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Archival Descriptions
Texas A&M University, Libraries, Cushing Memorial Library & Archives
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African American Illustrated Postcards (Down in Sunny Dixie) Collection

  • US TxAM-C 689
  • Collection
  • 1938

This collection consists of an illustrated mailer postmarked New Orleans, and hand-addressed to Toledo OH, containing 18 accordion-folded 6in x 4in color photos purporting to show (stereotypical happy variety) black life in the south, with two songs, "Dixie Land" and "Dixieland for M" printed on the inside of the mailer with a cypress tree on one side of the fold and a photo of a black man and woman next to the address label.

These were reproduced from hand-tinted black and white originals. Postcard-size images, but double-sided without space for messages.

African American Southern Family Scrapbook

  • US TxAM-C 688
  • Collection
  • 1900

This collection consists of a photo scrapbook with six small charcoal images that depict African-American life in the rural south with an unrelated pictorial on-lay on the upper cover, all tied together with string.

Afro-American Society Collection

  • US TxAM-C 208
  • Collection
  • 1967-1968

Original black students' association charter. Authored by Ken Lewallen and Antwine Jefferson in Fall 1967-68.

Black Superheroes, Sidekicks, and Characters Comic Book Collection

  • US TxAM-C 810
  • Collection

These comics were created in countries that were ruled by colonial powers in Africa, namely Italy, France, Belgium, and Spain. The comics are both individual copies and bound volumes with numerous copies. They date from around 1926 to 1973.

Charles Criner Papers and Art Collection

  • US TxAM-C 228
  • Collection
  • 1960-2009

This collection documents Criner's professional and personal life as an artist and educator. The collection includes correspondence, original works of art, prints, drawings, exhibition photos, postcards, writings, photographs, publicity, news clippings, interviews with Criner, and thank you letters and cards from students and visitors who have been taught the art of printmaking and provided tours of the Museum of Printing History in Houston by Criner. The collection includes a number of Criner's prints and copies of his art reproduced as advertisements, exhibits, and prints. Of particular note are the significant examples of Criner’s various cartoons, Johnny Jones, The Job Crowd, The Dogs, and a few others. These were all produced from his stint in the Army, his work with the Houston Post, Houston Chronicle, HUD, and his collaboration with William Henry Hygh. 

A listing of Criner’s artwork and cartoons is included at the end of the finding guide. The collection includes examples of each of these works either in print, photos, or exhibit material.

Criner, Charles

Charles Levy Civil Rights Collection

  • US TxAM-C C000013
  • Collection
  • 1863-1975

This collection contains nearly 1000 items related to the civil rights movement from 1955-1975. The early part of this collection (1955-67) formed the basic research for Levy's book Voluntary Servitude, Whites in the Negro Movement, (New York: Appleton-Century, 1968). The collection includes hundreds of pages of writings, publications, bulletins, internal memos, broadsides, hand-printed magazines, etc. Prominent figures of the civil rights and revolutionary movements, organizations, and committees are covered in the collection. The collection also includes two photographs of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act with Rev. Martin L. King, Jr. and other luminaries of the civil rights movement.

Cherokee Freedman Collection

  • US TxAM-C 231
  • Collection
  • 1900-1907

This collection is composed of written interviews of African Americans and Native Americans conducted by the Department of the Interior's Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes. The interviews, testimonies, and affidavits relate to applications of African Americans denied enrollment as Cherokee Freedmen during the Dawes Commission. "An act of Congress approved March 3, 1893, established a commission to negotiate agreements with the Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, Seminole, and Cherokee Indian tribes. The commission became known as the Dawes Commission, after its chairman Senator Henry Dawes of Massachusetts. The commission's mission was to divide tribal land into plots which were then divided among the members of the tribe. As part of this process, the Commission either accepted or rejected applicants for tribal membership based on whether the tribal government had previously recognized the applicant as a member of the tribe and other legal requirements. Applicants were categorized as Citizens by Blood, Citizens by Marriage, Minor Citizens by Blood, New Born Citizens by Blood, Freedmen (African Americans formerly enslaved by tribal members), New Born Freedmen, and Minor Freedmen.

The collection encompasses around 140 documents from 42 applications affecting over 100 people. Most of the documents are with their original envelopes, all but one of which is dated within a month of each other in 1904, though the documents themselves range in date within a six-year span. The majority of the hearings were conducted at Fort Gibson or Muskogee, and many of the applicants were either related or testified on one another's behalf. There is a high degree of intertextuality between files in regard to people and places mentioned. In addition to the interviews, there are also interdepartmental letters between various commissioners and the Secretary of the Interior, and notices to applicants and their lawyers. The collection offers a primary source on the arbitration involved in the decision of who did and did not count as Cherokee Freedmen, as well as frontier life in general both before and after the war. The language used vividly reveals the prevailing racial attitudes of the day, chiefly toward African Americans and Native Americans; casual use is made of pejorative terms, and open prejudice is occasionally voiced.

Many of the testimonies include personal histories, sometimes dating as far back as the 1830s, and great detail is given on the moving of slaves to and from the Cherokee Nation during the Civil War. Notable pieces include accounts of runaway slaves returning to their separated families, individual reactions to Emancipation, and a letter directly to the Secretary of the Interior personally written by an applicant, requesting that her case be re-opened. The letter, polite and heartfelt but clearly frustrated, is spelled phonetically. Another interesting letter that allowed for the subject listing to include "Leonid Meteor Showers" refers to one elderly woman's age was determined by the fact that she was 16 "the year the stars fell". The commissioner noted that that was in 1832, and he was there himself. The following year, '33, was the year that the Leonid shower was officially "discovered", and caused something of a panic in the eastern US; no one knew what meteors were, yet!

Several of the locations mentioned, such as Armstrong's Academy, Concharta, OK, and Doaksville, OK, were involved in the war, and both Union and Confederate soldiers are among those interviewed. Doaksville was the site where the last remaining Confederate general, a Cherokee, surrendered. Also mentioned is Tahlequah, OK, the capital of the Cherokee Nation and location of the racially-motivated Going Snake Massacre. Several historical figures come into the documents, namely two of the attorneys for the Cherokee Nation, James Davenport and W. W. Hastings (in all likelihood, William Wirt. referenced as "W. W. Hastings" in transcripts, but a William Wirt Hastings, of Cherokee heritage and from Oklahoma, was an attorney who worked in private practice, as the attorney general for the Cherokee Nation, and then as the national attorney for the Nation from 1907. The dates do match up, and there is a W. W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah, given by William Wirt when he was in Congress, as a gift) both of whom later served as U.S. Representatives for Oklahoma. Briefly included is Judge Isaac Parker, known as "the hanging judge" of Fort Smith, Arkansas. Parker tried several well-known outlaws, including Crawford "Cherokee Bill" Goldsby. Occasionally the communities cited in the interviews have since become ghost towns, been absorbed into larger cities, or changed names.

The affidavits, correspondence, and any support materials are arranged in alphabetical order by the surname of the applicant. Note: File 22 is in critical need of preservation.

Dolores Richter Collection

  • US TxAM-C 181
  • Collection

This collection was part of a gift given to the library by the Anthropology Department.  The collection documents the work and writings of Professor Dolores Richter. The collection includes photographs, negatives, writings, and news clippings related to Prof. Richter’s research in the Ivory Coast, West Africa, and Oceania and the publication of her book “Arts, Economics and Change: the Kulebele of Northern Ivory Coast” published in 1980.

Richter, Dolores

Dr. Gwendoline Y. Fortune Papers

  • US TxAM-C 2515959
  • Collection
  • 1983-2014

This collection consists of volumes of correspondence (bulk 2005-2014), video and audiotapes of Dr. Fortune's classical music performances, writings, business ventures, and research material for her published books.

Fortune, Gwendoline Y.

Guadalupe Baptist Association Collection

  • US TxAM-C 187
  • Collection

The collection documents the life of Reverend William M. Taylor and his pursuit of education in various cities in Texas. A biography provides details about his education, religious vocation, and family life in Texas that provide a glimpse into the trials and tribulations Blacks faced in attaining any type of progress. This small collection is also rich in the history of the Guadalupe Baptist Association, Guadalupe College, and the community life for African Americans in Texas.

Taylor, William

Illustrated European Periodicals of African Military Expeditions

  • US TxAM-C 812
  • Collection
  • 1821-1906

This collection includes over 11 different groupings of approximately 1 to 10 issues in each grouping. The latter half of the collection includes illustrations of African and African Americans in European periodicals.

Imamu Amiri Baraka Collection

  • US TxAM-C 298
  • Collection

This collection contains over 100 items, primarily books that are cataloged and available via the Libcat system. The manuscript and drawings are also cataloged and available via the Libcat system.

Baraka, Amiri, 1934-2014

J. B. Rayner Letter

  • US TxAM-C 687
  • Collection
  • 1900-10

The collection contains a letter written by J. B. Rayner announcing a forthcoming visit to Edna, Texas, dated October 19, 1900 (envelope included), and a handbill announcing Rayner's talk on October 27, 1900.

Rayner, John Baptis

Political and Radical Ephemera Collection

  • US TxAM-C 194
  • Collection

This collection was intentionally developed, pulling together political documentation and radical writings of people of African descent from around the country.

Slavery and Emancipation Documents

  • US TxAM-C C000006
  • Collection
  • 1737-1875

This collection contains 58 items are related to slavery or emancipation in the states of Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Texas and the countries of Cuba, the Caribbean, Jamaica, and Paris, France.

The descriptive write-up provided by Respess and William Reese, Company is used in the listing of documents. Each document purchased has a title, date, and some have an abbreviated transcription of the text.

The Texas document recounts the hiring, auctions, renting, and transferring ownership of slaves. The Missouri documents concern the purchase and transferring of ownership of slaves named Nancy, George, Phebe, Washington, Lucinda, Madison, Benjamin, and Sarah. No last names or additional information is provided except that Nancy is a Mulatto Woman and George is "of the age of seventeen or thereabouts." Of particular note are two documents, a Texas free woman of color filing a complaint regarding an illegal beating by a group of five men one and the other document is from Missouri and details a sale of slaves by a woman, a rarer document than those recording sales by men.

Warrington Penn Portraits

  • US TxAM-C 258
  • Collection
  • 1848-1876

These two volumes documents feature the personal and political reminiscences of journalist William S. Robinson and were edited and published by his wife in 1877. In the first edition, the first volume was expanded to two with extra illustrations (142 portraits and 53 autograph letters from prominent Americans of the time). Writing as “Warrington,” the journalist was especially noted for his reform positions and radical anti-slavery voice. The portraits and views represent a wide range of 19th-century American historic events, sites, and public figures.

Penn, Warrington