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Archives & Special Collections: Integration at Davidson

A guide containing archival and special collections material about integration and the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-20th century in and around Davidson, NC. The majority of these sources are found in Davidson College Archives & Special Collections.

Collections about Integration and Civil Rights

Manuscript materials are largely unpublished documents such as diaries, letters, speeches and sermons. The collections may be about an individual, a family, or a group. The majority of our collections relate to students and alumni of Davidson College and to civic organizations in the town of Davidson, North Carolina.

Listed below are relevant collections related to the oral histories listed above. Collections are organized by manuscript number, along with a brief description of the collection's contents, and are hyperlinked to the collection's digital finding aid.

If you would like to view any of the materials listed below, please email to make an appointment.

Common Ground, Records, 1995 - (DC056)

Description: Common Ground was formed in August 1995. The purpose of this grass-roots organization is to promote communication and understanding and improve relations among people of all races in Davidson. A part of Common Ground, the Community Relations Task Force was formed at the request of Mayor Randall Kincaid. Originally a town committee, Common Ground took over the responsibilities of the re-formed Community Relations Task Force in 2001.

Erving Elizabeth Johnson Papers, 1906 - 2004 (DC083)

Description: Johnson lived in Charlotte and Mooresville during her lifetime, but returned to Davidson to care for her mother. She is the sister of Ralph Walter Johnson, who owned barber shops in Davidson. He was particularly well-known, because initially segregated his barber shop on the corner of Main and Depot Streets, which was then boycotted by some of the students and professors at Davidson College. While this collection is from Erving Elizabeth Johnson, most of the papers concern her brother, Ralph Walter Johnson and his barber shop on Main Street. 

Community Relations Committee, Davidson, NC, Records - (DC0218s)

Description: In 1973, the town of Davidson passed an ordinance to establish the "Mayor's Committee on Community Relations." This committee consisted of five members and its responsibilities were to "anticipate, consider and deal with social problems within the community, including but not limited to open housing, fair employment and public accommodations." 

The majority of items found within this collection are published books, serials, pamphlets, facsimile editions of rare materials, and maps. The following list is a selection of these items. For more information, search the catalogs listed to the left.

If you would like to view any of the materials listed below, please email to make an appointment.

The Negro Motorist Green Book

"In the segregated US of the mid-twentieth century, African-American travelers could have a hard time finding towns where they were legally allowed to stay at night and hotels, restaurants, and service stations willing to serve them. In 1936, Victor Hugo Green published the first annual volume of The Negro Motorist Green Book. These facsimiles of the 1940, 1947, 1954, 1962, and 1963-1964 editions bring you the listings and advertisements aimed at the Black travelers trying to find their way across a country where they were so rarely welcome -- plus sections on "Negro Schools & Colleges" and "Negro Newspapers", some notes on "Green Book traveling", and a guide to GM and Ford cars of the day (with photos!)" - Publisher's description

Davidsoniana Files, or "​D-Files," primarily contain secondary source information and are housed in Archives and Special Collections. This includes newspaper articles, scanned memos, brochures and pamphlets, memorial speeches, and booklets. The files also hold scans of primary documents, such as diaries and letters, from other institutions.

Selected D-Files:
Folder Title: Periodicals - Black Alumni Newsletter
Subjects: Alumni

Folder Title: Black Fraternities
Subjects: Fraternity - Social, Alpha Phi Alpha

Folder Title: Council on Minority Affairs
Subjects: COMA, International Students Association, Black Students Association, Diversity Coordination Council, Organization of Latino Students, Race relations

Folder Title: Local - Davidson African-American Coalition
Subjects: Davidson NC - Civic organizations


Folder Title: Local - Davidson Housing Coalition
Subjects: Davidson, NC - Housing, Davidson, NC - civic organizations

Folder Title: Davidson, Town of - Race Relations
Subjects: Race Relations

Folder Title: Race Relations
Subjects: Davidson (NC), Davidson College - Policies, Minorities, Unity Day

Folder Title: Race Relations - Student
Subjects: Students -Social Life and Customs, Minorities

Folder Title: Solidarity Week
Subjects: Race Relations

Folder Title: Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Concerns
Subjects: Racial Issues, Race Relations, Students

Audiovisual materials are media including record albums, audiocassettes, videocassettes, music cds, cd-roms, and dvds. Most of our collection deals with campus events such as convocation, freshman orientation lectures, commencements, and reunions. There are also oral history tapes related to college and town history.

Listed below are select oral histories and interviews from our collection related to race relations. If have questions or would like to view these materials in-person, please email for assistance. 

Audio 105: Common Ground Oral History, April 1997

Speakers: Ostwalt, Adeline

Description: Oral history about race relations in Davidson conducted by English 201 students in Spring 1997.

Audio 106: Common Ground Oral History, April 1997

Speakers: Howard, James

Description: Oral history about race relations in Davidson conducted by English 201 students in Spring 1997.

Audio 107: Common Ground Oral History, April 1997

Speakers: Sailstad, Patricia

Description: Oral history about race relations in Davidson conducted by English 201 students in Spring 1997.

Audio 108: Common Ground Oral History, April 1997

Speakers: Withers, Robert

Description: Oral history about race relations in Davidson conducted by English 201 students in Spring 1997.

Audio 116: Common Ground, May 1998

Speakers: Parker, Blanche; Norton, Ken; Withers, Robert

Description: Tape of Stories from Davidson's past program for Common Ground meeting. Each of the speakers gave their memories of Davidson.

Digital 58: Interview with Charles Dockery, April 2014

Speakers: Dockery, Charles; Kim, Tae-Sun; McClain, Isabel

Description: Interview about race relations on the campus of Davidson College with a particular focus on the twentieth century.

DVD 2: Race at Davidson: (Interviews with Students, School Year 1983-84)

Description: In this video, several students are interviewed and asked questions about their opinions on the racial issues facing Davidson College. Video 15 is original version.

DVD 4: Examining Race Relations at Davidson College, 2003

Description: English 495 Colloquium Project about campus race relations.

Video 238: All Local Reports on Spike Lee's Visit to Davidson College (October 1992)

Speakers: McFadden, Madeline; Lee, Spike; Miller, Tom; Johnson, Jesse; Jackson, Rick; DuBose, Chondra; Carter, Stacey; Walker, Bill; Arrington, Lori; Inman, Bob; Crump, Steve; Canu, Will; Foxx, Anthony

Description: This is a composite of local television news coverage of Spike Lee's visit to campus and the bomb threat. Stations represented are WCNC, WBTV and WSOC.

Video 244: Davidson News Clips (c.1984)

Speakers: Wood, Theresa; Howard, Emma; Robinson, Gabrella; Bowers, Bruce; Terry, William H.; Hain, Jon; Inman, Bob; Johnston, Frontis W.; Willingham, Robert; Munroe, Hunter; Jackson, Bruce; Barnes, Audrey; Martin, Louise; Sonier, Jeff; Neale, Leigh; Craig, Ben; Willard, Don; Woods, James B.; Woodward, Pat; Brewer, Kate; Anderson, Lisa; McLemore, Melissa; Dorsey, Tony; Kuykendall, John W.; Stovall, Janet

Description: This is a composite of television news stories about Davidson College, including race relations and Project 87.

Video 246: Reports on Race Relations at Davidson (March 1992)

Speakers: Foxx, Anthony; Williams, Bob; Butler, Barbara; Terry, William H.; Johnson, Jesse; Milligan, Catherine; Coy, Bill; Hinson, Travis; Lilly, Steve; Stevens, Suzanne; Rhew, David

Description: Video is composite of television news reports concerning Committee on Alleged Intolerance Report. Stations include WBTA, WSOC and WCNC.

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