Time Period: Civil Rights Era (1955 - 1969)

1967 King Street Survey Collection

In 1967, Historic Charleston Foundation was deeply concerned about the conditions of the downtown area, particularly the commercial blocks of King Street. Because the Foundation believed that the survival of King Street as a thriving retail shopping district was vital, it launched a feasibility study to determine the potential of the area. The study examined …


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Black History in Spartanburg

Black history in the Spartanburg area remains obscured by the biases and scarcity of early records. By 1790, the first year with a reliable population estimate, Spartanburg County was home to 866 black slaves and 27 “free persons not white,” representing about 10% of the total population.  At the time of emancipation, some 8,300 African-Americans lived in Spartanburg County, around 30% …


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L. Mendel Rivers Papers, 1940-1962

Correspondence, speeches, memoranda, legislative files, political files, and committee files of L. Mendel Rivers (1905-1970), Democratic United States Representative from South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District from 1941 to 1970. Materials primarily relate to Rivers’ service in Congress from 1955 to 1962 with topics including the Cold War, Cuban Missile Crisis, Bay of Pigs invasion, Civil …


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Russell J. Arnsberger Postcard Collection

The Russell J. Arnsberger Postcard Collection is comprised of over 350 postcards of houses, businesses, public buildings, street views, military base activities and structures in and around Beaufort, South Carolina. Some built structures pictured are no longer extant or have been greatly altered. Arnsberger collected postcards about Beaufort County beginning with some by Charles G. …


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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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