Dr. James Eaton – FAMU Black Archives

Story published July 15, 1993 in the Atlanta Constitution “A Man and His Museum”

In 1971 legislation was passed in Florida that mandated the creation of a repository to “serve the state by collecting and preserving source material on and about African Americans from ancient to present times.” Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University became home to that repository.

Dr. James N. Eaton was a history professor at FAMU and embarked on the task of collecting black memorabilia and artifacts.

The pictures news article states that Eaton is standing at a podium once used by Booker T. Washington and other well known African American orators. “Eaton was cruising interstate 95 in Georgia…he was in a truck stop when he saw near the Rebel flags and ceramic Jesus statues a ‘Jolly N****r Bank’…a relic of Jim Crow times.”

The Southeastern Regional Black Archives Research Center and Museum was renamed Meek- Eaton Black Archives after Dr. James N. Eaton’s passing in 2004 🕊

[source: FAMU & Kenan Research Center]

Martin Luther King, Sr. Heritage Trail

Pictured is a custom street pole banner which can be found along Georgia’s Stockbridge Main Street. One of 90+ Main Street programs in the state of Georgia, Stockbridge Main Street established the Martin Luther King, Sr. Heritage Trail in 2015.

Affectionately known as “Daddy King” Martin Luther King, Sr. was raised in Stockbridge, Georgia. As a youth he attended and would eventually teach his first sermon at Floyd Chapel Baptist Church (104 First St Stockbridge, GA). Regular Sunday services are held at the church 7:45 – 11 am.

There is a bridge in town, named Martin Luther King Sr. Bridge. City Hall has a commemorative plaque that details the King family’s connection to Stockbridge. 🖤#VisitBlackHistory ⚡️

Smithsonian Search for Black History Artifacts in Atlanta, 1991

In 1991, Claudine K. Brown visited Atlanta in search of African American artifacts and memorabilia that would go inside a future institution by the name of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Again her visit was in 1991. This article notes that in addition to viewing private collections, Ms. Brown also had plans to visit the Hammonds House, the Alonzo Herndon Home, APEX Museum, and Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. As Project Director, Ms. Brown’s Atlanta visit focused on meeting a deadline to determine if there were enough artifacts to fill a Black History museum. We all know the answer to that question now, don’t we?

A quick Google search reveals that Ms. Claudine K. Brown left the Smithsonian in the 1990s due to the institution’s failure to establish NMAAHC during that time, this shortcoming was influenced by political opposition from former U.S. Senator, the late James Helms, Jr. (NC).

Eventually, NMAAHC would open its doors to the public on September 24, 2016. Ms. Brown passed 5 months prior -March 27, 2016 (aged 67) 🕊

[source: news article on file at Kenan Research Center]

AMOCO’s 1963 American Travelers Guide to Negro Monuments

The “American Travelers Guide to Negro Monuments” was published by American Oil Company also known as AMOCO, in 1963. AMOCO described it as a “guide to historical sites… that are usually not mentioned in conventional guidebooks…not often included in ordinary textbooks… and [AMOCO’s] contribution to the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation”

Image 1: cover of American Travelers Guide to Negro Monuments

Image 2: Points of interest and portion of U.S. map

Image 3: page detailing Matthew Henson site in Maryland + Morgan State College’s (now Morgan State University) archival holdings of Henson, Benjamin Banneker, and Frederick Douglass artifacts

[source: Kenan Research Center]

#VisitBlackHistory

(Atlanta) Street Name Changes: John Wesley Dobbs

Doing a bit of research on street name changes, here’s an example || On August 16, 1993 Atlanta City Council approved Ordinance Number 93-0-1140 resulting in “Renaming Houston Street in its entirety to John Wesley Dobbs Avenue and for other purposes”

Image 1: John Wesley Dobbs Ave and Jackson Street NE

Image 2: full record of city ordinance which notes “John Wesley Dobbs was a champion of African American business and Civil Rights in Atlanta and the Nation.”

Image 3: City Council votes on ordinance.

Image 4: Notice of a public hearing listed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

John Wesley Dobbs (1881-1962) is Maynard Jackson’s (1938-2003) maternal grandfather. Jackson was the mayor of Atlanta when the ordinance was signed and the street renamed in his grandfather’s honor.

[source: ordinance records on file at Kenan Research Center]

(Atlanta) “With Drawn Arms: Glenn Kaino and Tommie Smith”

img_1671

 

img_1670

img_1669

img_1675

img_1690-1

 

5 pictures captured while exploring “With Drawn Arms: Glenn Kaino and Tommie Smith” at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art.

The entire exhibition is housed in 4 rooms. Images 1-4 were photographed in the temporary exhibit room labeled the Tommie Smith Archives. Tommie Smith and wife Delois, are said to have amassed and archived thousands of artifacts related to his life and career. The High Museum currently has on display a selection of photographs, news clippings, awards, and other material culture.

The Tommie Smith Archives is dedicated to artifacts while the rest of the exhibit features the work of conceptual artist, Glenn Kaino. Each of Kaino’s designs are inspired by Tommie Smith, the living legend.

Image 1: commemorative item from 1968 Mexico City Olympics.

Image 2: Published letter written by Shirley Graham DuBois, addressed to Tommie Smith. Mrs. DuBois was the wife of W.E.B. DuBois. The letter was printed with her permission in a publication entitled The Black Panther.

Image 3: Track and Field equipment.

Image 4: Tommie Smith achieving a world record title during his time at San Jose State University.

Image 5: The Bridge a conceptual piece created by Glenn Kaino. The 100 foot serpentine bridge is comprised of gold painted casts of Tommie Smith’s arm. There is a great amount of symbolism in this piece including it representing a “path connected to the past that leads forward to the present.”

Atlanta Trip to St. Helena Island, South Carolina’s Penn Center

A few photographs from last weekend’s trip to St. Helena Island, South Carolina. The island has been home to the Penn Center (originally Penn School) since 1862. The Penn Center hosted their 36th Annual Heritage Days Celebration November 8 – November 11, 2018.

The 1954-1968 Civil Rights Movement, Abolitionism, U.S. Civil War, and Gullah-Geechee Heritage can all be examined through the lens of the Penn Center. Book title “Penn Center: A History Preserved” is a good way to learn about the history that has taken place at and around the cultural institution.