The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories
Esau Jenkins papers
Repository: Avery Research Center
Collection Description (Extant): Esau Jenkins was born and raised on Johns Island, SC in 1910 and lived most of his life there. With very little formal education, he became a businessman and civil rights leader. Jenkins founded the Progressive Club in 1948, which encouraged local African Americans to register to vote, through the aid of Citizenship Schools, a topic he was educated in by his attendance at Highlander Folk Center in Tennessee. In 1959, he organized the Citizens’ Committee of Charleston County dedicated to the economic, cultural and political improvement of local African Americans. With a personal motto “Hate is Expensive, Love is Progress,” Jenkins prospered his community, helping to found the Community Organization Federal Credit Union and serving on many local boards and committees. The father of a large family, he died in 1972, and after his death many institutions, programs and a bridge were named for him.
The Esau Jenkins papers are in four small series. Biographical papers include printed tributes; death notices and materials, including funeral sermons; a compact disc of images and other papers documenting lectures and exhibits re Jenkins held after his death, along with programs, correspondence and related material re naming of buildings, services and a bridge after him. With genealogical information on Jenkins and his family. The series on his writings holds miscellaneous correspondence and notes and printed versions of his talks and writings. Information on his affiliations contains correspondence, brochures, notes, and other data on variety of organizations he helped found or was a member of, including the Progressive Club, Citizen's Committee of Charleston, Community Organization Credit Union, Political Action Committee of Charleston County, Political Awareness League of Charleston County, and the Highlander Folk Center. Topics mentioned include the 1969 Charleston Hospital Worker's strike, and the protested death of a young African American, Robert Brown, killed by a while policeman in 1970. Miscellaneous materials include photocopies of published materials documenting life on Johns Island, SC and Jenkins' role in citizenship schools run by the Highlander Center and funded by the Emil Schwarzhaupt Foundation.
Date(s): c. 1964- 2003
Digital Status: Unknown
Existing IDs: 1004
Extent: Approx .5 ft.
Finding Aid URL: http://avery.cofc.edu/jenkins.htm
Related Archival Items: See interview with Jenkins housed at Avery.
Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights
African American businesspeople
African American civil rights workers--South Carolina
Civil rights movements--South Carolina
Highlander Folk School (Monteagle, Tenn.)