August 2013

Join Our Mailing List!
In This Issue
From the Director

Profiles of Philanthropy

Center Expands Online Finding Aid Database

Society of American Archivists Visit New Orleans

Center to Host POC Zine Project

Civil Rights Ephemera Digital Project

Find us on Facebook


Visit our blog

Make a Donation
From the Director

Each year we call attention to Amistad's need for important financial support that is immediately dedicated to ensuring the highest quality of professional services, technology and equipment upgrades, preservation of collections, and global access to all patrons. Historically, our efforts have been focused on an end-of-the-year appeal during the months of November and December. We begin that appeal ahead of schedule this year with a greater sense of urgency. This edition of our newsletter is the first in a series of communications that will call attention to our request for support of the Amistad Annual Appeal.


The annual fund remains a fundraising priority because of the vital role it plays in providing the resources and flexibility needed to address the Center's most urgent needs. These gifts have increased benefits because they are put to work immediately. An annual donation of $100 has the same spending power as the earnings from a $2,000 endowment.


Annual gifts pack impressive philanthropic power in another significant way. Private foundations, corporate donors, and the media increasingly use participation in annual giving as measure for grant support. This means that annual gifts to the Center not only provide much needed support, but they also improve our chances of receiving new philanthropy.    


While we've made enormous gains in recent years, it is apparent that financial challenges are menacing and a threat to our progress. The involvement of everyone who values preservation of the history of America's ethnic minorities is needed for immediate and steadfast support.


You can make your gift from our website or use the "Make a Donation" button to the left. You can also mail a check today, or make a credit card gift over the phone. Our staff is always eager to confer with donors and accept gifts at (504) 862-3222.


Please give generously in support of the 2013 Amistad Research Center Annual Appeal. 
Executive Director
Lee Hampton
Profiles of Philanthropy

There is no better way to witness the impact of philanthropy than through the stories of people who are truly involved. In this article, actual donors share stories of generosity and reveal the origins of their philanthropy to Amistad. "Profiles of Philanthropy" is one way we share stories of generous donors from all ages and walks of life who are linked by their support and investment in Amistad. The stories are not necessarily about the extraordinarily large gift. They are about loyalty, meeting specific philanthropic goals, and about leaving a legacy for generations of future family members and friends to enjoy.


Doris J. Newton

A Model for Memorial Giving


Ms. Newton was born the youngest of five daughters after her parents moved the family from Burdett, Mississippi, to Chicago. Both parents shared a strong religious faith and belief in family. They instilled principles for appreciation of a solid work ethic, cultural heritage, and racial pride.

Doris has been an active member of the Chicago Friends of Amistad Research Center (CFARC) for over fifteen years. CFARC is an organization that is among Amistad's greatest assets. The group was organized in 1979 to support Amistad financially, encourage donations of collections to the Center, and to sponsor programs emphasizing the preservation of historically significant documents.


The family recalls making an annual gift to Amistad in memory of patriarch William Newton, dating back to 1999, a year after his death. The first gift in memory of their mother, Mrs. Haley Ford Newton, was made in 2010. Each year, Doris Newton and siblings encourage other family members, friends, and colleagues to contribute to the memorial fund that honors their parents and benefits Amistad. Contributors and contributions have grown significantly over the years.


Doris Newton, a retired school teacher, added that she is proud to be a part of an organization that is instrumental in collecting and preserving African American history and providing access to persons around the world. The Newton family's annual memorial gift is wholly appropriate and altogether fitting as a model for families to pay tribute to relatives and loved ones while dedicating support to Amistad Research Center.


Shirley Porter Washington

A Gift that Keeps on Giving


On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina battered New Orleans and the Gulf Coast Region, becoming one of the deadliest hurricanes ever to hit the United States. Nearly 2,000 people were killed, mostly in Louisiana, and 705 persons are reported as still missing. The storm itself did a great deal of damage, but its aftermath was catastrophic. Levee breaches led to massive flooding, and hundreds of thousands of evacuees remain scattered far and wide.


During a phone conversation with Amistad's Executive Director Lee Hampton, the manner of the conversation and tone of Shirley Porter Washington's voice changed at the mention of Hurricane Katrina. She chronicled the sequence of events that led to her and her husband settling in Henderson, Nevada, after first seeking refuge in Baton Rouge, Little Rock, and Santa Clarita, California.


As early as 2006, Mrs. Washington renewed ties with the Amistad Research Center, gaining access to the papers of Countee Cullen for a book she wished to write. In large measure, because of gratitude for preservation of Cullen's important papers, and partly to assist Amistad during post Katrina recovery, Mrs. Washington made a special gift to the Center. She turned to Network for Good, a website that facilitates donations to charities and manages periodic payments of recurring gifts. Her 2008 donation continues to give the same amount every quarter. This is an excellent method of supporting Amistad for those who wish to give but find it inconvenient to mail checks or make periodic credit card payments. It also allows the donor to afford a larger gift by extending the period over which a manageable amount can be contributed.


The profiles of our donors are continuously evolving and changing. We are hopeful that all of our readers will be featured in this section someday as they help fund the Center and discern Amistad's place in their personal philanthropy.
Center Expands Finding Aid Database
Mabel Keaton Staupers displays the Mary Mahony Award for distinguished service in nursing to a group of nurses at the Harlem Hospital Nurses Residence in 1947.

At the Amistad Research Center, we receive new collections throughout the year. We also routinely revisit collections received in decades past to improve collection description and disseminate collection contents to facilitate global access to our unique holdings. Since the adoption of our online finding aid database in 2009, Amistad staff have added nearly 300 complete finding aids to this database. Below are some of the collections, both large and small, added to the database in the past few months.


The George Longe papers reflect his career as an educator and his longstanding interest in African American history; these two interests merged when Longe developed curricula to teach African American history in the public schools of New Orleans in the 1930s. Moreover, Longe served as Supreme Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry of Louisiana for several decades. This collection also includes collected minute books, rituals, correspondence, photographs, and other Masonic documents dating from the 1840s in English, French, and Spanish.


The lives of African American women are chronicled in the Ida Cullen Cooper papers and the Mabel Keaton Staupers Papers. The Ida Cullen Cooper papers consist mainly of materials that reflect Cooper's marriage to poet Countee Cullen late in his life and Cooper's efforts to promote his legacy following the poet's death. The Mabel Keaton Staupers papers document the career of this Spingarn medalist, who worked over several decades to desegregate the nursing profession.    


New additions of family records include the Cecilia A. Barnett Rouss collection, which documents the family of Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and the Vining Family scrapbook consisting of photographs and newspaper clippings of the family of R. J. Vining, a New Orleans physician. The William Kincaid Newman collection reflects the affiliation of two of Newman's ancestors with the American Missionary Association and their work across the country.    


Slavery-related collections include the Margaret Aurelia Porter v. Reuben Reynolds records, which concern a relatively obscure fugitive slave case from the 1810s, while the C. B. Granniss Firm promissory note describes an 1839 loan in which slaves were used as collateral.


Two small, but outstanding collections related to musician W.C. Handy include the W. C. Handy letters and sheet music, which contains correspondence from Handy describing the operations of his Handy Brothers Music Company in great detail, and the Walter C. Reinhardt collection on W. C. Handy, which consists of letters from Handy to Reinhardt thanking the latter for his contributions to the career of the famed jazz and blues musician. 


Travels in Africa are reflected in the Ida Vera Simonton postcards from her 1906-1907 journey to Western Africa, which inspired her novel, Hell's Playground. The Peggy Fleming scrapbook records her thoughts and experiences as a volunteer to Nigeria in the 1961 Operation Crossroads Africa Overseas Youth Program.


The papers of poet, clergyman, and author Daniel Webster Wynn chronicle his work in higher education and his affiliation with the Tuskegee Civic Association, among several other topics. The Marion Palfi slide collection contains 135 full-color, 35-millimeter photographic slides taken of New York and locations throughout the American South in 1945. The James Gordon McPherson collection is a small collection reflecting the life and career of Reverend McPherson, an evangelistic preacher known as the "Black Billy Sunday." The Carroll Barber collection documents the 1924 relocation of an African American community of timber workers from Louisiana to Arizona. Finally, the Sidney Kaplan collection contains a serialized version of William Pickens' autobiography, Heir of Slaves, and several early twentieth century newspaper clippings on African American history. 


Staff are continually adding new finding aids to the database, so look for more information in future editions of e-Amistad Reports and via our blog
Society of American Archivists Visit New Orleans
Archivists from the Poarch Band of Creek Indians conducting research.
The 2013 joint annual meeting of the Council of State Archivists and Society of American Archivists was held in New Orleans from August 11-17, which provided for a busy week for Amistad's staff. Besides staff attending and volunteering at the meeting, the week was full of visits to the Center by our professional colleagues from around the country. Amistad hosted a repository tour for a small group of archivists from the University of Illinois-Chicago, the Rockefeller Center Archives, and elsewhere to begin the week.

Deidra Suwanee Dees, Tribal Archivist for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, and Ellen O'Barr, Records Coordinator, visited to learn more about Amistad's holdings related to Creek history. Dr. Dees and Ms. O'Barr found a potentially rich source of information in the American Missionary Association Archives. Amistad hopes to host them again on a future research trip.

Amistad's Director Lee Hampton talks with Julianna Richardson of HistoryMakers and New Orleans musician Deacon John.
The Center also hosted a gathering of staff and fellows from the HistoryMakers in Chicago, along with invited guests for a special introduction to the Center and its operations. Staff related information about the Center's policies and procedures, its acquisitions and collections, as well as Amistad's efforts to provide greater access to its unique collections. Afterwards, staff were able to continue their conversations over dinner hosted by The HistoryMakers.

Amistad's Audiovisual Project Archivist, Brenda Flora, served as an AV expert at an Audiovisual Processing Workshop presented at Tulane University's Special Collections Library. The two-day workshop was organized by UCLA Audiovisual Preservation Specialist, Siobhan Hagan. Along with two other AV specialists, Brenda guided workshop participants from around the country through the hands-on experience of processing an audiovisual collection, fielding questions, advising best practices, and assisting with the identification of material.
Center to Host People of Color Zine Project
zines at the Amistad Research Center
A sampling of zines from Amistad's zine collection.
The POC Zine Project began in 2010 with a mission to make zines made by POC (People of Color) easy to find, distribute, and share. For those unfamiliar with zines, here's a definition:

Zine \zēn\ n [abbreviation for the word "magazine"]: a small-circulation, self-published, non-commercial publication of original or appropriated text and images that focuses on the self-expression of the author or authors.

POC Zine Project founder, Daniela Capistrano, is a multimedia producer and journalist in New York City, who has done much to promote zines by people of color. She and other collaborators in the POC Zine Project are again on the road this fall as part of the POC Zine Project 2013 Race Riot! Tour. The Amistad Research Center will host the New Orleans stop on Thursday, October 3. A panel discussion with tour members will take place on the Tulane University campus in Dinwiddie Hall Room 102, just two buildings away from Amistad, with a reception to follow at the Center. The multimedia panel will begin at 6:00pm.

Those interested in reading more about the POC Zine Project can visit the Project's website. The Amistad Research Center is also working to document POC zines, and both Amistad and the Zine Project will be accepting donations of POC zines during the panel and reception. For more information on the event and locations, please contact the Center at (504) 862-3222 or
New Digital Collection Provides Online Access to Civil Rights Ephemera
Flier for the 1963 Freedom Vote campaign in Mississippi
sponsored by the Council of Federated Organizations.
The Amistad Research Center is pleased to announce the release of a new online digital resource that documents American civil rights efforts entitled "Print Culture of the Civil Rights Movement, 1950-1980." This digital collection is an expansion of the exhibition "The Revolution Will Not Be...: Print Culture of the Civil Rights Movement" held at the Amistad Research Center in 2011. As the nation's oldest, largest, and arguably most comprehensive independent archives/library documenting the modern Civil Rights Movement, the Amistad Research Center has brought together digitized documents from a variety of archival collections, including the papers of activists John O'Neal, Fannie Lou Hamer, Clarie Collins Harvey, Connie Harse, and John Lee Tilley, as well as the Eric Steele Wells collection, the Center's own ephemera collection, and other sources. Access to the digital collection is free and can be found via the Louisiana Digital Library or through the portal of the Tulane University Digital Library.

This project highlights the newspapers, posters, broadsides, pamphlets, fliers, and other printed ephemera produced by student and community groups, leading civil rights organizations, and individuals, which document a revolutionary era. The Civil Rights Movement in the United States coincided with rapid changes in a variety of news and communications media. The expansion of television and documentary film-making brought images of the struggles of African Americans and those who supported civil rights into the homes of the American populace. However, control of the tone and content of electronic media was not always in the hands of those who were being documented. It was the democratization of various printed media that allowed civil rights leaders, workers, and organizations to circulate their combined, and sometimes contradictory, voices. 

Students, teachers, researchers, and others are encouraged to contact the Center's Reference Department regarding this digital collection and other online resources. For more information, please visit the Center's website.