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Cleveland L. Sellers, Jr. papers

 Collection
Identifier: AMN 1017

Collection Overview

The majority of the collection details Cleveland L. Sellers, Jr.'s role in a variety of student, civil rights, leftist, and Pan African movements in the 1960s and 1970s; other materials documenting his personal, academic, and professional life. Many of the materials are in photocopy form, the originals, severely water and mold damaged, having been removed.

A small series of personal papers include childhood magazine covers, papers regarding his draft resistance case (1967-1971); a 1983 unsuccessful bid for city council in Greensboro, North Carolina; biographical clippings; a few scattered items from his mother Pauline Taggert Sellers' youth and early marriage, including V Mail; data regarding other family members, and information regarding Denmark, and Bamberg County, South Carolina churches and schools, including Voorhees College and the Denmark Chapter of the South Carolina Area Trade Schools; with Seller's contracts for his book The River of No Return. Personal correspondence (1960s-1990s) regarding Sellers' political views and activities include letters (1968) from jail, with some mentions of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) and events, legal problems and pardon relating to the Orangeburg Massacre. Materials on the latter topic include photocopies of court papers, Sellers' appeal to the South Carolina Supreme Court (circa 1970), clippings and responses regarding the event; and a radio and a film script based on the event, with related materials. Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) papers (1960-1997, bulk 1960s) include reports and memos regarding its history, structure, administration, projects, publications, and broadsides with references to Students for a Democratic Society, Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown (Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin), Eldridge Cleaver and others; with photocopies of surveillance files on Sellers and the organization obtained from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Mississippi State Sovereignty Committee. All African Revolutionary People's Party materials (1972-1989, bulk 1970s) detail its administration, membership levels, its ideology, influenced by the political thought of Kwame Nkrumah, and publications, including those from its program, African Liberation Day. Also in the collection are materials documenting various African countries and movements including copies of major documents of the Sixth Pan African Congress (1974), articles regarding the political philosophy of Ahmed Sekou Toure and a variety of materials from various domestic groups, committees, and organizations involved in Black Power and Pan Africa movements and Civil Rights, including the Black Panthers, Blacks United for Action (Columbia, South Carolina), Congress of African People, National Black United Front and others. School-related organizations include the Student Organization for Black Unity (SOBU), with reports, and memos(1960s-1970s) regarding its organization, goals and administration; various black student groups from a number of American colleges and universities, such as Cornell, Harvard and Duke, with a small amount of information regarding student unrest at Allen University (1967) and Voorhees College (1969), with more significant data (1969-1971) regarding the founding, organization, and administration of Malcolm X Liberation University, first located in Durham, North Carolina; and photocopies of the legal papers documenting Dr. Sonja Haynes Stone's anti-discrimination suit against Univeristy of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. North Carolina related materials include clippings regarding various commemorations of the student Woolworth's Sit-In at Greensboro, NC, (1960) and similar materials regarding the Ku Klux Klan and Nazi Party attack on the Communist Worker's Party in Greensboro in 1979.

Also included are various drafts of Sellers' dissertation on the Civil Rights movement from 1954-1968. Printed materials include miscellaneous clippings from a variety of sources and newsletters from various organizations, often radical and short-lived. Scattered publications include The Black Panther, The Student Voice, SNCC Newsletter, SOBU Newsletter, The African World, The African Warrior, Black-On (Columbia, South Carolina), The People's Crusader (Atlanta, Georgia), Pan African Roots, New African, and many others; with political broadsides. Photographs of Cleveland Sellers and others including Stokely Carmichael and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dates

  • 1934-2003

Creator

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

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

The son of Cleveland and Pauline Taggart Sellers, Cleveland Sellers, Jr. was born in 1944 in Denmark, South Carolina, where his father was a businessman and his mother worked as a teacher at the South Carolina Area Trade School. Sellers attended local schools and started a student chapter of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored Peoople (NAACP). He attended Howard University and worked with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in various civil rights causes around the south and was elected Program Secretary in 1965.

In 1968, while organizing students at South Carolina State University, Sellers was shot in a melee that later became known as the Orangeburg Massacre. Three students died, and many were wounded; Sellers alone was indicted and convicted for inciting a riot and served time in jail, as he had for resisting the draft, a case that was later dismissed. In 1969, Sellers taught a black ideology course at Cornell University; and later received a Masters Degree from Harvard University. Living in North Carolina, he worked for the city of Greensboro in the Human Resources Department and later as a Housing Administrator; he became involved in many North Carolina related Civil Rights and black consciousness projects, including Malcolm X. Liberation University. He worked in Jesse Jackson's 1984 and 1988 Presidential Campaigns and received his Ed. D. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in education administration in 1987. He was pardoned for his conviction in the Orangeburg Massacre in 1993, and went on to become Director of African American Studies at the University of South Carolina.

Extent

9.0 linear feet (17 archival boxes, 2 oversized boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

Cleveland Sellers, Jr. (born 1944), an African American from Denmark, South Carolina, was a participant and leader of a variety of student, civil rights, leftist, and Pan African movements in the 1960s and 1970s. Sellers alone was indicted and convicted for inciting a riot during the Orangeburg Massacre, in which three students of South Carolina State University died and many others were wounded; Sellers was later pardoned.

The majority of the collection details Cleveland L. Sellers, Jr.'s role in a variety of student, civil rights, leftist, and Pan African movements in the 1960s and 1970s; other materials documenting his personal, academic, and professional life. A small series of personal papers include childhood magazine covers, papers regarding his draft resistance case (1967-1971); an unsuccessful bid for city council; biographical clippings; a few scattered items from his mother Pauline Taggert Sellers' youth and early marriage, including Victory Mail (V Mail); data regarding other family members; information regarding churches and schools; with Seller's contracts for his book The River of No Return. Personal correspondence (1960s-1990s) include 1968 letters from jail, with some mentions of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) and events, legal problems and pardon relating to the Orangeburg Massacre. Materials on the Orangeburg Massacre include photocopies of court papers, Sellers' appeal to the South Carolina Supreme Court (circa 1970), clippings and responses regarding the event; and a radio and a film script based on the event, with related materials. The Affiliation series include Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) papers (1960-1997, bulk 1960s); all African Revolutionary People's Party materials (1972- 1989, bulk 1970s); materials documenting various African countries and movements, organizations involved in Black Power and Pan Africa movements and Civil Rights. School-related organizations include the Student Organization for Black Unity (SOBU); various black student groups from a number of American colleges and universities, with significant data (1969-1971) regarding the founding, organization, and administration of Malcolm X Liberation University. North Carolina related materials include clippings regarding various commemorations of the student Woolworth's Sit-In at Greensboro, NC, (1960) and similar materials regarding the Ku Klux Klan and Nazi Party attack on the Communist Worker's Party in Greensboro in 1979. Also included are various drafts of Sellers' dissertation on the Civil Rights movement from 1954-1968. Printed materials include miscellaneous clippings from a variety of sources and newsletters from various organizations, as well as scattered publications. Photographs of Cleveland Sellers and others are also included.

Collection Arrangement

1. Biographical Materials

2. Correspondence

3. Orangeburg Massacre Papers

4. Affiliations

5. General Information Files

6. Audio Visual Materials

7. Dissertation and Research Materials

8. Artifacts

9. Oversize Materials

Acquisitions Information

Received from Cleveland Sellers.

Processing Information

Processed by Harlan Greene, April 2006

Encoded by Melissa Bronheim, August 2010, and Amanda Ross, February 2011

Edited by Amanda Ross, February 2011 and Aaron Spelbring, September 2012

Funding from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation supported the processing of this collection.

Funding from the Council on Library and Information Resources supported the collection processing and encoding of this finding aid.

Title
Inventory of the Cleveland L. Sellers, Jr. Papers, 1934 - 2003 AMN 1017
Status
Completed
Author
Finding aid prepared by Processed by: Harlan Greene; machine-readable finding aid created by: Melissa Bronheim
Description rules
DACS
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English
Sponsor
Funding from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and the Council on Library and Information Resources supported the collection processing and encoding of this finding aid.

Repository Details

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

Contact:
125 Bull Street
Charleston South Carolina 29424 United States
843-953-7608