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African Americans in Durham, NC in the Rubenstein Library

Collections Documenting Black Life in the Bull City

Personal Papers

  • Leslie Brown papers, 1936-2010 - There is also extensive information regarding her professional interest in African-American history and the preparation of oral histories, especially those related to the Behind the Veil project at Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies. Her first book, Upbuilding Black Durham: Gender, Class, and Black Community Development in the Jim Crow South, won the Organization of American Historians' Frederick Jackson Turner Award. 
  • Helen G. Edmonds papers, 1951-1994 - African-American educator and historian; professor of history at N.C. Central University, Durham, N.C. Collection contains primarily correspondence and printed materials, including speeches, clippings, and photocopies. 
  • Miles Mark Fisher funeral order of service, 1970 December, 18 - Miles Mark Fisher was born on October 29, 1899 in Atlanta, Georgia. He was an African American, a historian, an author, as well as a minister at White Rock Baptist Church in Durham, N.C. 
  • John Hope Franklin papers, 1891-2010 - Dr. John Hope Franklin was a renowned scholar of the African American experience in the American South. From 1943-1947, Franklin and his wife Aurelia were residents of Durham, where he was professor at North Carolina College (now North Carolina Central University) when he wrote his  work, From Slavery to Freedom: The Negro in the Americas (1947). Aurelia also worked as a librarian at the North Carolina College law library during that time. They returned to Durham in 1979 and John Hope Franklin was appointed as the James B. Duke professor of History at Duke University in 1980. Both were involved in community and civic organizations throughout their lives in Durham.
  • Rencher Nicholas Harris papers, 1851-1980 (digitized content) - African American civic leader during the period following the Brown decision of 1954 and the Civil Rights Movement. Harris was the first African American city councilman in Durham, N.C., and the first black man to sit on the Durham County Board of Education.
  • Charles N. Hunter papers, 1850s-1932 (digitized content) - Black educator, journalist, and reformer from Raleigh, North Carolina. he material discusses and illuminates the problems experienced by emancipated blacks during Reconstruction and into the early 20th century, encompassing agriculture, business, race relations, reconstruction, education, politics, voting rights, and economic improvement for African Americans. Other topics include Durham and Raleigh, N.C. history.
  • Eric Daniel Moore papers, 1946-1963 - Collection contains a draft entitled "North Carolina Library Legislation," apparently written by D.E. Moore, dean of the School of Library Science, North Carolina College at Durham in the 1950s. Includes miscellaneous notes and forms concerning the status of African-Americans in Durham.
  • Gwendolyn M. Parker, 1967-1998 - Gwendolyn M. Parker is an author and memoirist whose work has chronicled the experience of the black middle class in America. She was born in Durham and lived in the Hay-Ti section of Durham until 1960 when she moved with her family to Mount Vernon, New York. 
  • William Gaston Pearson scrapbook, 1913-1976 - Scrapbook of clippings and printed material which reflect the career and business accomplishments and life of William Pearson, 
  • Fannie B. Rosser papers, 1860s-1973 - Correspondence, legal and financial papers, printed materials, and photographs document the personal relationships and professional activities of Rosser, a successful single African American businesswoman.
  • Clydie F. Scarborough papers, 1918-1984 - The collection documents, in part, the work of Mrs. Scarborough to provide effective and healthy daycare for African-American children in Durham, N.C.
  • Asa and Elna Spaulding papers 1934-1984 (digitized content) - The Asa and Elna Spaulding Papers, 1909-1997 and undated, bulk 1935-1983, document an African American family's lifelong involvement in the business, political, educational, religious, and social life of Durham, N.C.
  • Charles Clinton (CC) Spaulding papers, 1889-1990 - President of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, 1923-1952. NC Mutual is the oldest currently active African American-owned insurance company in the United States, founded in 1898 and headquartered in Durham, North Carolina.
  • Earl E. Thorpe papers, 1942-1990 - Primarily, materials in the collection address Thorpe's work at North Carolina Central University (formerly North Carolina College), and his tenure as visiting professor at Harvard and Duke universities. Topics include student activism, teaching, racial and departmental politics on campus, and the development of viable African American Studies programs.
  • Charles DeWitt Watts papers, 1917-2004 - panning the period of 1917 to 2004, the Charles DeWitt Watts Papers contain files related to Watts's education, family, community activities, centered in Durham, N.C., and his career as a surgeon, administrator, and trustee on several boards.