Magazine article The Crisis

Archives Reveal Rich Legacy

Magazine article The Crisis

Archives Reveal Rich Legacy

Article excerpt


The SCLC files at Emory University document the period between 1968 and 2007.

For the first time in the organization's 55year history, archives of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference are available for public viewing.

"I am really excited that this material is finally open," said Sarah Quigley, manuscript archivist at Emory University's Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL), where the SCLC files opened in May. "I think researchers are going to be really astonished at the depth and breadth of the subject matter of this material."

It took three years to arrange the more than 900 boxes of material, which includes files, correspondence, meeting minutes, photographs and more pertaining to the SCLC's business and activities from 1968 to 2007 - a period in the organization's history that has not yet been examined by the scholarly community, Quigley said.

The collection reveals a broad range of SCLC activities, from lobbying for health care in the 1980s to enlisting churches in the war on drugs in the 1990s. The materials also reflect the SCLC's tireless fight for voting rights well into the 2000s, in addition to SCLC battles fought beyond American borders, such as those against South African apartheid and in support of Haitian refugees.

Founded in Atlanta in 1957 by civil rights activists including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph David Abernathy and Joseph H. Lowery, the SCLC continues to operate today despite troubles with finances and leadership.

In April, the organization installed C. …

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