Institution: Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture

Avery Normal Institute

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 …


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Somebody Had To Do It

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, …


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J. Arthur Brown Papers, 1937 – 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 …


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

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 …


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Eugene C. Hunt Papers, 1834 – 1994

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 Masters 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 …


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YWCA of Greater Charleston, Inc., Records, 1906 – 2007

The Young Women’s Christian Association of Greater Charleston, which originated in 1907, has served communities in Charleston and the Lowcountry area of South Carolina for over a century. Currently, the YWCA of Greater Charleston, Inc., strives to provide programs and services for all people and holds a mission to eliminate racism and to empower women. …


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Book Lovers’ Club, 1927 – 1969

The Book Lover’s Club of Charleston was founded in 1927 by AfricanAmerican Women as a literary club with a purpose of establishing a high literary culture among its members as well as social improvement for Charleston African Americans. Legal documents, minutes, financial documents, and correspondence (1927-1969) document the activities of the Book Lovers’ Club (Charleston, …


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Anna D. Kelly Papers, 1930s – 1999

Anna D. Kelly (1913-2007) is known for her efforts to connect Lowcountry African Americans with the Highlander Folk School, most notably recruiting Septima Clark. A graduate of the Avery Normal Institute in Charleston, South Carolina, Kelly was a charter member of the Avery Institute of African American History and Culture. She then played a crucial …


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Millicent E. Brown Papers, 1949 – 2003

Millicent Ellison Brown (b. 1948) is an educator and civil rights activist. Born in Charleston to MaeDe and J. Arthur Brown, local and state president of NAACP (1955-1965), Brown, in 1963, replaced her older sister Minerva as the primary plaintiff in a NAACP-sponsored lawsuit (Millicent Brown vs. Charleston County School District #20). The collection consists …


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William (“Bill”) Saunders Papers, circa 1950 – 2004

William (“Bill”) Saunders, a community and Civil Rights activist in Charleston, South Carolina, was an organizer and lead negotiator of the Charleston Hospital Strike of 1969. In 1970, Saunders established the Committee on Better Racial Assurance (COBRA) to address race-related community problems and provide assistance to community members in need. He also operated the AM …


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