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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.

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.

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.

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

Maurice M. Bailey Collection

  • TxAM-CRS C000323
  • Collection
  • 1942-1945

This small collection includes 11 letters from Maurice Bailey, 6 photos from Stanley C. Jordan, and 18 photos of other African Americans serving in the armed forces during World War 2 in two theatres Naples and Marseille France.

The collection is of a black soldier from Chemung County, New York, named Maurice M Bailey (1906-?). There are 11 letters he wrote to his sister Beatrice Craig, who lives in Harlem. Enlisting at the age of approximately 36 on May 27, 1942, Maurice M Bailey was a Private in the Branch Immaterial or General Officers branch of the Selectees during World War II. At the time of enlistment, Maurice M Bailey was single, with dependents, stood 70 inches tall, weighed 179 pounds, and had an education level of 2 years of college. He landed in Oran in April 1943 as part of the 99th Quartermaster Company RHD and was a baker. Before the war, he was an electrician. His service number was 32344461. He refers to Mussolini as "their famous spaghetti boy Mussi". He describes his stay in Naples, where high-ranking fascists stayed. He describes being on guard duty in Oran during an axis air raid. He cares for his sister deeply, who is not well, and he talks about his plans when he gets back and the things he misses. Noteworthy is his generosity towards his sister, and when he sees how pricey everything is in Naples he prefers to give his money to her.

All the letters are from his service overseas during the war. His pay was only $5.30. He comments "Time heals all wounds. Even war.". He goes on "I must mention how a colored USO show here brought the house down when the girl from Brooklyn sang "Not now baby I'll tell you when". She really was a scream. Why even I fell for the jive and I am not a hip cat". These are just samples of what he has written. Interesting content on both war and reflections of his home by an African-American serving in North Africa, Italy, and France.

Also included are 6 photos from a black soldier named Stanley C Jordan (1921-?) who was a trombone player with the 1333 Eng. Regiment band in World war 2. The photos show Jordan participating in the victory day parade in Marseille France on May 9, 1945. Jordan enlisted when he was 21 on December 21, 1942. At the time of enlistment, he was single, with dependents, stood 70 inches tall, weighed 139 pounds, and had an education level of 4 years of high school. He came from Baltimore, Maryland. His service ID was 33390589.

Also included are 18 photos of African Americans serving in the armed forces during World War 2, in both theatres. Photos from Camp Ellis in Illinois, some photos have descriptions on the reverse.

Jordan, Stanley C., 1921

William Harrison Mays Papers

  • US TxAM-C C000003
  • Collection
  • 1866-1982

This collection contains a variety of documents related to William Harrison Mays, an African American cowboy living in Corpus Christi, TX during the late 19th and early 20th century, and his family. The collection consists of tax receipts, promissory notes, land deeds, and receipts for lumber and building loan payments, photographs, and correspondences from which the researcher is able to track the development of a family over the course of three generations.

Of particular interest is a letter written by W. H. Mays' grandson, Roby Williams, dated September 12, 1982, in which he claims that his grandfather, "was a gun toten cow puncher with the Kings and Kennedys who used to ride over the border and steal Mexican's cattle and bring them back to Kings ranch and brand them KR. Grandpa knew he was living such a hard and risky life, he knew he was subject to being killed on some of these adventures and cattle drives up to Abilene, Kansas, so he didn't buy anything in his name. If he was arrested for cattle rustling, they couldn't take his property." One of the deeds dated 1872 may dispute this claim as it conveys to "Harrison Mays, Colored" a property in Corpus Christi for the sum of twenty-five gold dollars. However, all the tax receipts thereafter for the property are made out to a Clarissa Sinclair (also known as Alice Sinclair, William Harrison Mays' wife).

Other items of interest include a photograph, circa 1865, of two African-American men each standing with a leg up on a wooden box with a large bag marked "$1,000." The handwritten caption on the back reads: "Uncle Willie Cox on left. Just after a win in a cock's fight. Bag contains $1,000.00 in gold. San Luis Portisi, Mexico."

Mays, William Harrison