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Walter Earl Douglas papers

Identifier: AMN 1127

Collection Overview

This collection includes the writings, publications, correspondence, transcripts and research materials documenting and supporting the opinions and ideological interests of Walter Earl Douglas.

1. Biographical Information includes resumes and brief sketches. Also contains several handwritten legal pads documenting Douglas' last days of life.

2. Writings contains numerous handwritten and typed drafts of manuscript essays by Douglas written in preparation for his syndicated newspaper columns. The essays are organized by topics and are divided in subseries. The essays relate to African-American social issues; societal ills in Harlem, New York; African-Americans living in South Carolina, many with a focus on Charlestonians during the 1970s; African-Americans in politics and government in South Carolina and the United States; general topic essays examining national and international issues including Blacks in South Africa; United States politics and government pertaining to elected officials (President Jimmy Carter, Senator Strom Thurmond and Governor James B. Edwards) with topics including Affirmative Action, the Equal Rights Amendment (E.R.A) the Republican Party and the military.

3. Publications contain Douglas' published articles (final typed manuscripts and photocopied newspaper clippings) in local and nationally syndicated newspapers. Subseries includes newspaper columns and editorials: "The Earl of Charleston," written for "The Chronicle," a Charleston, South Carolina periodical; the "W. Earl Douglas" column, a syndicated editorial published in the "Manchester (New Hampshire) Union Leader," "The Daily Advance" (Lynchburg, Virginia) and the "Charleston Evening Post" (South Carolina). Also included are Douglas' self published newsletter, "The Freedom Factor," and booklets/pamphlets regarding political and socioeconomic issues. Several booklets were published posthumously by his wife, Rosslee Green Douglas.

4. Speeches and Media Programing Transcripts contain Douglas' typed and handwritten speeches given at various South Carolina civic organizations. Of note is a transcript Douglas' talk delivered at the Republican Party State Convention in Columbia, South Carolina (1978). Also included are transcripts from Douglas' local television program, "Earl's Byline" broadcasted on WCBD-TV in Charleston, South Carolina. Transcripts include topics on African-American culture and race identity; Apartheid in South Africa; labor and unions; politics and government.

5. Personal Writings comprises Douglas' biographical drafts; draft essays on his fictional characters, "Willie and the Professor;" various themed short stories, poems and plays.

6. Correspondence includes letters mostly written to Douglas by newspaper publishers, political figures, and readers of his editorials and writings. A significant portion of letters is written by William "Bill" Loeb, III, the president and publisher of the Manchester (New Hampshire) Union Leader (1977-1979). Loeb writes of expanding Douglas' readership by promoting his work to nationally syndicated newspapers. He also expresses concern over Douglas' diagnosis of Perenoil Nerve Palsy which resulted in his declining health and ultimate death. The subseries also holds letters from United States Senators Storm Thurmond, Jesse Helms and Ernest F. Hollings, and Governor James B. Edwards. Letters sent by Douglas included replies to his editorial readers and to Thomas R. Waring, editor of the "Charleston Evening Post."

7. Civic Involvement includes Douglas' civic participation with the Charleston County Economic Opportunity Commission and the South Carolina Commission on Consumer Affairs. A subseries of Political Involvement includes conference materials reports and supporting documents pertaining to Douglas' citizen participation with the White House Conference on Balanced National Growth and Economic Development (1977-1978). Also holds letters and invitations from President Jimmy Carter and staffers.

8. Research Materials comprises reports, journal essays, newspapers and magazines articles written by others, and assembled by Douglas as reference sources for his writings.


  • Creation: 1963-1979
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1977-1979


Copyright Notice

The nature of the Avery Research Center's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Avery Research Center claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Biographical Note

Walter Earl Douglas was born on August 13,1923 in Chicago, Illinois. His early youth was spent on a family farm in Washington state. Douglas later relocated to New York City where he met his future wife, Charleston native, Rosslee Tenetha Green. The couple married in 1952 and raised two children, Lynne Victoria and Sherman Elliott. In 1969, the Douglas' moved to Mt. Pleasant, a neighboring town near Charleston, South Carolina.

A prolific writer, Douglas wrote editorials for the "Charleston Chronicle," in which he was managing editor in the early 1970s, "The Charleston Evening Post," and the "Black News (Columbia, South Carolina). During the years of 1976-1979, Douglas wrote for the "Manchester Union-Leader," under the editorial helm of William "Bill" Loeb, III. Loeb promoted extensively for the syndication of Douglas' politically conservative column to extend his readership across the United States.

Douglas authored and self published "The Freedom Factor" newsletter, in addition to numerous booklets regarding his stance on political conservatism, liberal African-Americans, socioeconomics, international and South African politics. He hosted "Earl's Byline" a television talk show broadcasted on WCBD-TV in Charleston, SC in the mid-1970s.

Befriended by South Carolina Governor James B. Edwards, Douglas was appointed as a Commissioner for the state's Consumer Commission in 1977. He was also a board member of the Charleston County Economic Opportunity Commission. On a national level, Douglas participated in the White House Conference on Balance National Growth and Economic Development under President Jimmy Carter's administration in 1978.

On June 5 1979, at the height of his writing career, Walter Earl Douglas succumbed to complications from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis at the age of fifty-six.


3.6 linear feet (9 boxes)

Language of Materials



Walter Earl Douglas (1923-1979), an African-American newspaper journalist and writer. A stanch conservative Republican, Douglas wrote columns under the byline of "The Earl of Charleston" and "W. Earl Douglas." His columns were featured in South Carolina newspapers including the "Charleston Chronicle," "The Charleston Evening Post" and "Black News" (Columbia), in addition to syndicated nationally papers including the "Union Leader" (Manchester, New Hampshire). Douglas' writings incorporate his position on political conservatism, African-American culture, socioeconomics, United States government and politics, international politics, among numerous other topics. The collection documents Douglas' extensive writings through essays, editorials, newspaper clippings of his editorials; transcripts of speeches and television show, "Earl's Byline;" and personal writings of short stories and poems from 1963 to 1979, with the majority ranging from 1976-1979. Correspondence includes letters from elected government officials (President Jimmy Carter, Senators Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, Ernest F. Hollings, and South Carolina Governor James B. Edwards) and newspaper editors, William Loeb, III and Thomas R. Waring.

Collection Arrangement

1. Biographical Information, 1961-1979

2. Manuscripts: Essays, 1972-1978, and undated

3. Publications, 1973-1979, and undated

4. Speeches and Media Programming, c. 1977-1978

5. Personal Writings, 1964-1970, and undated

6. Correspondence, 1972-1979, and undated

7. Civic Involvement, 1976-1979

8. Research Materials, 1963-1979

Walter Earl Douglas Papers AMN 1127
Finding aid prepared by Georgette Mayo
Description rules
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Repository Details

Part of the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture Repository

125 Bull Street
Charleston South Carolina 29424 United States