The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories
Russell Library oral history collection
Repository: Russell Library. Middletown Room
Collection Description (CRHP): This collection of twenty-five interviews was done in 1976 as part of a bicentennial project. Some twenty oral histories are of African Americans in the community, and others are of Italian Americans. Most of the oral histories of African Americans are of the generation who moved to the North from the South in the 1940s and 1950s, providing a valuable perspective on the life of African Americans who moved North. These interviews address job discrimination, the AME Zion church, housing discrimination, politics, education, urban renewal, and other aspects of life in Connecticut. Two address the civil rights movement in particular: the oral histories of Barbara Davidson and Edgar Beckham. Davidson was the first African American employed at Wesleyan University. She accompanied 5 white students to Mississippi during the civil rights movement as part of the Tuskegee Project. Beckham was the second African American employed by Wesleyan.
Condition Note: The audio recordings are of poor quality, but all the interviews are transcribed.
Digital Status: No
Extent: cassette tapes; sound discs (CD); 25 transcripts
Related Archival Items: The 100-page book titled Black Perspectives on Middletown was edited in 1976 by the Black Women's League. It consists of narratives of African Americans who discuss the black church, politics and housing, and other aspects of black life in Middletown.
Interviewees: Marjorie Harrington, Richard Gardner, Samuel Johnson, Edgar Beckham, Mr. and Mrs. John Davis, Carl L. McKeller, Barbara A. Davidson, Carolyn Hatcher, Edmond McRae, Sr., Bertha McRae, James M. Davidson, Jerome Byrd, Annabell Graham, William Sneed, Sr., Dr. Labella, Sally Davage, William Davage, Anne Cooper, Cleo M. Banks, Willard McRae, James Annino, Charlotte Crampton, Louis O. LaBella, Edward Jackson, Michael Marino, Hattie Wright, James Moody, Michael Petruzzello, Lois Reddick, Mrs. John Alfred Sanders, Martha Robinson, Mr. and Mrs. Scovill, Richard Thompson, Lorenzo Woods
Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights
African American women civil rights workers
Civil rights movements--Connecticut
Civil rights movements--Mississippi
Wesleyan University (Middletown, Conn.)