Project is designed to digitize selected manuscripts and photographs relating to the long civil rights movement. For more information on this project, including updates on the progress of digitization, please check out the CCC website. As part of the outreach efforts of the CCC Project, monthly blog posts to The Devil’s Tale will provide updates on the latest Rubenstein Library collections to be digitized for the project. Stay tuned!

Post contributed by Josh Hager, CCC Graduate Assistant