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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.