Let the research begin with the South Carolina Council on Human Relations! 

By Kendall Hallberg

Now that we are getting the South Carolina Council on Human Relations collection up online, the real fun part can begin! There is a reason we are working so hard to get this collection (and, as a department, so many others) up online. That is so that researchers and users can explore, learn, and discover the stories behind these documents. You can read Laura’s post on the materials we’ve gotten up so far.

Digital Collections, as a team, works tirelessly to digitize so many materials and collections. The CLIR team (which you can read about here) has been putting in the effort to upload a lot of material from the records of the South Carolina Council on Human Relations. We are not doing all this work just for our own gratification (though, personally, I get a lot of that). We work so hard so that you, researchers, and users can browse and study the stories that these documents tell.

While creating the metadata, I tend to see some interesting stuff. The South Carolina Council on Human Relations worked in a lot of interesting fields within human relations. It’s amazing to see all the other organizations they collaborated with. But I also get glimpses of some other interesting trends. Since I am working through their general records in the 1950s, there are some hints to research topics one could take much further. Just some of the topics could be how civil rights work was impacted by communism and by women’s clubs and societies, how civil rights organizations work with religious affiliates, and so much more. Here are some examples:

Women’s Society example:  

Typed correspondence
Letter to J. M. Dabbs from Eunice Ford Stackhouse of the South Carolina Federation of Women’s Clubs endorsing Alice Spearman for Executive Director, December 3, 1952

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Communism example, “Loyalty Statement”:

Typed correspondence
Letter to Richard J. Foster from George S. Mitchell concerning loyalty statement with handwritten notes for drafting a form for Alice N. Spearman and Beryl M. Oglesby, November 24, 1954

 

 

 

 

Christian Group example: 

Typed correspondence
Letter to Alice N. Spearman from Carl R. Pritchett concerning the Christian Council on Human Relations in Anderson and its relationship with the Southern Regional Council, March 17, 1955.

Civil Rights work Before Civil Rights Era: A search guide to the SCCHR Collection

Screenshot of SC division of SRC letterhead.
Screenshot of SC division of SRC letterhead.

 

 

 

 

By Laura Stillwagon

389 pages of the civil rights collection Records of South Carolina Council on Human Relations (SCCHR) are now accessible and searchable here on Digital Collections. The SCCHR was a local organization devoted to promoting civil rights and bettering the lives of African Americans in South Carolina and the rest of the South. In these select administrative papers, dated before the Civil Rights Movement during Post-War America, the SCCHR is yet to be formed, and members are still part of the larger Southern Regional Council (SRC) as a state division. As the South Carolina Division of the SRC, the organization’s goals were to foster civil rights by identifying the needs of the underrepresented and marginalized groups in South Carolina and find ways to address these needs through spreading awareness, programs, and other means (South Carolina, 2021). These extensive documents provide insight into how the organization grew and changed and the organization’s inner workings of organizing committees, promoting and performing outreach, and solidifying the foundational ideas what would eventually become the SCCHR.

These 389 pages amass only 8 folders of this collection, which consists of 1,700 folders and spans 1934-1976, so there is certainly more to come. At this time, there is no landing page for the collection, so this link (same as the link above) will take you to a results page with the searchable documents. Another way to search for this collection is to type in the organization name into the search bar in the Digital Collections homepage. To search within the collection, you can enter your search terms into the search bar above the list of items. You can also search for specific items by selecting linked terms within each item record.

Screenshot of search bar to search within a record in the SCCHR collection.
Screenshot of search bar to search within a record in the SCCHR collection.

The digitization work for this collection, funded by Council on Library and Information resources (CLIR) grant for Digitizing Hidden Collections, is rigorous, requiring large scanners and unique metadata. You can read more about the digitization process in the following blog posts made by two digital assistants working on this project.

 

References

South Carolina Council on Human Relations Records, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina. http://archives.library.sc.edu:8081//repositories/3/resources/56 Accessed June 11, 2021.

Get to know a new side of the Zeutschel

By Kendall Hallberg

Scanner software view
Scanner software view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of Digital Collections’ state-of-the-art scanners, that you may remember, is the planetary scanner known as the Zeutschel (or more affectionately “the Z”). We’ve used it to scan all sorts of oversized materials like the Piranesi Volumes and even a quilt. Now, we’re using it to scan a whole bunch all at once.

With the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Digitizing Hidden Collections Grant, Digital Collections is working with the South Caroliniana Library to digitize the South Carolina Council on Human Relations Papers. This project stretches about 35 linear feet which is about the same number of boxes. The Z makes it possible for use to scan through this massive project 8 folders at a time. You can see in the diagram how we fit all 8 folders onto the scanner. To explain how this works, the program (Omnipage) we use with the scanner allows us to split the bed into 8 virtual beds attached to one scan head that creates and sorts the files separately.

Please click on ‘download this file’ in the above media player to play the video.

The work that the program does significantly decreases the work that we manually do with the smaller flatbed scanners at our desks. Streamlined file naming, almost no image post-processing – like straightening and cropping, and perfectly sorted, high-quality TIFFS (the archival best practice for preservation) and JPEGS (the ones we use for our repository), all done automatically. And it all happens relatively quickly! Though not as quickly as the time-lapse presents it – I am not super-human, unfortunately.

 Letter to J. M. Dabs from George S. Mitchell concerning sending the Southern Regional Council’s statement to South Carolina superintendents, 15 December 1950. The Letter is written on Southern Regional Council letterhead.
Letter to J. M. Dabs from George S. Mitchell concerning sending the Southern Regional Council’s statement to South Carolina superintendents, 15 December 1950. The Letter is written on Southern Regional Council letterhead.
Unaddressed Letter from J. M. Dabbs concerning an article in the New South, April 12, 1951. The letter is written on South Carolina Division letterhead for the Southern Regional Council.
Unaddressed Letter from J. M. Dabbs concerning an article in the New South, April 12, 1951. The letter is written on South Carolina Division letterhead for the Southern Regional Council.
Letter format requesting membership dues from Alice N. Spearman written on South Carolina Council on Human Relations letterhead.
Letter format requesting membership dues from Alice N. Spearman written on South Carolina Council on Human Relations letterhead.

James Clyburn: Then and Now

By Laura Stillwagon

As part of the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) grant we recently received, and  alongside digitizing the South Carolina Council on Human Relations archive held at UofSC’s South Caroliniana Library, a new website for civil rights collections will be created to allow for easier searching and browsing of these collections. Much of the civil rights collections available online in Digital Collections, South Carolina Political Collections, Moving Image and Research Collections and elsewhere, encapsulate the state of South Carolina’s experience and memory of the Civil Rights Era.

To prepare for the website, a large assessment and evaluation of the current civil rights collections is being done. While searching through some of the content, some of the recorded early work of James Clyburn, current Majority Whip and Democratic Representative of South Carolina, was found. He has had a long political career in South Carolina, and a lot of his activity during the Civil Rights Era and after was recorded. Representative Clyburn has even been in the news lately for his appointment as Chairman of the bipartisan House committee created to manage spending on measures made to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before the aberrant events of today, Majority Whip Clyburn was involved in both social justice and bureaucracy during and after the Civil Rights Era. An active participant in the Civil Rights Movement, outtakes from the two speeches given by Martin Luther King, Jr. in Columbia show Clyburn at the front row. Following the Civil Rights Movement, he was the acting Head of the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission. Rep. Clyburn was also an assistant to the South Carolina Governor West for Human Resources, where he dispelled misinformation on the economic disparities of poor and African American people-in-need. In 1971, Clyburn was elected president of Young Democrats of South Carolina. In 2015, Clyburn announced the donation of his papers to the Center for Civil Rights History and Research as part of the opening ceremony for the establishment of the center at the University of South Carolina’s Hollings Library.

Video above: WIS-TV newsman Tom Howard introduces James Clyburn, assistant to Governor John West for human resources. Clyburn tries to dispel the “welfare Cadillac” myth, which purports that ineligible people misuse the food stamp program.

Documents and more on James Clyburn can be found here. More local TV newsreel outtakes from MIRC can be found here, as well as more collections that document South Carolina during the Civil Rights Era. Stay tuned for our CLIR digital collection updates!

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References

Forgey, Q. (2020, 5 April). Clyburn: House coronavirus panel ‘will be forward-looking,’ not review Trump’s early response. Politico. Retrieved from https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/05/trump-clyburn-house-coronavirus-panel-166064