Texas Southern: New Home of the Texas NAACP Official Archives

ABOVE: Gary Bledsoe addressing the importance of the archives coming to Texas Southern University

This past Friday, August 17, at a special presentation held in Texas Southern University’s Robert J. Terry Library, the Texas NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) formally designated Texas Southern as the official depository of records for the organization’s official archives. The collection, which will be housed in the University library’s Special Collections department, consists of minutes, newspaper clippings, legal documents, brochures, Freedom Banquet programs and photographs, along with digitized images from individual Texas NAACP branches.

“It is important for the papers to be housed at Texas Southern University,” said Gary Bledsoe, Texas NAACP president at the ceremony. “Dating back to the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case of Sweatt v. Painter, that successfully challenged the ‘separate but equal’ doctrine of racial segregation, these two organizations have been connected in the continuous struggle for equality for all Texans. It is only fitting that our permanent archives be housed here.”

Individual branches and active NAACP members can send their material to Texas Southern to be placed on loan or permanently archived. The Texas NAACP archives will join the Barbara Jordan archives and the Mickey Leland Center as campus resources for research and scholarly activity.

“We want to see these archives grow in volume and technology,” said Cecilia Venable, author, historian and archivist for Texas State NAACP. “Once people know that our records are here at TSU we hope that other people will bring their things that they have from the NAACP. We want to make this the go-to place for scholars who are looking for material to write about this organization. In the future, we hope to digitize the records and make them even more accessible.”

The ceremony was attended by Howard Jefferson, NAACP national board of directors; Dr. James Douglas, Houston NAACP president; Calon Mask-Oats, NAACP unit 6864 president; Dr. Austin Lane, TSU president; Wesley Terrell, acting TSU Board of Regents chairman; James Harris, H-E-B director of Diversity and Inclusion and Supplier Diversity; Dr. Michael Adams, interim dean Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs; Dr. Merline Pitre, interim dean College of Liberal Arts and Behavioral Sciences; and Patricia Bernstein, author; TSU Regents Marilyn A. Rose, Samuel L. Bryant, Erik D. Salwen, Sarah D. Monty-Arnoni, Glenn O. Lewis, Derrick M. Mitchell, Oliver J. Bell, and Justin J. Lee; and many more.