Tuesday, May 31, 2011

e-Amistad Reports May 2011 edition now online

The May 2011 edition of e-Amistad Reports is now online. Amistad's quarterly electronic newsletter features news about the Center, its staff and collections, as well as upcoming events.  This issue features articles on new donations to the Center, Amistad's zine and comics collections, the Countee Cullen Correspondence Online Project, news about the Chicago Friends of Amistad, and more. Check it out!

Irene Dobbs' European Travel Diary, vol. 7... Home Sweet Home!

From March 7th to May 8th, 1952, John Wesley Dobbs and his wife Irene traveled throughout Europe to visit with their daughter Mattiwilda.  It was the couple’s first trip to the continent.  Irene Dobbs’ travel diary records their experiences as they toured France, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Holland, and England.

Saturday and Sunday, May 17- 18, 1952
Back in New York, Mr. and Mrs. Dobbs visited with family and friends and took in a show by Nat King Cole.

Click on the images to read Irene's entries
Saturday, May 24, 1952
After leaving New York, the Dobbses drove down the East coast, stopping in New Jersey to visit a Masonic Lodge and in Durham, North Carolina and to stay with daughter Josephine’s family.  They finally arrived in Atlanta on May 24, glad to be home.


Previous diary entries:

 
Posted by Kristin E. Wanek
(Images from the John Wesley Dobbs Papers, Amistad Research Center.  May not be reproduced without permission.)



Friday, May 27, 2011

Irene Dobbs' European Travel Diary, vol. 6

From March 7th to May 8th, 1952, John Wesley Dobbs and his wife Irene traveled throughout Europe to visit with their daughter Mattiwilda.  It was the couple’s first trip to the continent.  Irene Dobbs’ travel diary records their experiences as they toured France, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Holland, and England.

Wednesday, May 7, 1952
The Dobbses boarded the Queen Elizabeth to begin the journey back across the Atlantic.  Irene was happy to be eating on the ship once again as, “The food wasn’t so good in London.”

Click on the images to read Irene's entries

 Saturday and Sunday, May 10- 11, 1952
The days on the Queen Elizabeth passed with bouts of sea sickness, letter writing, extravagant meals, and movies.


Previous diary entries:

Posted by Kristin E. Wanek
(Images from the John Wesley Dobbs Family papers.  May not be reproduced without permission.) 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

From the Archives: Paul Robeson and High School Athletics

Identified by serendipity and chance, we have strong reason to believe that the photographs here depict Paul Robeson on the baseball and football teams at Somerville High School.

 (Somerville High School football team, circa 1913; middle row, second from right)

Robeson, who graduated from Somerville High School in 1915, went on to letter in four sports at Rutgers University.  Not only did Robeson become only the second African American All-American football player (in 1917 and again the next year), but he also won Rutgers' oratory competition all four years, was selected Phi Beta Kappa, and spoke at his graduation as the valedictorian of his class - all portending to the Renaissance man that Robeson soon became.

 (Somerville High School baseball team, 1914; bottom row, second from right)

Ample primary materials on Robeson and his wife, Eslanda Goode Robeson, can be found at the Amistad Research Center, particularly in the papers of Lillian Voorhees, Carol Brice, and Countee Cullen.  Additionally, the Center has a copy of the Robesons' FBI file.

Posted by Andrew Salinas
From the papers of Stanley M. Douglas, who is also depicted in the above photographs.  Images may not be reproduced without permission.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Irene Dobbs' European Travel Diary, vol. 5

From March 7th to May 8th, 1952, John Wesley Dobbs and his wife Irene traveled throughout Europe to visit with their daughter Mattiwilda.  It was the couple’s first trip to the continent.  Irene Dobbs’ travel diary records their experiences as they toured France, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Holland, and England.

Monday, April 28, 1952
Still in Holland, Irene’s birthday was celebrated with tulips and a visit to the Hague to introduce themselves to a family of a prominent Dutch Masons.

Click on the images to read Irene's entries

Friday, May 2, 1952
The Dobbs’ European excursion concluded in London, where they made daily sightseeing tours despite the rainy, cloudy weather.


Previous diary entries:


Posted by Kristin E. Wanek
(Images from the John Wesley Dobbs Family papers.  May not be reproduced without permission.)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Zine Collection to chronicle self-expression by zinesters of color

Zine \zēn\ n [abbreviation for the word magazine]: a small-circulation, self-published, non-commercial publication of original or appropriated text and images that focuses on the self-expression of the author or authors.

Before there were blogs and Facebook, there were zines - small, self-published booklets that were often photocopied, stapled, and circulated among one's community in order to provide an outlet on topics ranging from racism and classism to the environment, musical genres, or just daily life. The history of zines is often traced back to science fiction fanzines beginning in the 1930s, but zines as they are know today emerged during the 1980s as do-it-yourself publications created, published, and distributed by individuals as an alternative to more commercial, mainstream magazines.

A sampling of zines recently
acquired by Amistad.
While zines have provided outlets for many voices, as similarly mentioned in a recent blog entry on the new Comics and Graphic Novels Collection at Amistad, diversity among zine writers has been a concern for those who create and read zines, as well as those with an interest in collecting them. Since the 1990s, a number of libraries have recognized the value of documenting these publications, and zines have become a popular area of study among students and academics. However, "zines of color" as they are commonly called (zines by African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, etc.) make up a small percentage of the zines produced and those collected by archives and libraries.

To assist in documenting zines that provide a voice to underrepresented communities, Amistad has begun to collect zine titles that chronicle those voices. Center staff are currently seeking donations of relevant materials in good condition to add to the Center's growing Zine Collection. Materials added into the collection will be listed in a planned online database that will make the collection information accessible to scholars across the globe. If you are interested in donating materials or learning more about the collection, please contact Director of Library and Reference Services Christopher Harter at (504) 862-3222 or reference@amistadresearchcenter.org.

Posted by Christopher Harter
(Image from the Amistad Research Center. May not be reproduced without permission.)

Friday, May 20, 2011

From the Archives

Post Rapture Journal. Vol. 1, no. 1.

Posted by Andrew Salinas
From the Homer C. McEwen papers.  Image may not be reproduced without permission.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Plessy v. Ferguson Anniversary

Today marks the 115th anniversary of the ruling in the landmark Plessy v. Ferguson case that originated right here in New Orleans. On May 18, 1896, the United States Supreme Court upheld the earlier ruling of the Louisiana Supreme Court, which in turn upheld the constitutionality of the "separate but equal" law of 1890.

At the Amistad Research Center, there are many avenues for primary source research on the Plessy case, particularly in the papers of A. P. Tureaud, Charles Rousseve, and Nils Douglas.

The pamphlet depicted here reflects the keen interest of the Plessy case among contemporary African American lawyers, most notably Louis A. Martinet. Martinet, in his newspaper The Crusader, decried the original "separate car bill" in an editorial shortly after its 1890 ratification. Subsequent generations of African American lawyers, including Douglas and Tureaud, researched the legacy of the Plessy case.

Posted by Andrew Salinas
(Image from the Charles Rousseve papers. May not be reproduced without permission.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Irene Dobbs' European Travel Diary, vol. 4

From March 7th to May 8th, 1952, John Wesley Dobbs and his wife Irene traveled throughout Europe to visit with their daughter Mattiwilda.  It was the couple’s first trip to the continent.  Irene Dobbs’ travel diary records their experiences as they toured France, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Holland, and England.

Sunday April 20, 1952
After reuniting in Rome, the Dobbs traveled on to Florence and then Venice.  Irene wrote about St. Mark’s Cathedral, the gondolas, and the pigeons of this “fairyland town.”

Irene, John Wesley, and Mattiwilda Dobbs in Venice
Click on the images to read Irene's entries

Saturday, April 26, 1952
Upon arriving in Amsterdam, Irene Dobbs was immediately impressed by the “riot of colors” of Holland’s infamous tulips.

Previous diary entries:


Posted by Kristin E. Wanek
(Images from the John Wesley Dobbs Family papers.  May not be reproduced without permission.)

Irene Dobbs' European Travel Diary, vol. 3

From March 7th to May 8th, 1952, John Wesley Dobbs and his wife Irene traveled throughout Europe to visit with their daughter Mattiwilda.  It was the couple’s first trip to the continent.  Irene Dobbs’ travel diary records their experiences as they toured France, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Holland, and England.  

April 13- 14, 1952
While John Wesley Dobbs traveled on his own, Irene and Mattiwilda vacationed in Sorrento and took excursions to the Isle of Capri and Pompeii.  Here, Irene described Easter Sunday in Sorrento and referred to the celebration the next day as “a regular Mardi Gras.”

Click on the image to read Irene's entries

John Wesley Dobbs' Solo Trip Itinerary
Previous diary entries:

Posted by Kristin E. Wanek
(Images from the John Wesley Dobbs Family papers.  May not be reproduced without permission.)

 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Irene Dobbs' European Travel Diary, vol. 2

From March 7th to May 8th, 1952, John Wesley Dobbs and his wife Irene traveled throughout Europe to visit with their daughter Mattiwilda.  It was the couple’s first trip to the continent.  Irene Dobbs’ travel diary records their experiences as they toured France, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Holland, and England.  

Tuesday, March 12, 1952
John Wesley and Irene Dobbs’ first destination was Cherbourg, France where they were met by Mattiwilda (or “Geekie” as she is known to the family).  They took a train to Paris where the Dobbs would spend two weeks sightseeing.  Irene wrote about seeing the Unesco Building, the United Nations, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, and Versailles.

Click on the images to read Irene's entries

Sunday, March 30, 1952
The Dobbs traveled to Geneva and then Rome where Mr. and Mrs. Dobbs would part ways; he on a “flying trip” to Athens while Irene went on to Sorrento accompanied by Mattiwilda.


Previous diary entry:
Diary entry: vol. 1

Posted by Kristin E. Wanek
(Images from the John Wesley Dobbs Family papers.  May not be reproduced without permission.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Irene Dobbs' European Travel Diary, 1952

From March 7th to May 8th, 1952, John Wesley Dobbs and his wife Irene traveled throughout Europe.  It was the couple’s first trip to the continent.  Irene Dobbs’ travel diary records their experiences as they toured France, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Holland, and England.  

In France, they met their daughter, Mattiwilda, who was living overseas pursuing her career as a coloratura soprano.  Mattiwilda traveled with her parents during the two-month journey, parting occasionally for performances.  For two weeks, John Wesley Dobbs, left Irene and Mattiwilda in Sorrento, Italy, while he traveled on his own visiting Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, and Egypt.

March 6, 1952
The Dobbs boarded the Queen Elizabeth in New York City directly after attending a N.A.A.C.P. meeting at Madison Square Garden and Irene began writing in her diary before the boat set sail at midnight.  She gave a detailed description of the “wonderful boat,” their accommodations, activities, and the food.


Click on the pages above to read Irene Dobbs' first entry
Irene Dobbs aboard the Queen Elizabeth
Posted by Kristin E. Wanek
(Images from the John Wesley Dobbs Family papers. May not be reproduced without permission.)

Monday, May 9, 2011

John Wesley Dobbs Family papers: The Six Dobbs Daughters

L to R, June Dobbs Butts, Millicent Dobbs Jordan, Mattiwilda Dobbs Janzon, Willie Dobbs Blackburn, Irene Dobbs Jackson, Josephine Dobbs Clement
John Wesley Dobbs taught his daughters to never accept segregation unless it was absolutely necessary.  He forbade them from going to segregated theaters or amusement venues because it was "no pleasure to go in the back door."  He often worked numerous jobs to ensure he could provide for his daughters' education. All six daughters graduated from Spelman College, obtained master's degrees, and two earned their doctorates.

Dr. Irene "Renie" Dobbs Jackson (1908-1999), the eldest daughter, is the mother of the first African American mayor of Atlanta, Maynard Jackson Jr. (1938-2003).  She was the first African American to obtain a library card from the Atlanta Public Library. She graduated as valedictorian from Spelman College (1925) and earned her master's and doctorate degrees (1956) in French from the University of Grenoble and the University of Toulouse in France, respectively.  She also served as the head of the French department at Spelman and as a chair of the Modern Languages department of North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina. 
Maynard Jr.'s graduation from Morehouse, June 1956
Proclamation, City of Atlanta: "Irene Carolyn Dobbs Jackson Day."
Willie Dobbs Blackburn (1910- ), the second born, graduated at the top of her class from Spelman College (1931) and received her master's degree from Atlanta University (1934). She moved to Jackson, Mississippi, where she served as chairman of the language division of Jackson State University. The Willie Dobbs Blackburn Language Arts Building on Jackson State University's campus is named in her honor.


Millicent Dobbs Jordan (1911-1991), the middle daughter, was a college professor especially interested in Africa, African American history, and African art. During her lifetime, she made frequent trips to the continent of Africa. She received her bachelor's degree from Spelman College (1933) and her master's degree in speech and drama from Columbia University (1938). She returned to Spelman to teach English and African American literature. She also taught at Georgia State, Arkansas State, and Morris Brown Colleges.

Millicent Dobbs Jordan with husband Dr. Robert H. Jordan and children: Robert, and twin boys James and Dobbs
Josephine Dobbs Clement (1918-1998), the forth born, was a community advocate and civil rights leader focused on the political and social justice movements of Durham, North Carolina. She graduated from Spelman in 1937 College and received her master's degree from Columbia University the following year. After moving to Durham in the late 1940s, Clement was actively involved in desegregating the YWCA and the League of Women's Voters. She was appointed to the Durham City-County Charter Commission and also chaired the city's board of education. She was also a member of the city-county library board in Durham, a director of Durham's Better Health Foundation, and a volunteer worker at the Durham Children's House. The Josephine Dobbs Clement Early College High School in Durham was named in her honor.

Josephine Clement for Durham City Board of Education
Mattiwilda "Geekie" Dobbs Janzon (1925- ), the fifth born, is an internationally-known concert performer and one of the first African Americans to sing at the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York. She received her bachelor's degree in music and Spanish from Spelman College (1946), where she graduated first in her class. She moved to New York and pursued vocal lessons with German soprano Lottie Leonard while studying Spanish at Columbia University, where she ultimately earned her master's degree (1948). She vowed never to sing to a segregated audience and performed many major festivals and opera houses throughout Europe and the United States. Upon retiring from the stage in 1974, she taught at the University of Texas, Spelman, and Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Mary McLeod Bethune with Mattiwilda Dobbs, undated
June Dobbs Butts, undated

Dr. June Dobbs Butts (1928- ), the youngest daughter, is one of the first African American sexologists. She obtained her bachelor's degree in sociology from Spelman College (1948) and her master's degree in counseling (1950) and doctorate in family life education from Columbia University. She taught in the psychology department at Fisk University, Tennessee State University, and Meharry Medical College. She also worked for the Masters and Johnson Institute, a clinical and research foundation which studied human sexuality. She has authored many books and articles on sex, teenage pregnancy, and AIDS.


Posted by Amber L. Moore
(Images from the John Wesley Dobbs Family papers.  May not be reproduced without permission.)

John Wesley Dobbs Family papers (1873-2001)

John Wesley Dobbs, undated
Amistad staff are pleased to announce that the guide for the John Wesley Dobbs Family papers is available online. John Wesley Dobbs, civil rights activist and patriarch of a prominent family in Atlanta, Georgia, fought for African American suffrage and integration. The father of six daughters, Dobbs insisted his children pursue excellence and stressed the importance of education and first class citizenship. He founded the Georgia Voters League (1935) and headed the Grand Lodge of Prince Hall Freemasons (1932-1961).

J.W. Dobbs and sister Willie, circa 1890
Dobbs, son of William and Minnie M. (nee Hendricks), was born on March 26, 1882, in Kennesaw, Georgia. When Dobbs was two years old; his parents separated and his mother moved to Savannah, Georgia, to find work. For the first nine years of his life, Dobbs and older, sister Willie, lived with their paternal grandparents on a farm in near Marietta, Georgia. In 1891, Minnie sent for her children to live with her in Savannah. There, Dobbs completed grammar school (1897) at West Broad Street School while working various jobs, such as delivering the Savannah Press newspaper and shining shoes at the local barber shop.

At the age of 15, Dobbs moved to Atlanta where he obtained his high school diploma from the Atlanta Baptist College (Morehouse College) in 1901. He enrolled in the freshman class of Morehouse College, but left shortly thereafter to return to Savannah to take care of his ailing mother. Although he never earned his college degree, he maintained "a thirst for knowledge" and independently studied literature, history, and philosophy throughout his life. In 1903, he took the civil service examination and was certified with the railway mail service for the Atlanta to Nashville mail run, a post he held for 32 years. He started as a clerk and was later promoted to Chief Clerk in charge of a crew of white men.

In 1906, he married Irene Ophelia Thompson (1885-1972) of Columbus, Mississippi, and the couple bore six daughters: Irene Carolyn, Willie Juliet, Millicent Doris, Josephine Ophelia, Mattiwilda, and June Serena.

June 1946, Fortieth Wedding Anniversary: Irene, June, Mrs. Dobbs, Willie, Mr. Dobbs, Millie, and Josephine
Excerpt from a love letter from J.W. Dobbs to Irene (1905)
Excerpt from a love letter from J.W. Dobbs to Irene (1905)
Excerpt from a love letter from J.W. Dobbs to Irene (1905)
Invitation- Wedding of Irene Thompson to John Wesley Dobbs
Marriage Certificate- John Wesley Dobbs and Irene Thompson, 1906
He joined the Prince Hall Freemasons, a fraternal order which attracted the black middle class, in 1911. He served as the Grand Lodge Officer (1914-1924) and Secretary-treasurer of the Masonic Relief Association (1924-1924), which was the financial department of the Grand Lodge. In 1932, he was elected as Grand Master of the State in the United Supreme Council, Thirty-Three Degree, Southern Jurisdiction and re-elected every year for the remainder of his life.

In 1935, he founded the Atlantic Civic and Political League and became first president. The goal of the league was "to awaken Atlanta Negroes to their civic and political consciousness" through the use of the ballot. He was also the founder and president of the Georgia Voters League which registered approximately 175,000 African American voters in 1961. He headed the Georgia State-Wide Registration Committee, co-founded the Atlanta Negro Voters League, and served as vice-chairman of the Georgia State Central Committee of the Republican Party and national vice-president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The papers document the personal and professional lives of the John Wesley Dobbs family of Atlanta, Georgia. The key topics are civil rights, education, integration, race relations, and African American suffrage. The main strengths are the civil rights activities of the family as well as J.W. Dobb's tenure as Grand Master of Prince Hall Masonic Grand Lodge of Georgia. The collection encompasses 5.8 linear feet of correspondence, photographs, programs, sound recordings, speeches, and news clippings.

Posted by Amber L. Moore
(Images from the John Wesley Dobbs Family papers.  May not be reproduced without permission.)