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Charleston Branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) collection

 Collection
Identifier: AMN 1048

Abstract

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), was founded by Dr. Carter G. Woodson in 1915 in Chicago, Illinois. The purpose of ASALH is to encourage the study, research, and promotion of African Americans history. The Charleston Area Branch was founded in April 1995, under the leadership of Dr. Marvin Dulaney and Dr. Bernard Powers. The Charleston Area Branch of the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History (ASALH) contains incoming and outgoing correspondence between the local chapter and the national and records (photographs, meetings minutes and agendas, and financial statements) on the events held by the local branch. Additionally, there are records relating to Dr. Woodson, the founder of the Association, including photographs of him and his home in D.C.; and copies of his undergraduate and graduate degrees. The collection also contains educational tools for teaching K-12 students during Black History Month. All series are arranged chronologically.

Dates

  • 1896-2018, undated
  • Majority of material found in 1996-2005

Creator

Historical Note

Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson (1875-1950) in Chicago, IL founded the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History (ASALH) on September 9, 1915, and the first meeting was in 1916. Dr. Woodson, the second African American Ph.D. student to graduate from Harvard (after W.E.B. DuBois) and the father of Black history month, realized that there was a need for research for the neglected African American history and culture and thence began the publication of the Journal of Negro History and the founding of ASALH. He was the author of influential books in the historiography of African American history entitled The Negro in Our History, The Miseducation of the Negro, and Encyclopedia Africana amongst others. Since 1915, ASALH branches throughout the country have been created to perpetuate the mission and legacy of Dr. Woodson, the “Father of Black History”. The Charleston Area Branch of ASALH was inducted in 1995, after history professors Dr. Bernard Powers and Dr. Alpha Bah, and fifteen students attended the annual ASALH Convention in Atlanta in 1994. After returning, the professors and other persons convened to organize a branch in Charleston. The first meeting was held on November 1994, at the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, with the following attendees: Dr. Alpha Bah, Dr. Marvin Dulaney, Nathaniel Green, Tony Levine, and Dr. Bernard Powers. After this, planning meetings were held at Avery on the third Saturday of each month. Several members then attended the annual convention in Philadelphia in 1995. Dr. Bernard Powers filled the vacant president spot in 1996 before the 1996 annual ASALH convention was held in Charleston. The conference attendees were able to explore, learn, and understand the traditions and impact of enslaved people in the area via the tours of historic landmarks and sites that were given downtown and outside Charleston. Sessions were held with professional historians, sociologists, Black artists and culture and many more presenting their research. Additionally, graduate students and local presenters spoke on Gullah and Lowcountry traditions (i.e. arts and cultural musical forms). After the convention, the Charleston Branch has maintained its positive impact on the community as seen by its increase in adult and youth memberships. The Branch has monthly meetings to discuss the state of the organization, coordinate events, and recognize the local members that have impacted the community. The 1996 annual meeting was the first opportunity Charleston had to host the annual convention and it positively impacted the region as it brought in hundreds of people to learn the significance of this historic city. Charleston hosted the 104th ASALH Annual Meeting in October 2019.

Extent

2.085 linear feet

Language of Materials

English

Collection Arrangement

The Charleston Area Branch of the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History (ASALH) contains correspondence between the local branch and the national association; and records (photographs, meetings minutes and agendas, and financial statements) of the events held by the local branch. Additionally, there are records relating to Dr. Woodson, the founder of the Association, including photographs of him and his home in D.C.; and copies of his undergraduate and graduate degrees. The collection also contains educational tools for teaching K-12 students during Black History Month. All series are arranged chronologically.

The collection is arranged into five series:

1. National, 1987-2010, and undated. 1.1. Administrative, 1988-2007, and undated 1.2. Programs and Events, 1994-2005 1.3. National Publications, 1978-2018 1.4. Various Branches, 1992-1995, 2000, and undated

2. National Black History, 1972-2006, and undated 2.1. Black History Month, 1996, 2006, and undated 2.2. White House Press Release, 1998 and 2001 2.3. Educational Resources, 1974-2005

3. Charleston ASALH Branch, 1989-2010 3.1. Administrative, 1989-2010, and undated. 3.2. Member Information, undated 3.3. Dr. Woodson Luncheons, 1997-2010, and undated.

4. 81st Annual Charleston Conference and Local luncheons 4.1. Annual Convention, 1996 4.2. Annual Luncheons, 1997-2010, and undated 4.3. Financial Documents, 1996-1998

5. Charleston Branch Financial Documents and Various Documents, 1994-2007, and undated 5.1. Membership, 1998-2007, and undated. 5.2. Conferences, 1994-2007, and undated.

Series 1: ASALH National, has four subseries, the first series consists of biographical information on the founder Dr. Carter G. Woodson, procedures to organize branches, and by-laws and regulations. The second subseries, Programs and events have conventions and luncheons held across the United States ranging between the 1990s and 2000s. The fourth subseries, various branches contain administrative information on the Chicago Branch, including correspondence, newsletters, and events sponsored by the Branch. The Texas branch has correspondence and documents pertaining to its existence from the former president LeRoy Fowler. Lastly, the Philadelphia Branch published two newsletters.

Series 2: National Black History, has three subseries, the first subseries contains background information on the importance of Dr. Woodson to the formation and existence of African American history. The second subseries, has statements from Presidents of the United States recognizing the importance of Black history month and acknowledging its existence and proclaiming the theme for the year in celebrating the contributions of Black people to America in various ways. The third subseries, educational resources consists of Black History learning resources, recognition of Black historical figures to history, and local Charlestonian figures.

Series 3: Charleston ASALH Branch, has three subseries, the first subseries contains information on the administrative activities, including documents about the creation of the branch in 1994, correspondence between the presidents (Dr. Dulaney and Dr. Powers) and the national organization. Additional records, include branch by-laws, meeting minutes and agendas, correspondence between local chapters and members. The second subseries has a questionnaire for members to select the planned roster or programs to gain maximum participation, handwritten notes on attendance, and officers. The third subseries contains the program schedule of Woodson luncheons for the members. The luncheons and award dinners recognized Lowcountry persons that helped in improving the lives of others, including photocopies from a luncheon held at the Avery Research Center.

Series 4: 1996 Charleston Annual Conference, has three subseries, the first contains, correspondence in its preparations to gathering support and membership attendance at the convention. The culmination of the conference program through events, lecture sessions, financial documents of spending for sponsors, vehicles for traveling and tours, and hotel cost. The second subseries, Programs and Events consist of the 1996 convention and events held in the Charleston area and Avery Research Center. Including the various conferences that took place and events held in South Carolina with the local ASALH representative for the Lowcountry region. The third subseries contains the financial expenses from the 81st annual convention.

Series 5: Charleston Branch Financial Documents holds membership renewal payments before the 1996 convention and throughout the twenty-first century. Including the financial report comparing the spending in the year 1999 and 2000, and mailing list with members information.

Seperated Materials

The Journals of African American History founded by Carter G. Woodson, volumes 87-89 and 103, have been cataloged seperately.

Title
Charleston Branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) Collection
Status
Completed
Author
Michael S. Simmons
Date
April 2019
Description rules
DACS
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

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