Skip to Main Content

Durham and Local History at the Rubenstein Library

This guide will help you research Durham history using primary source materials held at the Rubenstein Library

Collections from Organizations and Individuals

American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Records, 1960-2020
North Carolina affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, founded in 1965 and based in Raleigh. The files provide documentation on nearly all aspects of the organization's operations, primarily focusing on the investigation of cases related to civil rights and many related issues, the legal prosecution of cases, public education relating to civil liberties, and lobbying for civil liberties and human rights. While Raleigh-based, the ACLU of NC has worked on cases, all over the state, including in Durham.

Carolina Justice Policy Center records, 1936, 1948, 1952-2017, bulk 1970-2017
The Carolina Justice Policy Center (CJPC) was a nonprofit organization founded in 1975 under the name Prison and Jail Project in Durham, North Carolina, whose primary mission was criminal justice reform in North Carolina. The collection comprises CJPC's office files and records documenting its staff and activities over the span of four decades, as well as the work of other local, regional, and national organizations.

Mandy Carter Papers, 1970-2013
Mandy Carter is a self-described "southern out black lesbian social justice activist." Since 1968 she has been involved in peace, social, racial and LGBT organizing at the local, state, regional, and national levels. She has been based in Durham, N.C., since 1982. The Mandy Carter Papers span the dates 1970 to 2013 and include files related to her work as a grassroots organizer and multi-issue social justice activist.

Center for Death Penalty Litigation Records, 1953 - Present
The Center for Death Penalty Litigation is a Durham-based non-profit law firm that represents inmates on North Carolina's death row. Its work often involves the investigation of racism and the judicial process, and the treatment of people with mental disabilities charged with crimes in North Carolina. One case in the Case Files Series, Phillip Thomas Robbins, Jr., 1982-1992, occurred specifically in Durham.

Teresa El-Amin Papers, 1960s-2010
Activist and union organizer who was involved with many organizations, local and nationally. In the Durham area, she's worked with the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People (1999-2010), the Durham NAACP (2000-2010), and in 1998, she helped to found the Southern Anti-Racism Network (SARN), which has worked on local issues like the education gap and passing an anti-sweatshop ordinance in the City of Durham.

El Pueblo, Inc. Records, 1994-2020
El Pueblo Inc. is a non-profit organization based in Raleigh, NC that serves and supports the Latin American community of North Carolina through advocacy work, programs in Latino culture, health, public safety, and youth leadership. This collection contains photographs and other media documenting their events, relevant newspaper clippings collected by the organization, and administrative files related to the management and operation of the organization.

Inside-Outside Alliance records, 2012-2019
Collection includes zines, newsletters, flyers, posters, banners, and a petition which document Inside-Outside Alliance's activism concerning the Durham County Jail and policing in Durham, North Carolina. This collection also documents the stories of Durham County Jail detainees and community members.

Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice Center records
The Pauli Murray Center is a non-profit organization located in Pauli Murray's childhood home in Durham, NC. The Pauli Murray Center records collection include both community projects and oral history projects from undergraduate courses offered by Duke University through the Center for Documentary Studies and the Franklin Humanities Institute. Contents also include various projects documenting Parrish Street/Black Wall Street in Durham, mapping and documenting civil rights/human rights in Durham, the Still Walking for Justice March, Conferences, Fellowship Proposals, LGBT Activism, and a Brown v. Board of Education anniversary exhibit.

Joan Preiss Papers, 1970-2006
Community and labor movement organizer in Durham, N.C.; chair of the Triangle Friends of the United Farm Workers; board member of the National Farm Worker Ministry; member of the Farmworker Ministry Commission, N.C. Council of Churches. Materials in this collection represent both Joan Preiss's personal papers as well as organizational materials from the various groups that she worked with throughout her career. Heavily represented are the activities of the Triangle Friends of the United Farm Workers, which Preiss managed from her house in Durham, N.C.

Student Action with Farmworkers records
Founded in 1992 in Durham, North Carolina, Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring students and farmworkers together to learn about each other's lives, share resources and skills, improve conditions for farmworkers, and build diverse coalitions working for social change. The SAF records comprise: correspondence; meeting agendas; student projects; reports, articles, and other publications; event files; teaching materials; photos; scrapbooks; ephemera; and other documentation of SAF's programs. Much of their work is in Eastern NC but there are some files on Durham.

Videos by Latina Women: New Visions of the Globalizing South, 2003
Videos and field notes created by students in 2003, in the CDS Continuing Education course "Visual Storytelling" in collaboration with 8 recently-arrived Latina immigrant women living in the Durham area.

Video for Social Change Oral History collection, 2014
Video for Social Change was a documentary film course taught by Bruce Orenstein at the Center for Documentary Studies in the spring of 2014. The collection includes eight interviews, with North Carolina social justice activists James Andrews, Rukiya Dillahunt, Anita Earls, Angaza Laughinghouse, Dani Moore, Allison Riggs, Melinda Wiggins, and Mel Williams