Manuscript Collections

Mark Bernstein Papers, 1952-2015
Papers documenting Mark Bernstein's work in the Charlotte arts community (including the Charlotte Symphony, Bechtler Museum and Blumenthal Performing Arts Center), Shalom Park and its constituent organizations and the Charlotte law community. Contains correspondence, newspaper articles, deeds, awards, lectures, journals and printed works. Only a portion of this collection has been digitized, the journals and one of Bernstein's writings, "Hour of Trial." For a complete description of the collection, visit https://findingaids.uncc.edu/repositories/4/resources/1371.
Charlotte Mayor's Committee on Race Relations Records, 1960-1965
Charlotte mayor (from 1957-1961) James Saxon Smith formed the Mayor’s Friendly Relationship Committee in response to sit-ins at lunch counters led by Johnson C. Smith students in uptown Charlotte on February 12, 1960. The mayor’s goal for this committee was to facilitate conversations between lunch counter protesters, who wanted to integrate Charlotte's restaurants, and local business owners so they could come to a resolution on their own. Smith appointed Dr. John R. Cunningham to chair the committee, who was the director of the Presbyterian Foundation and had previously served as the president of Davidson College from 1941-1957. By July 1960, the MFRC had helped the lunch counter owners and student protesters come to an agreement, resulting in the integration of many of Charlotte’s lunch counters. At the urging of Dr. Cunningham and other civic and religious leaders, the work of the committee continued and expanded to explore issues of housing, education, equal opportunities for work, crime, and the impact of segregation on communities. Stan Brookshire was elected mayor of Charlotte in 1961, and the committee was then restructured and renamed the Mayor’s Community Relations Committee (MCRC). The committee included black and white men and women, and was comprised of 27 notable Charlotte area residents including newspaper editors, politicians, ministers, physicians, teachers, and businessmen. The work of the MFRC and MCRC led to the establishment of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations agency, which aims to promote quality of opportunity for all of Charlotte’s citizens. This collection mostly comprises correspondence, including letters to and from MCRC committee chair John R. Cunningham, and the correspondence of mayor James Saxon Smith relating to the establishment of the committees. Some correspondence contains racist sentiments in opposition to the committee and to integration as a whole. The collection also contains committee minutes, memorandums, pamphlets, and research materials on the subject of race relationships that were used by the committee in developing their awareness of the issue. The content of this collection provides insight regarding the city’s changing attitudes towards segregation, integration, and race relations, and the impact these changes had on the community. The Charlotte Mayor's Committee on Race Relations records are housed in the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. The finding aid is available here: https://www.cmstory.org/sites/default/files/special_collections/Mayor%27s%20Committee%20Race%20Relations.pdf#overlay-context=content/carolina-room-manuscript-holdings
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee Records, 1960-1969
Records of a committee established in 1961 by the mayor of Charlotte to help ease racial tensions and to assist in the gradual desegregation of public facilities. Includes correspondence, minutes, and clippings relating to the committee and its predecessor, the Friendly Relations Committee. Also contains material from state and national groups, including the North Carolina Mayor's Cooperating Committee, North Carolina Good Neighbor Council, National Citizens Committee for Community Relations, and the United States Conference of Mayors Committee on Community Relations. The collection is organized by committee. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee was first established by Mayor James Saxon Smith as the Mayor's Friendly Relationship Committee in 1960. The committee was formed in response to sit-in demonstrations at lunch counters led by Johnson C. Smith students in uptown Charlotte on February 12, 1960, which were organized to push Charlotte restaurants to desegregate and serve both black and white patrons. Mayor Smith established the committee to facilitate dialog between protestors and restauranteurs, who were able to come to an agreement and integrate many of Charlotte's restaurants in the early 1960s. Mayor Stanford R. Brookshire (1961-1969) broadened the scope of the committee to include issues of housing, education, equal opportunities for work, crime, and the impact of segregation on communities, and changed the name of the committee to the Mayor's Community Relations Committee in 1961. The committee's name changed again in 1969 to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee to reflect the broader membership through appointments by the chair of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee is composed of 60 members who are appointed for three-year terms. The appointments are made by the mayor of Charlotte and the chair of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners. The Committee's responsibilities include studying problems in the areas of human and community relations and promoting the quality of opportunity for all citizens. The collection is arranged in five series: I. Mayor's Friendly Relations Committee. II. Mayor's Community Relations Committee. III. North Carolina Organizations. IV. National Organizations. V. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee. Series V was not digitized as part of this project. The finding aid for the collection is available here: https://findingaids.uncc.edu/repositories/4/resources/444.
Benjamin S. Horack Papers, 1968-1971
Papers of a Charlotte attorney relating to his defense of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education in the landmark case, Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal courts were constitutionally authorized to exercise broad powers to oversee and produce solutions to achieve school integration, which could include using student quotas as a starting point, and developing new attendance zones and busing policies to achieve more racially balanced schools. Consists primarily of legal documentation of proceedings and briefs prepared by defendants and plaintiffs for presentation to the U.S. District Court for Western North Carolina, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Also includes maps of proposed attendance zones, notes and correspondence, and data on pupil placement plans and school transportation costs. The finding aid for the Benjamin S. Horack papers is available here: https://findingaids.uncc.edu/repositories/4/resources/352.
Margaret Whitton Ray Papers, 1972-1974
Papers of Margaret Whitton Ray, who formed the Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) in November 1973 to develop pupil assignment guidelines for integrating Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools as an alternative to the more conservative integration plan proposed by Charlotte-Mecklenburg school administrators. The group's 25 members were selected by their school "feeder area" or civic organization to speak to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education concerning their views on pupil assignment. Organizing itself into an advisory group to the Board of Education and its staff, CAG adopted a set of guidelines, which were presented to the U.S. District Court in May 1974. A compromise of the CAG and School Board plans was eventually accepted by U.S. District Court Judge James B. McMillan, who oversaw Charlotte-Mecklenburg school integration following the Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education Supreme Court decision. The collection includes clippings, correspondence, findings and recommendations, reports, worksheets, notes, the CAG plan for pupil reassignment, and the joint proposal for school assignment that was ultimately approved. The finding aid for the Margaret Whitton Ray papers is available here: https://findingaids.uncc.edu/repositories/4/resources/272.
Frank O. Sherrill Papers, 1963
The collection consists of newspaper clippings and letters collected by Frank O. Sherrill. Sherrill was the co-founder of the S&W Cafeteria chain, which was segregated in the early 1960s. By 1963, civil rights supporters pushed for desegregation of public accommodations throughout the South, and S&W faced pressure from the public and from civil rights organizations to desegregate their restaurants. This collection also includes a telegram send by President John F. Kennedy, inviting Sherrill to the White House to attend a conference on racial desegregation. The finding aid for the Frank O. Sherrill papers is available here: https://findingaids.uncc.edu/repositories/4/resources/1383
World War I in Charlotte
World War I in Charlotte brings together materials from several manuscript collections held by UNC Charlotte relating to Charlotte, North Carolina's involvement during World War I. Camp Greene, a United States Army camp established in Charlotte in 1917, organized troops in the 3rd Infantry Division and 4th Infantry Division.