The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories
D'Army Bailey papers
Repository: University of Memphis. Special Collections/Mississippi Valley Collection
Collection Description (CRHP): Box 1, Folder 13 contains a May 30, 1972, interview transcript with Bailey pertaining to political and social problems. He briefly mentions growing up in Memphis and graduating from high school in 1959, but most of the interview is centered around the inequities that blacks continued to face in law, politics, and economics in the early 1970s. It does contain some discussion of his role as a leader of the student civil rights movement at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, in the early to mid-1960s. He attended Southern University after graduating from high school and was expelled in early 1962, along with other student civil rights leaders, for his activism. He was involved with voter registration and continued to work with Southern University students despite being expelled. He then attended Clark University and became involved with demonstrations there. He discusses the conservatism of the local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the successful attempt of him and others to infiltrate it and make it a more aggressive force for racial justice. He also talks about employment discrimination and mentions going to the South during the summer to organize.
Collection Description (Extant): Judge Bailey was born in 1941 in Memphis TN. After attending Southern University, Clark University, and Boston University Judge Bailey received his law degree from Yale. Long active in the civil rights movement Judge Bailey was director of a civil liberties organization in New York for a year before going to work for the legal services agency in San Francisco. While in California he served two and one half years on the Berkeley city council. He returned to Memphis in 1974, and began practicing law with his brother and was a leader in the establishment of the National Civil Rights Museum on the site of the Lorraine Motel where Dr. King was murdered. Judge Bailey continued to serve as president of the museum until 1992. In 1990 he was elected and continues to serve as a circuit court judge.
The Bailey collection consists of correspondence, newspaper and magazine clippings, personal items, books, photographs, and architectural plans and manuals. The collection can basically be divided into three sections. Folders 1 thru 81 deal with Bailey's education and early civil rights activities. Folders 82 thru 301 deal with Bailey's election and service on the Berkeley city council. His recall city council election is covered in these folders. Folders 302 thru 431 covers the period of time from his return to Memphis to the opening of the National Civil Rights Museum in 1991. The collection contains numerous newspaper and magazine articles dealing with the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, anti-Vietnam war protests, and Berkeley city government. In this collection there are references and articles to such events as the riots in Berkeley, Calif. and Baton Rouge, La. and such civil rights activists as Angela Davis, Huey Newton, and [Jesse] Jackson. The collection gives a detailed history of the establishment of the National Civil Rights Museum from its inception to final construction and opening.
Digital Status: No
Existing IDs: MS 345
Extent: 10 boxes containing correspondence and newspaper clippings; 2 boxes containing books and architectural manuals; 1 folder containing political campaign material; 1 set of architectural plans for the National Civil Rights Museum
Interviewees: D'Army Bailey
Rights (Extant): Researchers who want to edit these papers or quote extensively must get permission from Judge Bailey.
African American college students
African American judges
African American lawyers
African American political activists
African American politicians
African Americans--Education (Higher)
Civil rights movements--Southern States
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
National Civil Rights Museum