Summary

This guide identifies collections that contain content related to the Civil Rights Movement that spanned the mid-20th century in the United States. With the goal of gaining equal rights, Black Americans organized and protested against racial discrimination and inequality. The bulk of the movement occurred from the late 1940s through the 1970s. with issues focusing on business, education, legislation, politics, and public health. Collections especially relate to events within Wilmington and southeastern North Carolina with especial emphasis on school desgregation, equal access to public accomodations, equal employment, and voting rights. Material includes articles, correspondence, personal accounts, political and legal documents, publications, photographs, and memorabilia.

The Wilmington Coup of 1898 and the 1971 Wilmington Ten—significant events in the greater civil rights history of Wilmington—have been given their own subject guides. Firsthand accounts of the experiences of Black soldiers during World War II can be found in the WWII subject guide. Please refer to those individual pages, linked under Related Special Collections Subject Guides, for more information.

NOT PUBLISHED

Government Resources

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum Archives

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library is one of fourteen Presidential Libraries within the National Archives and Records Administration. The Library acquires, preserves, arranges, describes, and provides access to primary-source materials in all formats that document the life, career, and times of John F. Kennedy, as well as the work of the Kennedy administration and its impact on the public. Reference the "civil rights" subject when searching collections.

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Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library Holdings

The LBJ Presidential Library is one of 14 presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. Today, the library houses more than 45 million pages; an extensive audiovisual collection, including more than 650,000 photos and 5,000 hours of recordings; and, approximately 2,000 oral history interviews. The papers of Lyndon B. Johnson, which form the core of the library's holdings, include the White House files of his presidency (1963-1969), and papers from his service as a U.S. Congressman (1937-1949), U.S.

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Government Resources

Government Resources

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HeinOnline

Contains more than 1,200 law and law-related periodicals. Coverage is from the first issue published for all periodicals and goes through the most-currently published issues allowed based on contracts with publishers. Retrieve articles by citation, browse, or search across nearly 50 million pages of content. HeinOnline also contains many useful resources for criminology, and public and international affairs, such as the Congressional Record Bound volumes in entirety, complete coverage of the U.S.

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ProQuest Congressional

Comprehensive online collection of primary source congressional publications and legislative research materials covering all topics, including government, current events, politics, economics, business, science and technology, international relations, social issues, finance, insurance, and medicine. Finding aid for congressional hearings, committee prints, committee reports and documents from 1970-present, and the daily Congressional Record from 1985-present. Compiled legislative histories from 1969-present.

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Congress.gov

An essential database for criminology, and public and international affairs, Congress.gov is the official website for U.S. federal legislative information, such as bills, committee reports & hearings.

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GovInfo.gov

GveInfo offers a new, dynamic way for the public to discover and access Government information on the three branches of the Federal Government. GPO receives information from Federal agencies and organizations in all three branches of the Government. Its content feeds The Library of Congress’ www.congress.gov and the Federal Register site. 

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Recommended Databases

African American Newspapers Series 1

Chronicling a century and a half of the African American experience, African American Newspapers, Series 1, features 280 newspapers from 35 states, including many rare and historically significant 19th-century titles. These titles published for or by African Americans constitute valuable primary sources for researchers exploring such diverse disciplines as cultural, literary and social history; ethnic studies and more.

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African American Newspapers Series 2

African American Newspapers, Series 2, 1835-1956 complements and expands on African American Newspapers, Series 1. Published in 22 states and the District of Columbia, the more than 75 newly available newspapers in Series 2 significantly increase access to primary sources for researchers across African and African American studies; political science; ethnic studies; diaspora studies; women’s studies; and cultural, literary and social history.

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American Civil Liberties (ACLU) Papers

Drawing from the records of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), it focuses on civil rights, race, gender, and issues relating to the U.S. Supreme Court. The American Civil Liberties Union has throughout its history consistently stood at the center of controversies involving the rights of Americans. Its records offer researchers a unique view of the inner workings of the organization and the hundreds of groups with which the ACLU interacted. 

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Civil Rights and Black Freedom Struggle in the 20th Century

Features records of NAACP, SCLC, SNCC, CORE, and federal records on the black freedom struggle. Part of the History Vault database.

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Ethnic NewsWatch

Ethnic NewsWatch is a current resource of full-text newspapers, magazines, and journals of the ethnic and minority press, providing researchers access to essential, often overlooked perspectives. The database now also contains Ethnic NewsWatch: A History, which provides historical coverage of Native American, African American, and Hispanic American periodicals from 1959-1989.

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FBI Records -- The Vault

Provides online access to selected FBI files. Particularly useful for researching groups or individuals who may have come under FBI scrutiny.

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Federal Surveillance of African Americans

Black Americans of all political persuasions were subject to federal scrutiny, harassment, and prosecution. The FBI enlisted black "confidential special informants" to infiltrate a variety of organizations. Hundreds of documents in this collection were originated by such operatives. The reports provide a wealth of detail on "Negro" radicals and their organizations that can be found nowhere else.

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History Vault

Researchers can access digitized letters, papers, photographs, scrapbooks, financial records, diaries, and many more primary source materials taken from the University Publications of America (UPA) Collections. Our collections include Civil Rights and the Black Freedom Struggle, Southern Life and Slavery, American Politics and Society and Women’s Studies.

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Political Extremism & Radicalism in the 20th Century

Political Extremism and Radicalism in the Twentieth Century is a compilation of rare and unique archival collections covering a wide range of fringe political movements. The collections cover the 1900s to the 2010s when the world saw the formation of several civil rights movements for the rights of minorities, women's rights, and gay rights.

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Manuscript Collections

MS 031 Alton A. Lennon Congressional Papers

This collection contains the papers of Congressman Alton Lennon during his tenure as U.S. Representative for North Carolina's 7th congressional district from 1957-1972. Included in the collection is correspondence, reports, and other documents related to legislation, district affairs, and politics during the time. Also included are three large scrapbooks documenting news coverage from Congressman Lennon's career and campaigns.

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MS 033 John J. Burney, Jr. Legislative Papers

This collections contains the legislative papers of North Carolina State Senator John J. Burney, Jr. Senator Burney represented New Hanover County from 1966-1972. The legislative papers consist primarily of correspondence, bills, publications, printed materials and newspaper clippings, covering a broad spectrum of social, economic and political issues during his time in office. Topics include taxation, environmentalism, transportation and infrastructure, Wilmington College (now UNCW), and water resources.

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MS 037 Dr. John T. Hoggard Papers

This collection contains correspondence, newspaper clippings and assorted personal papers of Dr. John T. Hoggard.

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MS 042 Edwin E. Kirton Family Private Papers

This collection contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, church programs and scrapbooks as well as a large collection of sheet music that belonged to Mrs. Kirton. The scrapbooks in this collection highlight Father Kirton's career and other family events and the social column written by Mrs. Kirton for the Afro American newspaper.

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MS 046 Dr. Hubert A Eaton, Sr. Papers

This extensive collection includes the original materials and photocopies of the legal actions instituted by Dr. Eaton and his fellow plaintiffs to compel the integration of the fundamental institutions of New Hanover County--the public schools and the hospital--in the 1960s and 1970s. Moreover, the collection also reflects the broad spectrum of Dr. Eaton's interests and activities which included medical and public health issues, education, civil rights and athletics.

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MS 106 Wallace C. Murchison Papers

The Wallace C. Murchison Papers contain personal correspdonce, financial documents, memos and programs, his political work with Senator Alton Lennon and New Hanover County polling sites, publications and correspondence regarding the Diocese of Eastern Carolina, wills and financial documents of the Diocese, publications on housing from the government and private companies, Murchison's home floor plans, and housing advertisements and handwritten specifications for additions.

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MS 108 Wilmington Movement 1971

Twenty original articles from the Wilmington Star News chronicling the events leading to and during the racial unrest centering around the three local high schools and the recent integration. Beginning about mid December 1970, and continuing throughout most of 1971, Wilmington became a national focal point of violence, burnings, looting, and magnet for outside organizers of boycotts, marches and demonstrations. Ten men and women were ultimately arrested and wrongly convincted of arson and conspiracy during the events that occurred at the time.

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MS 167 Dr. Heyward C. Bellamy Collection

The Dr. Heyward C. Bellamy Collection contains court documents and supporting exhibit materials outlining the school integration law suit, Carolyn Eaton, et al v New Hanover County Board of Education. In addition to the original Eaton case, this collection contains documents related to the restraining order the New Hanover County School Board filed against individuals who would later be implicated in the 1971 riots as part of the Wilmington Ten. This case is titled, Carolyn Eaton, et al v New Hanover County Board of Education v Ben Chavis, et al.

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MS 183 Dorothy Buckeridge Nesbitt Papers

Materials in this collection focus on Dorothy Nesbitt's service as a student, teacher, and advocate for dance and the arts, both in the Wilmington, North Carolina area and internationally, from the 1960s to the 1990s. Papers and photographs showcasing her passion for ballet and modern dance include workshop information, brochures, performance highlights, correspondence, reports, newspaper clippings, articles, and scrapbook pages. Her educational material feature content on racial integration in the classroom, lectures, lesson plans, and essays.

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MS 205 Dr. Leroy W. Upperman Collection

This collection contains diplomas, certificates, and photographs, relating to the education and career of Dr. Leroy Upperman.

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MS 211 John Jay Burney, Jr. Personal Papers

This collection primarily contains papers, records, photos, speeches, and correspondence of John J. Burney, Jr. from his enlistment into the Army in 1943, directly from high school graduation, through the end of the 20th century.

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MS 271 Dr. William H. Wagoner Collection

Dr. William H. Wagoner served as the Superintendent of the New Hanover county school system from 1961-1968, as the fourth President of Wilmington College from 1968-1969 and as the first Chancellor of the University of North Carolina Wilmington from 1969-1990. This collection contains correspondence, publications, newspaper clippings, agendas, photographs, maps and ephemera related to the careers of Dr. Wagoner in Wilmington as well as his personal life.

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MS 247 Kennedy Family Political Memorabilia

This collection contains videocassettes, framed photographs, campaign buttons, bumper stickers, autographs and other memorabilia related to the lives and political campaigns of Robert F. Kennedy, John F. Kennedy and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. The collection also contains an autographed Pro Set Senior PGA Tour card featuring Sam Snead.

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MS 330 Dr. Michael Smith Collection of George Wallace Memorabilia

This collection contains political memorabilia relating to George Wallace's presidential campaigns in the 1960s and 1970s. He was the American Presidential Party nominee in 1968 and a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination in 1972, and 1976. Items include campaign buttons, an autographed pamphlet, two audio records, and a large campaign sign.

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MS 332 Dr. Walter H. Conser Jr. Papers

This collection consists of the accumulated working papers of professor, historian, and author Dr. Walter Conser Jr. between 1970 and 2014. The collection is comprised primarily of research materials, in English and German, including articles, magazines, newspapers, books in whole or part, and associated notes; also included are publishing documents, personal and professional corresondence, newsletters, serials, memorablia, personal papers, and materials documenting Dr. Walter Conser Jr.'s participation in professional and academic panels, conferences, and events.

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MS 337 Cicero P. Yow Papers

Cicero Yow worked as the attorney for the City of Wilmington for 25 years and served in the North Carolina senate for several terms representing the 9th district. These papers primarily contain Yow's personal and business correspondence from 1942 to 1969 and document the daily interactions of a member of Wilmington's upper middle class during the 1950s and 1960s. While much of the correspondence is comprised of invitations and acknowledgment or congratulatory letters, it nevertheless documents Yow's extensive network of elected officials at the local, state, and judicial levels.

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Special Collections Vertical Files

The Special Collections vertical files are compiled by Special Collections staff on an ongoing basis and contain material such as articles, photographs, maps, emphemera, etc. of various persons, places, organizations, and topical subjects related to UNCW and Southeastern North Carolina history.

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Upperman Center Records

University Archives collection. News clippings and subject files pertaining to local history, African American history, and race relations.

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External Resources

Star-News Image Archive

In 2008, the StarNews gave the majority of their image archives to the New Hanover County Public Library. The archives consist of 2,600 linear feet of photographs or approximately 150,000 photos. The newspaper divided the images into two collections: "Subjects" and "People Pixs." Most of the photographs were taken from 1975 to 1996; however, there are some earlier images. The photographs are filed alphabetically and there is no overall index. The digital collection is an ongoing project with new images added each year.

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The Wilmington Journal Collection, 1953-1977

This collection contains copies of the local, weekly African-American newspaper, The Wilmington Journal, which was founded in Wilmington, N.C. in 1901. Thirteen digital copies are included here--twelve before the paper's burning in 1971 and one after. The New Hanover County Public Library has microfilmed copies from 1974 to 1982, available at the North Carolina Room of the downtown branch. Original physical copies, from 1983 through the present, are also available at the library.

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Terry Sanford Governor's Papers, 1959 - 1965

This collection contains the official records of Governor Terry Sanford and his office, including general correspondence, speeches, statements, reports, extraditions and requisitions documents, and commissions of appointments. It also includes the records of several special offices, commissions and committees.

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Luther Hartwell Hodges Governor Papers, 1954-1961

Luther H. Hodges was born in Cascade, Virginia on March 9, 1898. His family moved to what would become Eden, North Carolina a few years later. Hodges completed his college education at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, then went to work at the Carolina Cotton and Woolen Mills in Leaksville. He left the company to enter politics, serving on both the State Board of Education and the Highway and Public Works Commission. Hodges was elected lieutenant governor of North Carolina in 1952, and succeeded Governor Umstead upon his death in 1954.

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Governor's Papers. Dan Moore. State Archives of North Carolina.

Daniel K. Moore was governor of North Carolina from 1965-1969. His papers are held at the State Archives of North Carolina. A portion of them have been digitized and can be found at the included link. Please contact the State Archives directly for further information on access.

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Behind the Veil

Documentary project that recorded and preserves the oral history of African American life during the age of legal segregation in the American South, 1890s to the 1950s. Project interviewed more than 1000 black Southerners who experienced legal segregation.

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Civil Rights Digital Library

The Civil Rights Digital Library Initiative represents one of the most ambitious and comprehensive efforts to date to deliver educational content on the Civil Rights Movement via the Web.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute

Building upon the achievements of Stanford University's Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project, the King Institute supports a broad range of activities illuminating Dr. King's life and the movements he inspired.

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Voices of Civil Rights

The exhibition Voices of Civil Rights documents events during the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

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Digital Collections

Civil Rights in Southeast North Carolina: The School, the Market, and the Ballot Box

This digital collection brings together resources related to school desegregation, equal employment, equal access to public accommodations, and voting rights in Southeast North Carolina. Each individual collection described below covers many topics other than desegregation.

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Seahawk Digital Newspaper Collection

"The student paper of UNCW, established 1948." The Seahawk is the student news organization and newspaper of the University of North Carolina Wilmington. It began as a four-page handout with stenciled headlines. In 1958, the Seahawk reemerged as a monthly publication after a five-year period without a student paper. For most of its run, the Seahawk informed students about campus, national and world news along with arts, entertainment, and sports once or twice a week. In 2001 the organization launched its online component: theseahawk.org.

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Oral Histories

The below are a sampling of available oral histories from those with experiences related to the Civil Rights Movement in Southeastern North Carolina. To explore more interviews, please search the Oral History Collection.

Interview with Rosa Chadwick Handley (Oral History)

In this interview, Rosa Chadwick Handley recalls her experience as a student at Williston Junior High and High School in the 60's, including academics and extracurriculars, the faculty-student dynamic, and the character, atmosphere, and significance of the Williston environment.

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Interview with Lethia S. Hankins (Oral History)

Mrs. Lethia Hankins discusses her long association with education and particulary with Williston. She was a student at Williston Elementary, Williston Industrial High School and Williston High School. After college, she returned to Williston High School as an English Teacher. When Williston was closed for integration, she became a teacher at Hoggard High School and later at Laney High School. Included is a brief brief mention of the Wilmington 10 incident.

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Interview with Wayne Moore and Benjamin Wonce (Oral History)

Wayne Moore and Benjamin Wonce talk about the events that lead up to the boycott of New Hanover County Schools in February 1971. Both men participated in the boycott. Moore was arrested and was a member of the group known as the Wilmington 10. Wonce was not arrested but testified for the defense at the trial of the Wilmington 10.

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Interview with Heyward C. Bellamy (Oral History)

This 3rd interview with Dr. Bellamy focuses on the integration mandate and impact on the local schools. His memories include HEW, School Board, busing, fire bombings, suspensions and public input.

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Contact Librarian

Portrait of Rebecca Baugnon
Rebecca
Baugnon
Special Collections Librarian
Phone Number: 
Office: 
RL2042J

Contact Staff

Portrait of Nicole Yatsonsky
Nicole
Yatsonsky
Library Specialist
Phone Number: 
Office: 
RL2042J