Sunday, January 17, 2010

Southern Regional Council Partners with Major Institutions to Preserve its Archives

The Southern Regional Council (the "Council") recently stepped up its efforts to preserve its major collection of archival material related to the movement for social justice in the South. These efforts received a boost with new additions to the Council's archival repositories at Emory University and the Atlanta University Center.

The Council originated in 1919 as the Commission on Interracial Cooperation
with a mission to oppose lynching, racial violence, and peonage, and to educate southerners concerning the worst aspects of racial abuse. Based in Atlanta, the Commission formed local and state level committees throughout the South and, in the 1920s, there were some 800 local interracial committees. In 1944, the Commission merged into the Southern Regional Council, and since then, has served as a think tank and a resource in the fight to end the legal segregation, promote racial justice, protect democratic rights, and broaden civil participation in the American South.

As early as 1978, the Council began collaborating with major institutions to preserve its vast collection of archival materials. A major collection of material from the Commission on Interracial Cooperation and the Southern Regional Council and its Voter Education Project has long been housed at the Robert W. Woodruff Library in the Atlanta University Center. A major news clipping collection, including approximately 1,000,000 newspaper articles and 3,000 whole newspapers published between 1944 and 1975, is now housed at the Auburn Avenue Research Library of the Atlanta Fulton Public Library System. Emory University has maintained back issues of Southways Magazine and a major media collection, including transcripts, scripts, administrative files, original recordings from the Will the Circle Be Unbroken, the Council's audio history of the civil rights movement.

The Council's newest donations to Emory and to the Atlanta University Center include archival material from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

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