This menu is from the nightclub that Malcolm X describes affectionately in his autobiography. Malcolm X worked there as a day waiter between 1942 and 1943. At Smalls, Malcolm makes a good impression on the customers and on his employers, and learns various hustling techniques, the etiquette of the Harlem underworld, and the history of the neighborhood. With his tips, Malcolm begins to invest a lot of money in the numbers racket, the popular unofficial lottery in Harlem. Continue reading
This 1949 advertisement for the movie “Lost Boundaries” measures 10″x 6.5″ and appears to be for a theater in Alexandria, Virginia. It says, “If he revealed his secret it would blast four lives wide open!! So out-of-the-ordinary, you’ll HAVE TO SEE IT TO BELIEVE IT!”
Atlanta banned the film under a statute that allowed its censor to prohibit any film that might “adversely affect the peace, morals, and good order of the city”. Memphis did so as well, with the head of the Board of Censors saying: “We don’t take that kind of picture here.” Continue reading
Other than photos of my wife and children, this is perhaps my most meaningful possession. When I learned of the murder of Emmett Till (which many historians cite as the unofficial beginning of the Civil Rights Movement), I was devastated in an unhealthy way. Even to this day, I have never stopped thinking about Emmett and the men who were never brought to justice…even though he was murdered many years before I was born. I poured-out my heart in a letter to his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley expressing the burden I had about her son’s death. In the letter, I committed to telling others about Emmett. Receiving this response from Mrs. Till-Mobley did more for me than words can express. She passed away in 2003.
An undeniable sign of the times, this 1970 board game “Blacks & Whites” says (on the bottom cover) “Experience the ghetto. Live on welfare. Try to buy in a white suburb. Your challenge: To keep the land-hungry majority type from winning the game cheaply and quickly.” It also says “…if Black players turn the tide against white advantages–a kind of irrepressible excitement takes over the board.” Continue reading
James Earl Ray (March 10, 1928 – April 23, 1998) was an American fugitive and felon convicted of assassinating Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. On June 8, 1968, two months after King’s death, Ray was arrested at London Heathrow Airport attempting to leave the United Kingdom for Brussels on a false Canadian passport. At the airport, officials noticed that Ray carried another passport under a second name. The UK quickly extradited Ray to Tennessee, where he was charged with King’s murder. He confessed to the crime on March 10, 1969, his 41st birthday, and after pleading guilty he was sentenced to 99 years in prison. On June 10, 1977, Ray and six other convicts escaped from Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in Petros, Tennessee. They were recaptured on June 13. A year was added to Ray’s previous sentence, increasing it to 100 years.
The Church and the Negro, A Discussion of Mormons, Negroes and the Priesthood by John Lewis Lund, copyright 1967, third printing 1968. From the dust jacket it says the book “openly and frankly discusses and documents the Mormon position concerning the Negro. “In regard to inter-marriage with the Negro…God does not approve!” Continue reading
This is a fascinating book written by Wynetta Willis Martin about her experiences as the first African-American in the famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir. She staunchly supports the LDS church even though, at the time of her autobiographical account, the Mormon Church would not allow African-Americans to become priests. The latter part of the book includes the chapter “Why Can’t the Negro Hold the Priesthood” by John D. Hawkes. The “Forward” (see photo) is written by Odgen Mayor Bart Wolthuis. Five newspaper articles written about Ms. Martin are included in the book (see photos). Continue reading
This May 2nd, 2001 mint condition copy of The Birmingham News has the cover story “BLANTON GUILTY” which details the conviction of Ku Klux Klansman Thomas E. Blanton who bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing 4 little girls, on September of 1963. Subtitle says, “Prosecutor: ‘Justice Delayed Is Still Justice'”.
I obtained this newspaper after flying to Birmingham, Alabama to witness this historic trial. While only there a few days, I was blessed to be there for the rendering of the verdict of “Guilty”; an unforgettable moment. Continue reading
–The original poster advertising the event
–An “I Was There” pennant
–3 “Final Call” newspapers advertising the MMM, 1 “Final Call” chronicling the event after it concluded, and 3 newspapers reporting the MMM the next day (New York Times, Rocky Mtn News, and USA Today).
–The official book that was released (see the table of contents which shows sections including “Spiritual and Historical Significance”, “Home Training Units”, and “interviews and Comments”).
The A. G. Gaston Motel is a former motel located at 1510 5th Avenue North, now part of Birmingham’s “Civil Rights District”. It was constructed in 1954 by businessman A. G. Gaston to provide higher-class service to black visitors during the city’s decades of strictly-segregated business and recreation. It would become Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s headquarters for Birmingham’s “Project C” leading to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Continue reading
This matchbook cover is for the infamous Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee where on April 4th, 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated while standing on its balcony in front of room 306…. Continue reading
A 70’s gem, Black Is Beautiful was published in 1972. Using simile to compare beautiful black objects (natural and otherwise) to black skin, this small book does a fantastic job of countering the devaluation of non-white skin.
Bull Connor was an international symbol of institutional racism. Bull Connor directed the use of fire hoses and police attack dogs against civil rights activists; child protestors were also subject to these attacks. Continue reading
Diane Nash was part of the first successful lunch counter sit-in, she was a freedom rider, she co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and was involved in the Selma voting rights movement. Ms. Nash was jailed many times for the cause of civil rights and spent time in jail while she was pregnant with her first child; her crime was teaching nonviolent tactics to children. Few civil rights leaders were as militant as Diane Nash. When violence stopped the first Freedom Ride in Alabama, Diane Nash was insistent that the rides continue. “The students have decided that we can’t let violence overcome,” she told civil rights legend Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, “We are coming into Birmingham to continue the Freedom Ride.” She later led all the rides from Birmingham to Jackson in 1961.
This Tuskegee Airmen book Lonely Eagles is signed by 6 Tuskegee Airmen, with at least 2 of them identifying themselves as being part of the famed 99th Fighter Squadron. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators in the United States armed forces. During World War II, Black Americans in many U.S. states were still subject to the Jim Crow laws and the American military was racially segregated Continue reading
This is an outstanding biography of the greatest hero (in my opinion) of the American Civil Rights Movement: Rev. FRED SHUTTLESWORTH. It is also signed by the author, Doug Ervin. Book and dustjacket are in mint condition. Read the back cover (see photo) to see why this man matters. Our country lost an amazing General of the Civil Rights Movement when Shuttlesworth graduated to heaven in 2011.
Shuttlesworth was whipped with a chain for trying to enroll his children in a white school. He advertised that he was going to do it and knew he was going to suffer for it (his wife was also stabbed during the effort). His home was bombed with 16 sticks of dynamite by the KKK and he miraculously survived. Shuttlesworth invited Martin Luther King to Birmingham resulting in the climax of the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement. As a result, the 1964 Civil Rights Act can be attributed initially to HIS efforts.
These two signs advertised “ONeil Resturant” in Selma, Alabama in the 1990’s. Oneil Hoggle was one of 4 segregationists wrongfully acquitted by an all-white jury of killing Civil Rights supporter Reverend James Reeb. Oneal Hoggle later opened a used car dealership (still open) and the restaurant; I believe the restaurant no longer exists. These signs are made of thick, dark green plastic. Continue reading
- –TV Guide (Jan 22-28 1977)
- –Vinyl LP (still in shrinkwrap)
- –Jet Magazine (January 27, 1977)
- –Music Book (all about the music of “Roots”), includes poster (see photo of Kunta Kinte raising child to the heavens)
- –Time Magazine (February 14, 1977), signed by Levar Burton
- –Large publicity still from rebroadcast (Ed Asner and Levar Burton)
- –Roots Magazine
“All 4 in King Beating Acquitted” This is the COMPLETE newspaper from the acquittal of the 4 police officers charged with beating black motorist Rodney King. Newspaper is in great condition; a real time capsule. Rodney Glen King III (April 2, 1965 – June 17, 2012) was an American construction worker who became nationally known after being beaten by Los Angeles police officers following a high-speed car chase on March 3, 1991. A local witness, George Holliday, videotaped much of it from his balcony. The footage shows five officers surrounding King, several of them striking him repeatedly, while other officers Continue reading
In 1995, Radio Shack manufactured a translating device (model 63-797) that made headlines when someone noticed that it translates the word “black” to “nigger”. Radio Shack recalled this specific model and issued a written apology. Upon hearing this, I went to Radio Shack to attempt to purchase the device for my collection. When I arrived, all of the units had long-since been pulled from the shelves…except a demo. I successfully talked the young cashier (unaware of the controversy) into selling me the demo.
This book by Earl Edward Muntz is a 1927 scientific explanation about what happened to primitive and aboriginal races when caucasians conquered/displaced them. From the preface it says “The rapid dispersal of the Caucasian peoples throughout the inhabitable portions of the world during the past four or five centuries has been fraught with unfortunate consequences for the backward races of mankind.” Continue reading
The Negro: An American Asset by Rev. S.J. Fisher, DD. Published by Board of Missions for Freedmen of the Presbyterian Church in the USA. Surprising verbiage from the Presbyterian Church: “We can neither understand the Negro, nor realize how great is his progress if we do not look back to the pit from which he was digged. We cannot sympathize or feel a loving consideration for this people unless we see him emerge from savagery.” Continue reading
This is a pamphlet dated Feb 1969 that was produced for the school system. It is titled The Rightness of Whiteness, The World of the White Child in a Segregated Society. Really unusual, written by the Michigan-Ohio Regional Educational Laboratory as part of a program to combat the causes and effects of racism.
This is a rare 1st Edition hardcover of The Mind In Chains: the Autobiography of a Schizophrenic by William L. Moore. William Lewis Moore (April 28, 1927 – April 23, 1963) was a postal worker and Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) member who staged lone protests against racial segregation. He was murdered on his final protest. On April 23, 1963, about 70 miles (110 km) into a march, Moore was interviewed by Charlie Hicks, a reporter from radio station WGAD in Gadsden, Alabama, along a rural stretch of U.S. Highway 11 near Attalla, Alabama. The station had received an anonymous phone tip about Moore’s location Continue reading
This hardbound book is like a reference manual. The subtitle is “STATE BY STATE PROBLEMS AND PROGRESS IN: EATINGPLACES/ VOTING/ HOUSING/ EDUCATION/ EMPLOYMENT/ TRAVELS/ HOTEL“. Written by Richard Barnett and Joseph Garai, it answers many practical questions such as “Where can a Negro get a haircut in Iowa?” or “Is intermarriage legal in Missouri?” or “What is the housing situation in Alaska?” or “Are public schools desegregated in Nevada?….in New York?” Book gives a state by state account of all 50 states.
The idea of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a holiday was promoted by labor unions in contract negotiations. After King’s death Continue reading
Former Klansman turned Louisiana politician, this is from David Duke’s run for the Presidency in 1988, This 1.75″ diameter button is in excellent condition. It has dark wording that reads “The New Minority WASP’S FOR DAVID DUKE FOR PRESIDENT”
David Ernest Duke (born July 1, 1950) is an American White nationalist, writer, right-wing politician, and a former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, and former Republican Louisiana State Representative. He was a candidate in the Democratic presidential primaries in 1988 and the Republican presidential primaries in 1992. Duke has unsuccessfully run for the Louisiana State Senate, United States Senate, United States House of Representatives, and Governor of Louisiana.
This is a 1st Edition of Three Years In Mississippi by James Meredith. In 1962, James Meredith was the first African-American student admitted to the segregated University of Mississippi, an event that was a flashpoint in the African American civil rights movement. Continue reading
This book This Is What We Found by Ralph and Carl Creger, is an insider-look at race relations from a student who attended Little Rock High School. “…A Little Rock father and son dispassionately explore the background of the issue that tore Little Rock asunder. The authors shun the traditional arguments of segregationists and integrationists….They discover that segregation is an innovation rather than a Southern tradition and that it has its unique counterparts in all sections of America….[This book] began as a history assignment for Carl Creger, a seventeen-year-old white student of Little Rock’s Central High School. Ralph Creger is his father, chief train dispatcher in Little Rock for the Rock Island Railroad. Both father and son became so interested in the topic that they collaborated to expand it to its present length. It wound up as both a study of the history of the American Negro and the reasons why a white father and son in Little Rock came to champion equal rights and opportunities for Negroes….” Continue reading
In 1965, in remembrance of the 4 girls that were killed in the KKK bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, the people of Wales funded a beautiful hand-crafted window that was installed in that same bombed church. This is the original 1965 program from the Wales Window Unveiling Ceremony. Continue reading
This is a unique book from 1970 that shows (for the author at least) an emerging white consciousness about race. The back cover says “For Whites Only endeavors to provide a road map to guide whites on the arduous trek from old white privilege to new white possiblility.” Continue reading
The park, just outside the doors of the 16th Street Baptist Church, served as a central staging ground for large-scale demonstrations during the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth has signed this First Day Cover issued by the United States Postal Service. Shuttlesworth was whipped with a chain for trying to enroll his children in a white school. He advertised that he was going to do it and knew he was going to suffer for it (his wife was also stabbed during the effort). His home was bombed with 16 sticks of dynamite by the KKK and he miraculously survived. Shuttlesworth invited Martin Luther King to Birmingham resulting in the climax of the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement. As a result, the 1964 Civil Rights Act can be attributed initially to Shuttlesworth’s efforts. Continue reading
Autobiography of J.L. Chestnut, one of the most interesting heroes of the Civil Rights Movement I have ever met (now deceased). Mr. Chestnut has an amazing testimony of the Civil Rights Movement from the perspective of being a black lawyer in Selma, Alabama. The anecdotes of what he witnessed (including the brutality of those beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge during “Bloody Sunday”) during the Civil Rights Movement makes this a must-have narrative in documenting the struggle.
Autobiography of John Lewis, one of the 1st to be brutalized on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama for the right to vote (on “Bloody Sunday”) and the youngest of the speakers at the 1963 March on Washington.
This 1983 1st Edition Hardback copy of “Psalms From Prison” by Benjamin E. Chavis Jr. is in MINT condition. The book is signed and inscribed to Walter Fauntroy who was the first non-voting member of Congress from Washington, D.C. and has been a highly active Civil Rights leader.
These 6 racial “pulp” paperbacks from the 1950’s show how America has been titillated and scandalized by the issue of interracial relationships. Continue reading
This is a hardcover copy (with dust jacket) of one of the 6 books (2 being dictionaries) that Martin Luther King asked his wife Coretta to bring while he was incarcerated in Birmingham jail in April of 1963.
Here is the content of the first letter to his wife Coretta…
“Today I find myself a long way from you and the children…I know this whole Continue reading
This is a Birmingham, Alabama brochure about the New City Hall that was “Built without borrowing.” It has two interior pages. The cornerstone was laid in 1950. W. Cooper Green, President and Mayor James W. Morgan and Eugene “Bull” Connor were Commissioners when it was a Commission form of government. This brochure was printed just a couple of years before the South exploded and the name “Bull” Connor became synonymous with police brutality against black men, women, and children peacefully protesting against segregation in Kelly Ingram Park.
It has lots of detail about the building, who contributed labor, material, and effort in building it.
This very sad 11×14 litho print of Jefferson Thomas being harassed by the white community of Little Rock is a compliment to the “Little Rock Nine Collection” of the larger collection (the Little Rock 9 autographs on the cover of Life Magazine, the Orval Faubus signed letter, the Orval Faubus metal sign, the Hazel Bryan Massery autograph, and the Daisy Bates autograph). Continue reading
This is a June 1970 edition of Ramparts Magazine. The cover says “They are planning to kill Bobby Seale” and shows a depiction of the electric chair on the cover. Cover story is
“Bobby Seale: His Own Story; Jean Genet on The Panthers.” Continue reading