Rencher Nicholas Harris papers, 1851-1980 and undated, bulk 1926-1965 16.5 Linear Feet — 2,112 Items
The Rencher Nicholas Harris Papers span the years from 1851 to 1980, with the bulk dating from 1926 to 1965. The collection consists mainly of clippings, correspondence, legal papers, photographs, printed materials, journals and diaries, scrapbooks, and reports relating to Harris' work in political and educational affairs in Durham, North Carolina in the 1950s and early 1960s as a member of the City Council and the School Board, with emphasis on school desegregation, civil rights, and race relations in Durham. Also represented is Harris' business career in banking, insurance, and real estate, his role as an official of the Bankers' Fire Insurance Company, and his civic activities, including leadership roles in the NAACP, Lincoln Hospital, and North Carolina Mutual Insurance, all in Durham. Some biographical materials and correspondence also relate to his wife, Plassie Williams Harris. In detailing the business and government official activities of Durham's first African American city councilman, the first black man to sit on the Durham County Board of Education, and an active, if rather moderate, African American civic leader during the period following the Brown decision of 1954 and the Civil Rights Movement, this collection is especially significant for the documentation it offers on the problems of city government and race relations in the mid-twentieth-century South. Includes a large group of oversize maps of Durham, N.C. Part of the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture at Duke University.