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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

Highlander Folk School audio collection

Repository: Tennessee State Library and Archives

Collection Description (Extant): The Highlander Folk School Audio Collections, ca. 250 audio discs or 154 hours of listening time, contains records of dictated correspondence; labor meetings; panel discussions and reports on integration; and workshops on the United Nations, the student sit-in movement, citizenship schools, and voter registration.

The Highlander Folk School, located in Grundy County, Tennessee, at the southern tip of the Cumberland Mountains, was the leading training center for southern labor and civil rights leaders for nearly three decades (1932-1961). In 1961, the school's charter was revoked by the state of Tennessee for irregularities in its operation as a non-profit organization. Within a few weeks, the school reopened in Knoxville, Tennessee, under another charter granted to the Highlander Research and Education Center. The audio discs in this collection were copied from the original tapes made at Highlander during its last eight years as a "Folk School" and its first two years as a "Research and Education Center". For purposes of brevity, the entire collection is referred to as the Highlander Folk School Audio Collection.

The great bulk of this collection deals with the integration movement. The growth and development of the integration movement in the years between 1953 and 1963 can be traced through the audio collection as students who have participated in the struggle discuss such topics as: the 1953 Supreme Court ruling on school desegregation; the role of various organizations in the movement - National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Congress of Racial Equality, Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Southern Regional Council, etc.; the role of Martin Luther King, Roy Wilkins, and other leaders in the fight; the impact of sit-ins, wade-ins, stand-ins, etc. upon both the white and Negro communities; the role of the white liberal in the movement; non-violence as a force for action in the struggle; the threat of the Black Muslims to the entire integration movement; voter registration drives, citizenship schools, and political pressure to obtain the goals of the movement; and leadership responsibilities of the younger members of the movement.

The remainder of the collection is made up of labor meetings, conferences dealing with world affairs, dictated correspondence by Myles Horton, and background material dealing with the Highlander Folk School.

Condition Note: Check with the repository to see what the listening quality is of the tapes.

Date(s): 1953-1963

Digital Status: No

Existing IDs: Accession Number: 1248

Extent: .84 linear feet; ca. 250 audio discs (154 hours); manuscripts

Finding Aid URL:

Language: English

Related Archival Items: See the records of the Highlander Folk School at the Wisconsin Historical Society. Other collections on the Highlander Folk School are held at the Tennessee State Library and Archives. The University of the South's Archives and Special Collections also has a small, partially processed collection. The Highlander Research and Education Center's website ( contains an online archive and information on the school's 75th anniversary celebration.

Interviewees: Mr. Adams, Ross Anderson, Larry Atkins, Marion Barry, John Beecher, Fred Bennet, Viola Bernard, James Bevel, Ruth Bishop, L. A. Blackman, Helene Boughton, Mrs. Bowman, Annie Braden, Ted Brameld, Cecil Branstetter, Dean Brazeal, Allene Brewer, Floyd Buckner, Anglia Butler, Washington Butler, Guy Carawan, Lester Carr, Paul Christopher, Ike Church, Septima Clark, Alice Cobb, Lyle Cooper, Mrs. Davis, Mr. Delks, Don Fessler, Robbie Fichman, Willie Mae Foster, Mrs. Fowler, Mr. Gadshaw, Peter Gilbert, Harry Golden, Charles Gomillion, Nancy Gough, Robert Graetz, Ruth Griffin, Don Hager, John Hodges, Amiee Horton, Myles Horton, Zilphia Horton, Roy Houts, Esau Jenkins, Ella Jones, James Jones, Kay Jones, Lewis Jones, Major Jones, Walter B. Jones, Beulah Johnson, Rob Johnson, Remlie Johnson, Anna Kelly, Kenneth Kemper, Margaret Lamont, Dr. Lanier, Mr. Lassiter, Mrs. Lassiter, Fulton Lewis, Jr. John Lewis, Alexander A. Liveright, Ann Lockwood, Herman Long, Cornell Lowe, Julie Mabel, Minnie McCoy, Francis Mannis, U. Z. McKennan, Stewart Meacham, Jim Massingill, Avraham Mezerik, George Mitchell, Morris Mitchell, William P. Mitchell, Amzie Moore, Bob Moses, Rev. Newbert, Bishop Nichols, Mrs. Odum, Irene Osborne, Robert C. Palmer, C. H. Parish, Henry Parker, Rosa Parks, Alice Peck, James E. Pierce, Justine Polier, Albert Porter, Cortez Puryear, Carolyn Redd, Rev. Reddick, Lois Reeves, Barbara Reynolds, Nick Roberts, Bernice Robinson, Bobbie Robinson, Fletcher Robinson, Lillian Robinson, Mr. Robinson, Fred Routh, Dorcrus Rutherberg, Rita Sanders, Soloman Seay, Charles Sharied, Fred Shuttlesworth, Mrs. Fred Shuttlesworth, Fred Shuttlesworth, Jr., Fredrickia Shuttlesworth, Patricia Shuttlesworth, A. F. Sloan, R. L. T. Smith, Mr. Smith, Edna Smyre, Dr. Phillip C. Sotong, Emogene Stroman, Dorothy Swisshelm, Robert Talbert, John B. Thompson, Robert Torrence, Tom Tucker, Rev. Turner, William Van Til, C. T. Vivian, Hosa Williams, Sam Williams, Susie Williams, James Woods, Ed Wright, Mr. Wrighten, Wyatt T. Walker, Mr. Yates, Louise Young

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


Civil rights demonstrations
Civil rights movements--Southern States
Civil rights movements--Tennessee
Civil rights workers
Highlander Folk School (Monteagle, Tenn.)
Highlander Research and Education Center (Knoxville, Tenn.)
Labor movement--Southern States
United Nations
Voter registration


Sound recordings


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   September 26, 2018
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