In celebration of African American History Month this February, we are pleased to announce a new digital collection relating to the Civil Rights Movement in North Carolina from the 1950s to the 1970s. The items in this collection contain letters, speeches, reports, booklets, photographs, news clippings, court records, and proposed legislation, on topics such as school desegregation and busing, voting rights, and civil rights protests and demonstrations. The majority of the items presented here were selected from our State Agency records, with an emphasis on Governors Papers. In preparing this collection, we have made an effort to include documents that represent a range of opinions both from those who favored civil rights, and from those who opposed them. In addition to the official records of elected officials, this collection contains many letters from ordinary citizens expressing their concerns, fears, and hopes.
Among the items in this collection you can find:
- Materials from the North Carolina Voter Education Project which sought to help the poor and disadvantaged become more active and involved in the democratic process.
- N.C. House Bills which tried to preserve racial segregation in public schools even after the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Brown v. Board of Education.
- Reports from law enforcement officers describing various civil rights demonstrations throughout the state.
- A telegram from NAACP representative Brenda Johnson to the Governor requesting police protection for civil rights demonstrators after violence nearly erupted in Edenton.
- A Statement from Gov. Sanford to Good Neighbor Council about ending discrimination in training and job opportunities for African Americans.
- Meeting minutes from the Department of Social Services Civil Rights Strategy Committee which describe objectives and plans for assuring compliance with the Civil Rights Act.
- A transcript of a conversation between Gov. Hodges and Edward Harrigan, Vice President of F.W. Woolworth Company, regarding how the company deals with the issue of deciding whether or not to serve African American customers.
- A statement from the Durham Committee on Negro Affairs supporting the dignified actions of student demonstrators in the sit-in movement.
- A telegram from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Gov. Sanford asking to release protestors in Edenton who had been arrested.
This digital collection represents only a small sample of Civil Rights materials available at the State Archives. We hope to add more to this collection in the future. To see what else the State Archives has on the Civil Rights Movement, check out our Civil Rights Research Guide.
To learn more about the Civil Rights Movement in North Carolina visit NCPedia.