The “Bernice Robinson Papers, 1920-1989” Are Available on the LCDL!

It is with tremendous pleasure that we at the Lowcountry Digital Library (LCDL) bring 4.75 linear feet of records from the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture's “Bernice Robinson Papers, 1920-1989” providing insight into Robinson’s unique involvement with civil rights activism.

Bernice Violanthe Robinson, born in 1914 in Charleston, South Carolina, to James C. and Martha Elizabeth Robinson. Professionally, she was a trained cosmetologist, Secretary and Chairperson of Membership for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and Citizenship School teacher on John’s Island, South Carolina. Additionally, she was trained in and appointed to a position with the Community Action Program, of the Office of Economic Opportunity as well as supervisor for Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), now known as AmeriCorps VISTA. Simply put, her professional life was devoted to helping those in need.

The digitized portions of this archival collection shed light on the history of civil rights, through the records created and accumulated by Robinson. Included in this digitized collection are biographical papers, writings, talks, lectures, speeches, correspondence, pamphlets, booklets, and photographs. Individuals and organizations affiliated with this collection are Bethel United Methodist Church (Charleston, S.C.), Candie and Guy Carawan, Septima P. Clark, James Clyburn, Community Action Program, Yonges Island Day Care Centers, Highlander Folk School, Myles Horton, Esau Jenkins, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., NAACP, Charles Ravenel, South Carolina Commission for Farm Workers, Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and Volunteers in Service to America.

Items that highlight the collection include correspondence between Peter Mark Kariuki Wachira, Bishop of Mtakatifu Roho Israel Church of Kenya, and Bernice Robinson wherein they discuss their unique perspectives of Christianity from South Carolina and Kenya, a copy of “The SCLC Story in Words and Pictures," a copy of the program for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Obsequies, extensive administrative records regarding the Community Action Program.

Thanks to the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) grant program, the LCDL has been and will continue the on-going digitization project dealing specifically with records regarding civil rights activism within the archival collections at the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture. With that, we greatly look forward to bringing the next collection to you soon!

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