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Primary Sources for LGBT Research: Civil Rights

This guide identifies manuscript collections and rare book collections that may be useful for scholars and researchers of LGBT studies and the history of sexuality in the U.S.

Baldwin, James (MSS 949)

James Baldwin Letters to David Moses, 1971-1983; .25 linear ft. (1 box)

James Baldwin (1924-1987) was born and raised in Harlem, New York.  At age 14, Baldwin became a preacher at a small church in Harlem.  Baldwin graduated from high school in 1942 and eventually moved to Greenwich Village.  His focus shifted from religion to writing, and he became involved with other writers of the time, including Richard Wright.  In 1948, fed up with America’s racism and homophobia, Baldwin moved to France, where he gained enough distance to write about the America he knew.  Baldwin began living part-time in New York in 1957 and became an active participant in the civil rights movement.  In the early 1960s, he moved back to the United States and continued to be an important voice for equality and universal brotherhood through his writing and his activism.  His works have been noted for their homoerotic themes, as well as for their reflection of Baldwin’s views on social justice and inequality. 

The collection consists of correspondence from Baldwin to David Moses from 1971-1983.  They met at a party when Moses was twenty-one.  From then on, Baldwin served as friend, mentor, and confidante to Moses.  The letters from Baldwin to Moses span more than a decade and address personal and professional matters, including Baldwin’s current writing projects, as well as his health.  The letters also offer insight into the creative, financial, and political challenges of writing and publishing.

Billops, Camille and James V. Hatch (MSS 927)

Camille Billops and James V. Hatch Archives; 19.5 linear ft. (39 boxes)

Camille Billops (1933- ) filmmaker and artist, has had an extensive exhibition, teaching, and academic career.  Since 1968, she has been the art editor of Indiana State University’s Black American Literature Forum.  James V. Hatch (1928- ), theatre historian, has held numerous academic positions, most notably as Professor of English and Theatre, City College and University of New York (1965-1993).  With the rise of the civil rights movement and a concomitant increase in racial consciousness, a demand rose for courses in black American art, drama and literature.  Billops and Hatch found that very little had been published on the history of the African American cultural arts, and much that had been published was out of print.  They began collecting primary materials for their students.  Billops began to photograph the works of black artists in exhibitions and private collections.  Hatch began to collect published and unpublished plays, set designs, theater programs, and historical and biographical works.  They also assembled a library of books, periodicals and clippings related to black cultural arts.  Their work and their archives shed new light on movements such as the Harlem Renaissance, the role of black musicians, and the careers of filmmakers, actors, sculptors, photographers, animators, choreographers, vocalists, and painters.  The thriving gay and lesbian subculture of the Harlem Renaissance influenced the broader community and culture and necessarily participated in this production of art, music, and literature.  A complete set of the journal, Artist and Influence, is a part of the Emory collection. 

Craig, Calvin (MSS 612)

Calvin Craig Papers, 1957-1975; 3 linear ft. (3 boxes, 1 oversized paper)

The collection consists of papers of Calvin Fred Craig from 1957-1975.  The papers primarily pertain to Craig's involvement in the Ku Klux Klan, particularly while serving as its Grand Dragon.  Materials include Klan broadsides, brochures, bulletins, and press releases, constitution and by-laws; membership and information cards; minutes and notes, printed material, photographs, and memorabilia.  There are also materials related to the Klan’s opposition to homosexuality and “sex deviants,” as well as information regarding civil rights activism among lesbian feminist organizations.

Hames, Margie Pitts (MSS 825)

Margie Pitts Hames Papers, 1969-1993; 98 linear ft. (117 boxes)

Margie Pitts Hames practiced law in Atlanta from 1962 until her death in 1993.  After receiving her B.S. at Middle Tennessee State University, Hames attended Vanderbilt University School of Law where she received her J.D. in 1961. After graduation she worked with Fisher and Phillips in Atlanta on labor-management relations. She left the firm in 1968 and the following year began volunteer work for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a Ford Foundation project that worked to prevent confrontations between civil rights demonstrators and police. She opened her own firm in 1971. Hames actively engaged in cases involving abortion rights, women's rights, school desegregation, employment discrimination, gay rights, workers compensation, personal injury, social security claims, domestic relations, criminal defense, medical malpractice, defense, educational rights for gifted and disabled children, and general civil litigation.

Note: Special restrictions apply: some of the case files contain materials which may be restricted due to privacy issues- such files will need to be reviewed by an archivist before access is allowed.

Pauley, Frances (MSS 659)

Frances Pauley Papers, 1919-1992; 52.5 linear ft. (98 boxes, 3 oversized boxes, and 8 oversized folders)


Activist Frances Freeborn Pauley (1905-2003) began her social work during the Depression, and  went on to serve as president of Georgia's League of Women's Voters.  Pauley actively fought to keep Georgia schools open after the Brown v. Board of Education of 1954.  She also worked with the Georgia Poverty Rights Organization.  She was extensively involved in the civil rights movement in Georgia, working alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  More recently in the 1990s, Pauley worked with issues regarding the homeless, gay rights, and AIDS.

Smith, Lillian Eugenia (MSS 491)

Lillian Eugenia Smith Papers, 1940-1962; .75 linear ft. (2 boxes)

Lillian Smith (1897-1966) was an author from Clayton, Georgia who wrote the controversial novel Strange Fruit in 1944.  Smith was also a supporter of the civil rights movement and served on the Congress of Racial Equality.  She and her partner Paula Snelling edited and published the literary magazine South Today.  This collection includes miscellaneous correspondence, speeches, articles, books, and newspaper clippings by and about Lillian Smith.

Note: The bulk of Smith’s papers are held at the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Georgia.

Subject Guide

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