Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy Kwanzaa!

In celebration of Kwanzaa, today’s post features a flyer from the Atlanta Kwanzaa Committee. It highlights activities celebrating the week of Kwanzaa from December 26, 1985-January 1, 1986, including poetry readings, music and dance presentations, and a film viewing. The flyer comes from the records of the Phoenix Arts and Theatre Company, which supported and organized African American arts in Atlanta throughout the 1980s and 1990s. As the flyer indicates, Kwanzaa is a week long celebration that takes place every year from December 26 to January 1. It honors African heritage and culture and includes the lighting of a kinara, a feast, and gift giving.  

Posted by Nicole Carmolingo, AARL Archives Intern

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Today’s post features six holiday cards from the Selena Sloan Butler Family papers. Selena and Henry R. Butler were both equally involved in the Atlanta community through professional and civic endeavors. Henry was one of the first African American physicians to establish a permanent medical practice in the Atlanta area upon moving here in 1890. In addition, he was involved in local chapters of the Prince Hall Freemasons, Sigma Pi Phi fraternity, and Omega Psi Phi fraternity. Selena played a crucial role in the establishment of both the Georgia Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers and the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers (NCCPT). The Butlers were also involved in the creation of the Georgia Commission of Interracial Cooperation, as well as members of Big Bethel A.M.E Church. The cards pictured here were sent to the Butler family during the 1941 holiday season.

Posted by Nicole Carmolingo, AARL Archives Intern

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tis the Season!

As Christmas rapidly approaches, the Archives Division thought it would be festive to share holiday related materials from various collections. This week features two different pieces. The first is a Christmas service program, “Christmas Bells,” circa 1910, from the Adam Knight Spence and John Wesley Work collection. It includes sheet music, prayers, hymns, recitations, and scripture readings. Spence and Work were involved in musical endeavors at Fisk University (Nashville, TN). Spence was the leader of the Mozart Society and Work was the director of the Fisk Jubilee Singers.

The second item is 1957 sheet music for “Angels We Have Heard on High” from the Henry J. and Florine D. Furlow papers. The Furlows were lifelong members of Atlanta's Big Bethel A.M.E. Church, which is reflected by the stamp on the music. In addition to their involvement in the community, both Henry and Florine taught in Atlanta public schools throughout their careers. Despite coming from two different collections, these items compliment each other because they document the involvement of African Americans in local music activities and groups.

Posted by Nicole Carmolingo, AARL Archives Intern

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Archives and Publics: Andrew J. Young + Photograph Identification

The Andrew J. Young Papers contain nearly 40,000 photographs and slides that document Young’s family, life, and work spanning more than 50 years. There are photos of Young, his children, and his grandchildren as babies; his first ministerial post in the mid-1950s through weddings he performed in the 1990s; the SCLC Citizenship School through his GoodWorks activities; his first Congressional campaign in 1970 through his 1990 gubernatorial campaign; his Ambassadorial trips across the globe through bidding for the Olympics through tropical vacations; and everything in between.  (Below: Ambassador Andrew Young is pictured in his Waldorf-Astoria residence, late 1970s.)

Many prominent people appear in the photographs, including Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, RUN-DMC, Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Hank and Billye Aaron, Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King Jr., Jesse Jackson, Bill Cosby, Sidney Poitier, Garth Brooks, Harry Belafonte, Cornel West, Muhammad Ali, George Bush Jr. and Sr., Bill and Hillary Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev, Billy Graham, Rosa Parks, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and Ted Turner and Jane Fonda. There are also many prominent Atlantans, such as Shirley Franklin, Sue Ross, Julian Bond, Hosea Williams, Jesse Hill, Joseph Lowery, Ralph Abernathy, Marvin Arrington, Zell Miller, Benjamin E. Mays, Bernard Scott Lee, Bill Campbell, and Maynard Jackson. (Below: Andrew Young, seated, identifies photographs for project staff, pictured left to right, Brenda Tindal, Mike Kaiser, and Cheryl Oestreicher.)

While the majority of the photographs were labeled or identifiable, many were not. On Tuesday, Andrew Young and his daughter Andrea visited the archives and helped identify the people, places, and events. Their assistance was invaluable as it not only helps us to organize the images, but will ease researchers’ use of the collection. As we documented what they said, we listened to their reminiscences about the people, the places, the events, and their lives. (Below: Pictured left to right are Mike Kaiser, Cheryl Oestreicher, and Andrew Young.)

Near the end of his time in the archives, he reflected, “We’ve really had a good life.”

For more information about the grant-funded project to process the Young papers and other civil rights related collections, see the CLIR Hidden Collections Grant blog.

Posted by Cheryl Oestreicher, Project Archivist

[The Andrew J. Young Papers at AARL are closed for processing and expect to be open in March 2011]

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Hanukkah!

In honor of the first day of Hanukkah, we post this James Van Der Zee photograph of the Moorish Zionist Temple of Moorish Jews, which was located at 127 West 137th Street in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. The photograph comes from the James Van Der Zee framed photograph collection here at AARL. Van Der Zee was one of the foremost African American photographers during the Harlem Renaissance. His many prints, negatives and glass plates are known for documenting the spirit of the period, while also cultivating black pride, especially between the world wars. In his portraits Van Der Zee worked to both document social life and present aesthetically pleasing pieces of art. The Archives Division welcomes Hanukkah by sharing this piece of Van Der Zee artwork.


Landing, James E. Black Judaism: Story of An American Movement. Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic Press, 2002.

Leininger-Miller, Theresa. “Van Der Zee, James Augustus.” American National Biography Online.

Michaeli, Ethan. “Another Exodus: The Hebrew Israelites from Chicago to Dimona.” In Black Zion: African American Religious Encounters with Judaism. Yvonne Patricia Chireau and Nathanial Deutsch, eds. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Wintz, Cary D. and Paul Finkelman. “Van Der Zee, James.” Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance. New York: Routledge, 2004.

Posted by Nicole Carmolingo, AARL Archives Intern