Avery Research Center

Eugene C. Hunt Papers, 1834 - 1994

Eugene C. Hunt

Eugene C. Hunt graduated from the Avery Normal School and went on to Talladega College, where he received a Degree in English in 1940. He earned a Master's Degree in Theater from Northwestern University in 1954 and continued with postgraduate study in Speech and Education. Mr. Hunt taught English and Speech at Burke High School in Charleston from 1941 to 1972. In 1972, he became an Assistant Professor of English and Speech at the College of Charleston, moving up to Associate Professor in 1985. He taught at the College until his retirement in 1992.

This collection contains numerous diverse materials that follow Mr. Hunt's interests and activities, especially education and African-American activism, Burke High School, and the College of Charleston. Materials include correspondence, pamphlets, periodicals, photographs, and other document and manuscript materials.

This collection was digitized and made freely accessible online through the generous support of the National Historical Publications & Records Commission

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Charleston Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Papers, 1920-1995

The Charleston Branch of the NAACP

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was started on February 12, 1909, partly in response to the prevalence of lynching of African-Americans in America and the 1908 race riot that occurred in Springfield, Illinois. The Charleston Branch of the NAACP was founded in February 1917 by Edwin Harleston. The branch was established to advocate for the rights of African Americans in South Carolina and Charleston. The Charleston NAACP serves as a space for African-Americans to make complaints against discriminatory practices; and to challenge social and economic inequalities. In addition, they spearheaded voter registration and education campaigns.

The Charleston Branch of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) collection contains documents, manuscripts, periodicals, and pamphlets regarding branch and committee correspondence, financial records, materials relating to events and programs sponsored by the Association, branch newsletters, advertising flyers, and other outreach material.

This collection was digitized and made freely available online through the generous support of the National Historical Publications & Records Commission.

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J. Arthur Brown Papers, 1937 - 1988

J. Arthur Brown (1914-1988)

J. Arthur Brown was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1914. After graduating from the Avery Institute in 1932 he continued his education at South Carolina State College in Orangeburg, SC graduating in 1937. While at SCSC, Brown met his future wife MaeDe Esperanza Myers (1918-2012), marrying in 1940. The couple had three daughters: MaeDe Joenelle Gordon, Minerva King, and Dr. Millicent Brown; and on son, Myles Gregory Brown. Mr. Brown moved back to Charleston where he became a businessman working as a real estate and insurance broker. He became affiliated with the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Brown worked his way to becoming the president of the Charleston chapter of the NAACP in 1955. As president of the local chapter of the NAACP, Mr. Brown led a concerted effort to fight segregation in the public sphere and other issues in the African American civil rights movement. Mr. Brown was also a member on the Voorhees College Board of Trustees, member of the Mu Alpha Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, and a member of the South Carolina Democratic Party. In the 1970’s Mr. Brown was a co-founder and office holder of the Committee on Better Racial Assurance (COBRA).

The “J. Arthur Brown Papers, 1937 – 1989” predominantly consist of correspondence detailing Brown’s work within the Civil Rights movement, largely during his term as President of the NAACP. Additional materials include photographs, pamphlets, and periodicals.

This collection was digitized and made freely available online through the generous support of the National Historical Publications & Records Commission.

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Bernice Robinson Papers, 1920-1989

Bernice Robinson Papers, 1920-1989

The Bernice Robinson Papers, 1920-1989 provide information regarding Robinson's role as a teacher and social activist for voter education, adult literacy, child development, and social work. Contents include biographical papers, writings and talks, correspondence, and affiliations. Biographical papers include transcripts of her oral history interview. Her correspondence includes letters from Guy and Candie Carawan, Andrew Young, Jr., Myles Horton, Septima P. Clark, among others. Robinson accumulated records that document her professional affiliations with organizations such as the Highlander School, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, South Carolina Commission for Farm Workers, Child Development Associate Consortium, Governors Committee on Child Development, Daycare and Child Development Council of America, and the New Readers Press’ “Be Informed” educational pamphlet series, among others. Robinson's political papers include correspondence and campaign materials regarding her candidacy to the South Carolina House of Representatives.

Periodical resources include selections from the “Highlander Reports,” the Wisconsin Office of Economic Opportunity’s newsletter entitled, “OEO,” “Race Relations Reporter,” among others.

Bernice Robinson attended the University of Wisconsin Center for Action on Poverty Technicians Training Program and accumulated a variety of records that pertain to this program. This education led to Robinson’s employment with Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA)–better known today as AmeriCorps Vista–which is heavily documented, providing an insight into this organization’s early operations via job postings, monthly reports, correspondence with subordinates and volunteers, and project proposals.

This collection was digitized and made freely accessible online through the generous support of the National Historical Publications & Records Commission

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Walter Pantovic Slavery and African American History Collection

Slave Bill of Sale

The Walter Pantovic Slavery and African American History Collection contains documents and images that reflect African American history primarily in the United States. Walter Pantovic was a Yugoslavian immigrant with an interest in Black history, in particular the history of Slavery and the Civil War. Highlights from this collection include slave bills of sale, glass slides, abolitionist memorabilia, and printed materials from the 18th century to the 20th century.

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Somebody Had To Do It

Emma Harvin

The “Somebody Had to Do It” project is a multidisciplinary research project documenting the experience of the first African American children to attend formerly all-White schools through video oral histories. The Project takes its name from the often-stated response of the no longer young activists who stepped forward, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, to end educational apartheid.  More oral histories from the project will be added as transcriptions are completed.

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Avery Normal Institute

Avery Normal Institute Class of 1911

Founded in 1865, the Avery Normal Institute provided education and advocacy for the growing Charleston African American community and trained blacks for professional careers and leadership roles. Although the Institute closed its doors in 1954, it graduates preserved the legacy of their alma mater by establishing the Avery Institute of Afro-American History and Culture.  This collection includes photographs of classes, extra-curricular activities, and reunions.  Also, included are documents regarding activities presented and sponsored by the Avery Normal Institute.

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Esau Jenkins Papers, 1963-2003

Esau Jenkins Papers, 1963-2003

Esau Jenkins (1910-1972) was born and raised on Johns Island, South Carolina. With very little formal education, he became a businessman and civil rights leader. Jenkins founded the Progressive Club in 1948, which encouraged local African Americans to register to vote, through the aid of Citizenship Schools, a topic he was educated in by his attendance at Highlander Folk Center in Tennessee. In 1959, he organized the Citizens' Committee of Charleston County dedicated to the economic, cultural and political improvement of local African Americans.

Printed material, correspondence, photographic materials, and literary productions (1963-2003) document the life and works of Esau Jenkins (1910-1972). Writings holds miscellaneous correspondence and notes and printed versions of his talks and writings. Affiliations contains correspondence, brochures, notes, and other data on variety of organizations he helped found or was a member of, including the Progressive Club, Citizen's Committee of Charleston, Community Organization Credit Union, Political Action Committee of Charleston County, Political Awareness League of Charleston County, and the Highlander Folks Center. Topics mentioned include the 1969 Charleston Hospital Worker's strike, and the protested death of a young African American, Robert Brown, killed by a white policeman in 1970.

This collection was digitized and made freely accessible online through the generous support of the National Historical Publications & Records Commission.

 

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Philip Simmons Collection

Philip Simmons with ironwork

Philip Simmons (1912-2009) was an African American blacksmith and artisan specializing in the craft of ironwork in Charleston, South Carolina. Simmons spent seventy-seven years crafting utilitarian and ornamental ironwork. His work is recognized within the state of South Carolina, nationally, and internationally.  This collection, donated by the Philip Simmons Foundation, holds personal papers with photographs and business related documents from 1977-2007. The bulk of materials feature preparatory graphite drawings (originals and photocopies) of commissioned works and estimates of Simmons' decorative ironwork (1984-2004, and undated).

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William McCarthy and Martin Barbeau Collection

William McCarthy and Martin Barbeau Collection

The William McCarthy and Martin Barbeau Collection is comprised of artifacts from various origin. The objects are primarily decorative currency, such as bracelets and anklets. Places of origin include Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), Nigeria, Togo, Zambia, Niger, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, and Ghana.

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