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The Black Freedom Struggle in the 20th Century, Organizational Records and Personal Papers, Part 1

The Black Freedom Struggle in the 20th Century, Organizational Records and Personal Papers, Part 1

The Organizational Records and Personal Papers bring a new perspective to the Black Freedom Struggle via the records of major civil rights organizations and personal papers of leaders and observers of the 20th century Black freedom struggle.The three major civil rights organizations are the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, and the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs. Papers of civil rights leaders included in this module are those of the civil rights and labor leader A. Philip Randolph; the long-time civil rights activist and organizer of the March on Washington, Bayard Rustin, and the papers of the pioneering educator Mary McLeod Bethune. Through records of Claude A. Barnett’s Associated Negro Press, this module also branches out to cover other aspects of African American life in the 20th century, like  religion, sports, education, fraternal organizations, and even the field of entertainment.


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Oral Histories

A bit more about Module 2

The Mary McLeod Bethune Papers document the life of one of the most influential African Americans in the quarter century from 1930-1955, founder of Bethune-Cookman College, president of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, founder and president of the National Council of Negro Women, member of the National Youth Administration during the New Deal, and founder of the Federal Council on Negro Affairs (the so-called “Black Cabinent”; 

Records of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs (NACWC), the oldest African American women’s organization in the United States, feature documents on the state and local affiliates of the NACWC, publications of the organization’s national office, minutes from the NACWC’s national convention from 1895-1992, and materials on important civic leaders like Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, Mary Talbert, Mary Church Terrell, Margaret Murray (Mrs. Booker T. Washington), Mary McLeod Bethune, Jennie Moton (Mrs. Robert Moton), Hallie Quinn Brown, and Daisy Lampkin;

Records of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the organization led by Martin Luther King Jr. during the highpoint of the civil rights struggle, includes field reports from civil rights activists at the front lines of the movement, correspondence with SNCC, NAACP, and other groups, fundraising and financial records, public relations materials, and background files on many of SCLC’s most important projects that contributed to the very definition of the modern civil rights movement.

The Black Power Movement: Papers of the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), allows researchers an opportunity to study the organization’s philosophy of revolutionary black nationalism, as well as its relationship to other important black power philosophers and organizations like Malcolm X, Robert F. Williams, James and Grace Lee Boggs, the Black Panther Party, African People’s Congress, and Republic of New Africa.

Bayard Rustin Papers cover the man who spent almost fifty years fighting for civil rights and was an important behind the scenes adviser to A. Philip Randolph and Martin Luther King Jr. One of the most important series in this collection are the files detailing Rustin’s pivotal role in the preparations for the the 1963 March on Washington.