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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

Kendrick-Brooks family papers

Repository: Library of Congress. Manuscript Division

Collection Description (CRHP): See the interview with Ruby Moyse Kendrick by Tomlinson D. Tood and the audiotapes and transcripts in the Hattie Kendrick series.

Collection Description (Extant): The papers of the Kendrick-Brooks family span the years 1831 to 2000, with the bulk of the collection concentrated in the period 1912-1989. The papers include correspondence, files related to the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs (NACWC), transcripts of audiotapes, business records, photographs, scrapbooks, family papers, book drafts, genealogical charts and research, and printed matter. The collection is arranged in series named for four members of the two African-American families: Ruby Moyse Kendrick, Hattie Kendrick, Antoinette Brooks Mitchell, and Charlotte Kendrick Brooks. A final series consists of oversize photographs and posters.

Ruby Moyse Kendrick (1886-1986) taught in the public schools of Greenville, Mississippi, before World War I and was active in the black women's social club movement for more than fifty years after migrating to Washington, D.C., with her husband and fellow Mississippian Swan M. Kendrick (1885-1923). Hattie Kendrick (1894-1989), Swan M. Kendrick's sister, moved from Mississippi to Cairo, Illinois, where she had a long career as a teacher and as a civil rights and social activist. Antoinette Brooks Mitchell (1892-1974), daughter of Walter H. Brooks (1851-1945), pastor of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., dropped out of college and eloped with actor and musician Louis A. Mitchell (1885-1957), eventually moving with her husband to England and France, where he pioneered jazz music during the World War I era and the 1920s. Some of the correspondence, contracts, and publicity material documenting Louis and Antoinette Mitchell's life in Europe is in French. Charlotte Kendrick Brooks, educator, writer, and daughter of Ruby Moyse and Swan M. Kendrick, married Walter H. Brooks (1916- ), nephew of Antoinette Brooks Mitchell and grandson of Walter H. Brooks (1851- 1945).

A file relating to the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, the largest in the Ruby Moyse Kendrick series, documents her activities with the organization from the 1920s through the 1970s. Over those years Kendrick was executive secretary, director of public relations, historian, and managing editor of the NACWC's official organ, National Notes. The bulk of the NACWC correspondence is concentrated in the 1950s, and correspondents include Irene McCoy Gaines, Rosa Gragg, Ruby Stutts Lyells, Mabel Neely, and Mamie B. Reese. The Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress holds a microfilm edition of the records of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs.

Starting in 1973, Hattie Kendrick (1884-1989) used an audiotape recorder given to her by her niece Charlotte Kendrick Brooks to record her reflections on topics related to the early history of the Kendrick family, growing up in a cotton farming family on Howden Lake in Bolivar County, Mississippi, at the turn of the century, and her life and work in Cairo, Illinois. Hattie Kendrick told of racial violence against her father, Samuel R. Kendrick, and others in Bolivar County and of her role as a plaintiff in lawsuits in Cairo over such issues as pay equalization for African-American teachers in the 1940s and “at large” versus “ward” systems in municipal elections during the 1970s. Transcripts of these recordings are available in the collection, while the original audiotapes are in the custody of the Library's Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division. Notes on the Hattie Kendrick audiotapes and transcripts are available in the book file of the Charlotte Kendrick Brooks series. Most of the correspondence in the Hattie Kendrick series was exchanged with her nieces Charlotte Kendrick Brooks and Martha Kendrick Cobb, and is concentrated in the 1970s, a time of racial and civic discord in Cairo.

Access Copy Note: Restriction apply governing the use, photoduplication, or publication of items in this collection. Consult a reference librarian in the Manuscript Division for information concerning these restrictions.

Sound recordings of Hattie Kendrick have been transferred to the Library's Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division where they are identified as part of these papers.

Date(s): 1831-2000

Digital Status: No

Existing IDs: MSS84736

Extent: 11,500 items ; 33 containers plus 1 oversize ; 13.2 linear feet

Finding Aid URL:

Language: English

Interviewees: Ruby Moyse Kendrick, Hattie Kendrick

Rights (Extant): Copyright in the unpublished writings of the Kendrick-Brooks family in these papers and in other collections in the custody of the Library of Congress has been dedicated to the public.


African American educators
African American women civil rights workers
Civil rights movements--Illinois
Civil rights movements--Washington (D.C.)
Civil rights--Cases
Discrimination in employment
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
National Association of Colored Women's Clubs (U.S.)


Sound recordings


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   September 26, 2018
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