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 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Collections >> Collection Record

The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

Daisy Bates papers

Repository: Wisconsin Historical Society. Library-Archives

Collection Description (CRHP): The tape recordings in the collection contain portions of an interview with Mrs. Bates in 1957 or 1958; a general discussion of the Little Rock situation (government, segregation, Central High School, and the actions of officials) in 1957 or 1958 between an unidentified man and two unidentified women, perhaps taped in a restaurant or other public place; speeches from the ceremony in which Americanism Awards were presented to the Little Rock Nine by the American Veterans Committee, and a taped speech from a telecast by Governor Orval Faubus, during the period of the Little Rock school board election.

Collection Description (Extant): Papers of Daisy Bates (1914-1999), a civil rights activist who as a former head of the Arkansas NAACP was a leading figure in the desegregation of the Little Rock schools in 1957. Included in the collection are general correspondence, primarily relating to Mrs. Bates' speaking and writing; speeches and biographical statements; and microfilm copies of drafts of her 1962 memoir "The Long Shadow of Little Rock." Also available on microfilm are clippings pertaining to Mrs. Bates, her husband, L. C. Bates (publisher of the Arkansas State Press), and the school desegregation crisis in general; research files on the nine students who integrated Central High School; and behavioral record cards of many Central High School students, 1955-1958.
Records of the Arkansas and Little Rock NAACP chapter as kept by Mrs. Bates include legal documents, minutes, printed memos, financial statements, correspondence, transcripts of telephone conversations, and a discussion between NAACP officer Clarence Laws and the nine students.
Tapes in the collection contain portions of an interview with Mrs. Bates, a general discussion of the situation in Little Rock, and a speech by Orval E. Faubus.
The photographs document the activities of Mrs. Bates and her involvement in the desegregation of Central High School and subsequent related events from 1957-1960. Included are images of Mrs. Bates, L.C. Bates, the Little Rock Nine students, and others involved in the desegregation events. Additional images document the violence that occurred as a result of this effort.
The processed portion is summarized above and is described in the register. Additional accessions include a threatening note signed "K.K.K." (with rock and rag), that was thrown through Bates' window in August 1957.

The photographs document Mrs. Bates' activities during and after the desegregation of Central High School as well as the incident itself and the Little Rock Nine. Images of Mrs. Bates include portraits and snapshots of her alone and with prominent politicians and civil rights leaders including Orval Faubus, W. Averell Harriman, President Dwight Eisenhower, and Ralph H. Bunch, Secretary General of the United Nations. Other photographs show her at speaking engagements, presentations and events, and during a promotional event for her book. Also included are images of her husband, L. C. Bates, and construction of their home in Little Rock and its vandalism. Photographs documenting the events at Central High School include images of the Little Rock Nine, their first attempt to enter school, the protests and violence that surrounded the event, and troops sent to protect them. The collection also includes photographs made for Life magazine stories about the Little Rock Nine and the desegregation of the school. Other photographs include images related to the National Council of Negro Women, 1951-1953 and numerous identified and unidentified individuals with possible connections to the Little Rock Nine and/or Mrs. Bates including NAACP attorneys Wiley Branton and Thurgood Marshall; Effie Jones, the first African American student to enter Hall High School in Little Rock; and educator Mary Wilber Weeks-Burroughs.

Date(s): 1946-1966

Digital Status: Partial

Existing IDs: RLIN: WIHVB1750-A

Extent: 2.2 c.f. (6 archives boxes); 6 reels of microfilm (35mm); 4 tape recordings; 123 photographs (1 archives box and 1 oversize folder); plus additions of 0.2 c.f.

Finding Aid URL: External Link

Language: English

Related Archival Items: An online gallery featuring images of Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine is available at

Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights

Rights (Extant): Use of the student records in this collection, both on microfilm and in paper form, is governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. Individuals or corporate bodies other than the Wisconsin Historical Society hold the copyright.


African American students--Arkansas
African American women civil rights workers--Arkansas
Central High School (Little Rock, Ark.)
Civil rights movements--Arkansas
Faubus, Orval Eugene, 1910-1994
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
National Council of Negro Women
School integration--Arkansas--Little Rock


Sound recordings


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   May 15, 2015
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