Avery Research Center

Isaiah Bennett Papers, ca. 1932-2002

Isaiah Bennett Papers, ca. 1932-2002
Isaiah Bennett (1926-2002) served as a union representative for tobacco workers at the American Tobacco Company's "Cigar Factory" and as a leader and negotiator of the Charleston Hospital Workers' Strike of 1969. Bennett also founded and was president of the Charleston chapter of the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, an umbrella organization for black trade unions.
 
The digitized portions of the Isaiah Bennett Papers, ca. 1932-2002 predominantly consist of correspondence and photographs of Bennett’s campaign for Charleston County Council, biographical materials, A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI) materials, amendments to the 1977 Fair Labor Standards Act, ALF-CIO Club materials, and a 1979 South Carolina Democratic Party resolution regarding the state minimum wage.
 
This collection was digitized and made freely available online through the generous support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
 

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Keith and Charlotte Otterbein Collection

Keith and Charlotte Otterbein Collection

The Keith and Charlotte Otterbein collection contains straw objects obtained while doing ethnographic work in Nassau, Bahamas between 1959 and 1987. Many of the items in this collection were made by individual Bahamian craftswomen (also called "plaiters") who maintained their independence in the straw industry, while four were sold in the Nassau straw market, thus likely mass produced. The light colored plaits of these objects are made of cabbage palm, and the dark colored plaits are coconut straw.

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Lowcountry Fish and Shrimp Nets

Lowcountry Fish and Shrimp Nets

Cast net fishing is a significant part of history in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Africans transported to the Lowcountry, later known as the Gullah people, brought with them skills in boating and fishing. Seafood was plentiful on the South Carolina coast and barrier islands (sea islands) and made up a large part of the diet, just as on the west coast of Africa. The process used for catching fish and shellfish was a cast net. When the net is thrown, the mesh forms a circle, flattening out like a plate. The line is then pulled in, closing the net and trapping everything in it. Usually several people in fishing communities know how to weave and knot the nets; however, it is a skilled art form that has its roots in Africa.

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Edwin A. Harleston Collection

Edwin A. Harleston Collection

The Edwin A. Harleston collection contains three original paintings by African American artist and community activist Edwin "Teddy" Harleston (1882-1931) of Charleston, South Carolina. The pieces are representative of the early twentieth-century artists famous portraits and landscapes of the South Carolina Lowcountry.

Edwin A. "Teddy" Harleston (1882-1931) was an African American artist and community activist in Charleston, South Carolina. A graduate of Avery Normal Institute and member of Plymouth Congregational Church, he founded the Charleston chapter of the NAACP in 1917 and served as first president of the organization. His father, Captain Edwin G. Harleston (1854-1931), opened Harleston Funeral Home in 1917, and duo ran this business until their deaths in 1931.

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Fulbright-Hays Trip Collection

Fulbright-Hays Trip Collection

In 2008, Curtis J. Franks travelled to West Africa as a participant in the Fulbright-Hays program under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Education to explore historical and cultural connections between people of African descent in the Lowcountry and Africans in the Mano River Region (Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Ivory Coast), where the artifacts in this collection were acquired.

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