Archives and Special Collections

Central to ASU's resources related to civil rights in particular, and African-American history and culture in general, is the university library's Archives and Special Collections, which contains more than 6,000 multimedia items. Several prestigious collections that support the Center's research are detailed below and can be further explored via ASU’s Library Catalog and the L.W.L.C. Digital Library.

The Ollie L. Brown African-American Heritage Collection is a compilation of multimedia materials representing the contributions of blacks to society. The collection consists of more than 6,000 individual books, exhibits, artifacts and audiovisual items depicting African-American Alabama and the life and history of African-Americans in the nation and the world. Noted collections within the Ollie L. Black African-American Heritage Collections include the following:

The E.D. Nixon Collection includes the papers, books, trophies, plaques, portraits and photographs of the noted civil rights leader, known as the father of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The E.D. Nixon Collection remains one of ASU's most acclaimed collections due to Nixon's prominence as a civil rights leader and to national and international interest in the civil rights movement.

The Collection of the Montgomery Improvement Association includes the papers and artifacts of the organization (MIA) formed in Montgomery, Ala., on Dec. 5, 1955, to direct the black bus boycott of the city's bus system.

There are also collections of two ASU presidents who figure prominently in the university's history – Dr. Haper Council Trenhom Sr. was ASU's fifth president, and Dr. Levi Watkins the university's sixth president. The Levi Watkins Collection includes original speeches and the working papers, drafts and gallery proofs from the publications of Watkins' two books – Fighting Hard and Alabama State University: The First One Hundred and Fourteen Years.

More recent collections chronicle the intricacies of the Knight vs. State of Alabama federal court case, which sought to remove vestiges of segregation from Alabama's higher education system. The Papers of James U. Blacksher include case documents covering the period of 1981 to the 1990s. Blacksher is the attorney for the ASU case. The Rep. John F. Knight Collection also includes documents relating to the case in which Knight was a lead plaintiff.

The Zelia Stephens Evans Collection covers Stephens' life as a pioneering educator at ASU and her activities in numerous civic, religious and social organizations. Included are manuscripts, photographs, books and awards.

The John L. Busky Collection includes correspondence relating to Buskey's position as ASU's library director, membership chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Montgomery chapter and state representative in the Alabama Legislature.

Oral histories are invariably fascinating because history comes alive with its telling by the participants who helped shape that history. ASU's Oral History Collection includes stories told by Robert Nesbitt Sr., a leading officer of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church who invited Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to pastor at the historic church and who was an activist in the Montgomery Bus Boycott; retired ASU professor Norman Walton and journalist Inez Baskin, who chronicled the riveting activities of the movement; and Hazel Gregory, who was a secretary of the Montgomery Improvement Association, the group that organized the bus boycott.

Upcoming and Recent Programs

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Role of Montgomery in Alabama Blacks' Struggle for Voting Rights

Alabama State University and the Voting Rights Movement of 1965

Thursday, April 17, 2014

John L. Buskey Building,
Denise Chapman Auditorium

Registration | 8 - 8:20 a.m.
First Panel | 8:30 - 10:15 a.m.
Second Panel | 10:30 a.m. - noon

See the flyer
See the program
See the postcard

January 26 - May 31, 2014

Black Women During the Reconstruction Period

A juried exhibition from members of the National Alliance Of Artists from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (NAAHBCU)

Exhibit dates:
January 26 - May 31, 2014 (excluding holidays)

Where:
1345 Carter Hill Road | Montgomery, Alabama

See the flyer

Cultural Spotlights

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