Primary/Secondary Sources

This collection of resources is provided for students, teachers, and scholars interested in learning more about the Jim Crow era. They provide important context for understanding and teaching the laws identified by On the Books. The list is curated by librarians and subject specialists with a focus on vetted primary and secondary sources related to Jim Crow, and most are specific to North Carolina. Resources can be filtered by level (primary or secondary) and type (documents and records, fiction, music, photographs, and scholarly works).

Delano, Jack, photographer. “A cafe near the tobacco market, Durham, North Carolina.” Photograph. 1940 May. From Library of Congress, America from the Great Depression to World War II: Black–and-White Photographs from FSA-OWI, 1935-1945.

View Resource

Crow, Jeffrey J., Paul D. Escott, and Flora J. Hatley Wadelington. A History of African Americans in North Carolina. Raleigh: N. C. Dept. of Cultural Resources, Division of Archives and History, 2011.

View Resource

J. Allen Kirk. A Statement of Facts Concerning the Bloody Riot in Wilmington, N.C. Of Interest to Every Citizen of the United States. [Wilmington?, N. C.: The Author?, 1898?].

View Resource

A Voice From the South: Cooper, Anna J. (Anna Julia)

View Resource

"Agency Circle and School, Cherokee Reservation, Cherokee, N.C." in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill

View Resource

An era of progress and promise, 1863-1910 : the religious, moral, and educational development of the American Negro since his emancipation by Hartshorn, W. N. (William Newton), 1843-1920

View Resource

Delano, Jack, photographer. “At the bus station in Durham, North Carolina.” Photograph. 1940 May. From Library of Congress, Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black-and-White Negatives.

View Resource

Back Ways: Understanding Segregation in the Rural South is an interdisciplinary, collaborative research project designed to unearth, describe, and map the often hidden forces of structural and institutional discrimination that have outlasted the victories of the Civil Rights Movement. This project began in 2014 under the direction of Seth Kotch, professor in American Studies at UNC Chapel Hill, and interviews have been conducted by Darius Scott, SOHP field scholar and PhD in Geography at UNC Chapel Hill. The geographic focus of this project is rural piedmont and eastern North Carolina, where poverty and crime rates remain high, academic performance is low, and residents - especially African Americans, Native Americans, and Latinos - are routinely seen as threatening or incapable. This project is situated in a growing body of scholarship around space, place, and identity, central issues to research in the humanities. It seeks to engage a community in a conversation about how it shaped its own spaces in the face of formal discrimination and the effects of those acts of resistance.

View Resource

State Archives of North Carolina. From the African American Heritage and Civil Rights Collection, PC.2185, B1, F1. Postcard with the caption: "The Baptist Supply Store is the only book store operated by a Negro State Convention in America. It is located in the new Baptist headquarters ' building. 601 S. Wilmington St. in Raleigh, N.C."Collection is open and we seek relevant additions, including Green Books.

View Resource

Feldman, Glenn. Before Brown: Civil Rights and White Backlash in the Modern South. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2004.

View Resource

Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), and David Levering Lewis. Black Reconstruction in America. New York: Atheneum, 1935.

View Resource

Cafe in warehouse district during tobacco auction season. Durham, North Carolina. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

View Resource

DigitalNC. Image shows a group of mostly African American young people in front of the Center Theatre. A "Colored Balcony Entrance" sign can be seen. Numerous bicycles are parked on the sidewalk along the curb. Some of the young people are carrying placards.

View Resource

State Archives of North Carolina. Charlotte Hawkins Brown, Palmer Institute, Sedalia, NC. The Alice Freeman Palmer Memorial Institute, better known as Palmer Memorial Institute, was a school for upper class African Americans. It was founded in 1902 by Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown at Sedalia, North Carolina near Greensboro. Palmer Memorial Institute was named after Alice Freeman Palmer, former president of Wellesley College and benefactor of Dr. Brown. From the General Negatives, State Archives of NC.

View Resource

Civil Rights Demonstration, 4 August 1962, in the Roland Giduz Photographic Collection #P0033, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

View Resource

Civil Rights Demonstration, 7 March 1960, in the Roland Giduz Photographic Collection #P0033, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

View Resource

Civil Rights Demonstrations, 7 January 1961, in the Roland Giduz Photographic Collection #P0033, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

View Resource

Civil Rights Demonstrations, 7 January 1961, in the Roland Giduz Photographic Collection #P0033, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

View Resource

Civil Rights Demonstrators in Front of the Long Meadow Dairy Store, February 1960, in the Roland Giduz Photographic Collection #P0033, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

View Resource

Civil Rights Greensboro provides access to archival resources documenting the modern civil rights era in Greensboro, North Carolina, from the 1940s to the early 1980s. During this formative period, Greensboro was an epicenter of activity, continuing a tradition that traces its roots back to the 19th century when members of the area's large Quaker population provided stops on the Underground Railroad.

View Resource

Civil Rights Street Demonstration., 25 May 1963, in the Roland Giduz Photographic Collection #P0033, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

View Resource

Created by Molly Carmody and Victoria Lasarte for the Digital Durham class at Duke University.

View Resource

Civil Writes march and sit-in, fasters (sic, Civil Rights), February, 1 April 1964, in the Jock Lauterer Photographic Collection #P0069, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

View Resource

Civil Writes march and sit-in, fasters (sic, Civil Rights), February, 1 April 1964, in the Jock Lauterer Photographic Collection #P0069, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

View Resource

Chafe, William H. Civilities and Civil Rights: Greensboro, North Carolina, and the Black Struggle for Freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981.

View Resource

State Archives of North Carolina. Color film strip depicting various photos of scenes and statistics from c.1949-1950’s Duplin County Schools, PhC.188. From Photograph Collections, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC.

View Resource

Colored Charlotte

View Resource

"Colored Troops Man the 155 mm. Coast Defense Guns- Camp Davis, N.C.", Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill

View Resource

Draper, Sharon M. (Sharon Mills). Copper Sun. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2006.

View Resource

Wright, Barbara. Crow. New York: Random House, 2012.

View Resource

Gates Jr., Henry Louis and Tonya Bolden. Dark Sky Rising: Reconstruction and the Dawn of Jim Crow. New York, NY: Scholastic, Inc., 2019.

View Resource

Defense of the Negro Race----Charges Answered. Speech of Hon. George H. White, of North Carolina, in the House of Representatives, January 29, 1901

View Resource

Cecelski, David S., and Timothy B. Tyson. Democracy Betrayed: The Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 and Its Legacy. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998.

View Resource

Don Sturkey Photographic Materials #P0070, North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library.

View Resource

Dr. Martin Luther King (and others) Sit-in at Woolworths in downtown Durham," 16 February 1960, in the Durham Herald Co. Newspaper Photograph Collection #P0105, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

View Resource

Dr. Martin Luther King (and others) Sit-in at Woolworths in downtown Durham, 16 February 1960, in the Durham Herald Co. Newspaper Photograph Collection #P0105, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

View Resource

Dr. Martin Luther King (and others) Sit-in at Woolworths in downtown Durham, 16 February 1960, in the Durham Herald Co. Newspaper Photograph Collection #P0105, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

View Resource

Dr. Martin Luther King (and others) Sit-in at Woolworths in downtown Durham, 16 February 1960, in the Durham Herald Co. Newspaper Photograph Collection #P0105, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

View Resource

Dr. Martin Luther King, Gordon Carey Rev. Douglas Moore - race meeting, 16 February 1960, in the Durham Herald Co. Newspaper Photograph Collection #P0105, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

View Resource

Drinking fountain on the county courthouse lawn, Halifax, North Carolina. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

View Resource

Durham Colored Library, Durham, N.C., in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill

View Resource

Durham Herald Co. Newspaper Photograph Collection #P0105, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

View Resource

Arsenault, Raymond. Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

View Resource

Franklin, John Hope, and Alfred A. Moss. From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans. New York: Knopf, 1988.

View Resource

Gen. J.S. Carr's letter to ex-Confederates : the old soldiers will not be disfranchised : their rights are secure : extravagance and corruption follow Negro rule by Carr, Julian Shakespeare

View Resource

Gilmore, Glenda Elizabeth. Gender and Jim Crow: Women and the Politics of White Supremacy in North Carolina, 1896-1920. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996.

View Resource

“The Negro Motorist Green Book,” published between 1936 and 1966, was both a travel guide and a tool of resistance designed to confront the realities of racial discrimination in the United States and beyond. The book listed over 300 North Carolina businesses—from restaurants and hotels, to tourist homes, nightclubs and beauty salons—in the three decades that it was published. The exhibit by the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission highlights a complex statewide network of business owners and Green Book sites that allowed African American communities to thrive, and that created “oasis spaces” for a variety of African American travelers.

View Resource

These interviews were conducted by Gerrelyn Chunn Patterson as part of her research for her dissertation, Brown Can't Close Us Down: The Invincible Pride of Hillside High School (University of North Carolina, 2005). Patterson, who attended Hillside High School in Durham, N.C., 1972-1975, interviewed other Hillside alumni about the historically African-American high school during school desegregation. Interviewees represent alumni from the 1950s to the 1970s, some of them teachers at Hillside at the time of the interviews. The interview with Evalee Parker discusses the experience of a white student at the school in the 1970s.

View Resource

State Archives of North Carolina. Robeson County. Indian school building at magnolia, NC. December 1939. JWA-27 No. 4482. From the Luther J. Jordan Photograph Collection.

View Resource

Indians of North Carolina : letter from the secretary of the Interior, transmitting, in response to a Senate resolution of June 30, 1914, a report on the condition and tribal rights of the Indians of Robeson and adjoining counties of North Carolina by McPherson, O. M. (Orlando M.); United States. Dept. of the Interior, published 1915

View Resource

Karen Kruse Thomas, a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, conducted these interviews as part of a series of interviews with North Carolina health professionals about the origins and growth of the modern health care system, focusing on integration and its effects on health policy. The interviews contain descriptions of medical training and experiences with a focus on changes in medicine brought about by desegregation, new technology, "socialized medicine" and Medicare, and federal health care programs. Special attention is given to the experiences and activism of African American medical students and African American practitioners. There is also a strong focus on the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

View Resource

Eric Dolphy “Jim Crow” from the album Other Aspects, 1962

View Resource

State Archives of North Carolina. June Kay Campbell (1925-2004), mother of Ralph Campbell Jr., and also William C. (Bill), Edwin, and Mildred Campbell (now Christmas). A General Assembly Resolution 2005-24 and House Joint Resolution 1118 includes the following tribute: "... on September 7, 1960, June Kay Campbell, with courage, confidence, and dignity, escorted her son, Bill, on his first day to school at the formerly all-white Murphey Elementary School, paving the way for the integration of the Raleigh Public School System; and Whereas, despite malicious taunts and threats of violence, June Kay Campbell walked Bill to school every day for three years;..."

View Resource

The first African-American woman undergraduate to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Karen L. Parker was born in Salisbury, N.C., and grew up in Winston-Salem, N.C. Parker worked for the Winston-Salem Journal before attending UNC-Chapel Hill. She majored in journalism and was elected vice-president of the UNC Press Club and served as editor of the UNC Journalist, the School of Journalism's newspaper, in 1964. After graduating in 1965, Parker was a copy editor for the Grand Rapids Press in Grand Rapids, Mich. She also worked for the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers before returning to the Winston-Salem Journal. The collection is Karen L. Parker's diary with entries 5 November 1963-11 August 1966. The entries appear regularly every few weeks in the beginning of the diary and gradually appear less often, ending with entries every several months. Parker began the diary while she was a student majoring in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. One of the first entries concerns the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, her observations of reactions in Chapel Hill to the assassination, and her own thoughts and feelings about it. Diary entries describe her experiences as the first African American woman undergraduate to attend UNC-Chapel Hill, her involvement with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), her participation in civil rights demonstrations against segregation in Chapel Hill, and her arrest after entering a segregated Chapel Hill restaurant. An entry dated 30 April 1964 describes the visit of former segregationist governor of Mississippi Ross R. Barnett to the UNC-Chapel Hill campus and his remarks about the inferiority of African Americans. The diary also includes entries detailing Parker's observations and experiences concerning race relations and discrimination in Grand Rapids, Mich., while copy editor for the Grand Rapids Press and her changing views of the civil rights movement as she considered the merits of self-defense as opposed to non-violent resistance. Entries throughout the diary describe her thoughts about where she belonged as an educated African-American female during the civil rights era.

View Resource

Valk, Anne M., and Leslie Brown. Living with Jim Crow: African American Women and Memories of the Segregated South. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

View Resource

This class project website is a portal to online exhibits about Lumbee history created by students in AMST/HIST/ANTH 234, “Native American Tribal Studies: Lumbee History.” The site is a reflection of our work in class and is not endorsed by any tribal entity, nor does it represent the views of any organization or group. We are on a learning adventure together to explore the myriad resources available about the Lumbees, and to create some new resources of our own.

View Resource

Lowery, Malinda Maynor. Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South: Race, Identity, and the Making of a Nation. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.

View Resource

Redding, Kent. Making Race, Making Power: North Carolina’s Road to Disfranchisement. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2003.

View Resource

In April 1963, CORE’s Floyd McKissick, the attorney and civil rights leader, organized a debate between himself and Nation of Islam minister Malcolm X over racial integration, and he sought to locate this event in his home of Durham, finally settling on a city-owned facility. The very afternoon of the event, however, they were suddenly left looking for a location when the city pulled its support. The shake-up at the last minute not only required a change in venue, but as options were quickly explored, the opportunity also arose for the two to debate publicly on the University of North Carolina campus the next day. This second debate is rarely mentioned today, but was covered in the UNC student newspaper at the time. Of additional interest, the Durham debate was documented by Herald-Sun photographer Harold Moore, and his unpublished photographs provide astonishing glimpses into an event that has received only brief attention.

View Resource

Escott, Paul D. Many Excellent People: Power and Privilege in North Carolina, 1850-1900. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985.

View Resource

Map of Robeson County, NC 1922 – this shows clearly segregated white, Black, and Lumbee areas of the county

View Resource

Minutes of the Freedmen's Convention, Held in the City of Raleigh, on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th of October, 1866.

View Resource

Hurston, Zora Neale. Mules and Men. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1935.

View Resource

Originally published in Negro Digest, June 1944

View Resource

"North Carolina Insane Asylum for the Colored, Goldsboro, N.C." in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill

View Resource

North Carolina's policy in regard to the Negro is segregation and separation with justice, under the constitution by E. L. D

View Resource

North Carolina's social welfare program for negroes by North Carolina State Board of Charities and Public Welfare

View Resource

A tour of Orange County, NC's Civil Rights historic sites.

View Resource

Woodward, C. Vann (Comer Vann), Charles B. Dew, and Robert Josephy. Origins of the New South, 1877--1913. Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Louisiana State University Press, 2009.

View Resource

State Archives of North Carolina. Professor Jacob's School, African-American, students and teacher in front of school, early 1900's, Lake Waccamaw, NC; Columbus County. From the General Negative Collection.

View Resource

Franklin, John Hope. Race and History: Selected Essays 1938-1988. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989.

View Resource

Beckel, Deborah. Radical Reform: Interracial Politics in Post-Emancipation North Carolina. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2011.

View Resource

Foner, Eric. Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution: 1863-1877. New York: HarperPerennial, 2014.

View Resource

Red Cross Canteen (Colored) Hamlet, N.C. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

View Resource

Redlining maps of various North Carolina cities (originals at the Library of Congress)

View Resource

Remarks of Hon. John D. Bellamy, of North Carolina, in the House of Representatives, Thursday, February 1, 1900 by Bellamy, John Dillard, 1853-1942, published 1900 (re: federal aid to Lumbee)

View Resource

American Public Media’s Remembering Jim Crow

View Resource

And Chafe, William H., Raymond Gavins, Robert Rodgers Korstad, and Behind the Veil Project. Remembering Jim Crow : African Americans Tell about Life in the Segregated South. New York: New Press, in association with Lyndhurst Books of the Center for Documentary Studies of Duke University, 2001.

View Resource

Report of the Governor's Commission for the Study of Problems in the Education of Negroes in North Carolina, 1935

View Resource

Republican Mass Meeting. Pursuant to Call, the Colored Republicans of the Various Wards of the City of Charlotte Met at Zion School House, September 4th, 1884

View Resource

State Archives of North Carolina. Rev. Richmond H.W. Leak (1845-1920) was presiding elder of the Raleigh district of the AME church. He was active in ‘Fusion’ politics, 1894-1900, which was a collaboration of the Republican and Populist parties that gained large majorities in both the state senate and house in the elections of 1894. The Fusion coalition succeeded in electing a Republican governor, Daniel Russell, in the election of 1896. Leak was also editor of the Outlook, a pro-fusion newspaper established in 1895. Rev. R.H.W. Leak died in 1920, and is buried in Raleigh’s Mt. Hope Cemetery.

View Resource

Southern Oral History Program, UNC-Chapel Hill, interviews focusing on the process and challenges of tri-racial school desegregation in Robeson County, N.C. Interviewees discuss the internal political dynamics of the Lumbee and Tuscarora Indians of Robeson County, as well as black and white, white and Indian, and black and Indian race relations. While these interviews focus broadly on school desegregation, they also range over multiple facets of the civil rights movement in Robeson County, 1954-1988. The mechanics of segregation and desegregation, interviewees' experiences in a tri-racial community, and present-day attitudes are discussed.

View Resource

"Scotia Seminary, Colored Female College, W. Depot St. Concord, N.C." in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection

View Resource

This collection of interviews in the Southern Oral History Program at UNC-Chapel Hill was conducted by Pamela Grundy as part of her research for a book on North Carolina athletics, Learning to Win: Sport, Education and Social Change in Twentieth-Century North Carolina (University of North Carolina Press, 2001). The interviews with John McLendon and James Ross deal largely with African American sport during segregation. Ross's interview also contains a good deal of material on African American community life generally. The interviews with William Friday and Susan Shackelford deal with athletics and integration. The Shackelford interview focuses on the integration of high school cheerleading, and also contains some observations about school integration in general.

View Resource

Speech of Senator Z.B. Vance, of North Carolina, on the Negro question, delivered in the Senate of the United States on Thursday, January 30, 1890

View Resource

Street scene near bus station in Durham, North Carolina. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

View Resource

William Jones, graduate student in history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, conducted interviews that reveal the experiences of the African American working class during the shift from agriculture to industrialization in the 1930s to 1950s. Race relations within textile mills and the lumber industry in Elizabethtown, N.C., Chapman, Ala., and Bogalusa, La., are explored, as are diversities, tensions, and leadership within labor unions. African American leadership during the Elizabethtown, N.C., strike and several strikes in Chapman, Ala., are also discussed. Jones added to his research by interviewing the Green brothers, owners of the Green Brothers Lumber Company in Elizabethtown, N.C., and Mason McGowin, son of the McGowins who operated the W. T. Smith Company in Chapman, Ala. In Alabama and Louisiana, Jones also asked some interviewees about leisure time activities, including music and dancing.

View Resource

The Carolina Times of Durham, NC

View Resource

The Croatan Indians of Sampson County, North Carolina. Their Origin and Racial Status. A Plea for Separate Schools, by Butler, George Edwin, 1868-1941

View Resource

The Daily Record of Wilmington, NC

View Resource

The effects of emancipation upon the mental and physical health of the Negro of the South by Miller, J. F. (John Fulenwider), 1834-1905

View Resource

The First Freedom Ride

View Resource

The Great Negro Fair. Bulletin No. 2. Raleigh, North Carolina, October, 1904

View Resource

The Hayti Spectrum oral history interviews, conducted by Brenda L. Williams, explore African American life from the 1920s to the 1960s in the Hayti community of Durham, N.C.

View Resource

The Lumbee Indians Annotated Bibliography by Glenn Ellen Starr Stilling

View Resource

The Marrow of Tradition, Charles Chestnutt at DocSouth

View Resource

The Negro and his white allies 1900

View Resource

The Negro population of North Carolina : social and economic by Larkins, John R. (John Rodman); North Carolina State Board of Charities and Public Welfare

View Resource

The Negro state college seeks and deserves your support by Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina

View Resource

The election of 1898 was one of the most significant elections in the history of North Carolina. The effects of the campaign, and many of the issues that were raised, would last long into the twentieth century.

This website is designed for students, teachers, and researchers studying this important period in the history of North Carolina. Using primary sources drawn from the holdings of the North Carolina Collection at Wilson Special Collections Library, UNC-Chapel Hill, this site will allow users to explore the issues of the campaign by examining contemporary newspaper articles, speeches, and editorial cartoons.

View Resource

Kousser, J. Morgan. The Shaping of Southern Politics: Suffrage Restriction and the Establishment of the One-Party South, 1880-1910. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1974.

View Resource

Woodward, C. Vann (Comer Vann). The Strange Career of Jim Crow. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1955.

View Resource

The Upbuilding of Black Durham. The Success of the Negroes and Their Value to a Tolerant and Helpful Southern City by Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963

View Resource

Herbin-Triant, Elizabeth A. Threatening Property: Race, Class, and Campaigns to Legislate Jim Crow Neighborhoods. New York: Columbia University Press, 2019.

View Resource

Benjamin Filene Director of Public History and associate professor of history at UNC Greensboro donated these interviews, conducted between 2011 and 2014. They were research tools in his effort to do a microhistory of a single children's book Tobe, which was published by UNC Press in 1939. Illustrated with dozens of black-and-white photographs, Tobe was one of the first children's books to feature depictions of everyday African Americans.

Filene saw the book and the story behind it as a way to open up rich issues in twentieth-century cultural and social history: the complexities of race and representation, visions of childhood, the history of juvenile literature, and the lived experience of rural life in the pre-civil rights South. Filene identifed the people in the photos (primarily the Garner, Herbin, Goins, and Shoffner families, who lived in the African American community of Goshen, now part of Greensboro, N.C.), the family on whom the story was based (the McCauleys, who lived in rural Orange County, N.C.), the author (Hillsborough, N.C., schoolteacher Stella Sharpe), and the photographer (Charles Farrell of Greensboro). Nearly seventy-five years after the book's publication, Filene conducted more than twenty interviews with people involved in the book (or the communities it depicts) and their descendants. These interviews were central to Filene's efforts to understand the book's history and its place in personal and public memory.

Filene shared his findings in an exhibition in the North Carolina Collection Gallery, "Where is Tobe? Unfolding Stories of Race, Childhood, and Rural Life" (October 2014-March 2015). That exhibition drew on the holdings of UNC's North Carolina Collection, which include prints and negatives of the book's original photos and nearly 200 alternate photographs, and of the Southern Historical Collection, which include correspondence between UNC Press and the photographer and author.

View Resource

Brown, Leslie. Upbuilding Black Durham: Gender, Class, and Black Community Development in the Jim Crow South. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008.

View Resource

We challenged JIM CROW! (Journey of Reconciliation)

View Resource

The On the Books website is a product of a digital scholarship project and will not be maintained in perpetuity. The site will be reviewed December 31, 2024. Depending on use, funding, and maintenance required, the site may be decommissioned and archived at that time. The text corpora created for this project will be preserved in the Carolina Digital Repository.
Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Shree Clean by Canyon Themes.