The papers in this collection include Duke history professor Sydney Nathans' documentation on the Richard Nixon Presidential Library debate, including his participation in Academic Council resolutions regarding the location of the library on Duke's campus; the Greensboro Massacre (1979), when the Ku Klux Klan murdered several people during a shoot-out at an Anti-KKK demonstration planned by the Communist Workers' Party; Nathans' copies of negatives and contact sheets from the Durham bicentennial photography project (1981 and undated); and materials used in the writing of his book A Mind to Stay, including original interviews, transcripts, and other research materials.
The Nixon Library papers contain correspondence (including that of Terry Sanford, and of the creator of the collection, Sydney Nathans); newspaper and magazine clippings as well as scholarly articles; text from speeches; official statements from groups opposing the Nixon Library; and Sydney Nathan's handwritten notes from a variety of meetings. Documents also include Nathan's research on existing presidential libraries.
The Greensboro Massacre papers contain flyers and other mailings and newsletters from the Communist Workers Party and other socialist organizations; mailings from Greensboro Justice Fund and other sympathetic groups following the massacre; media and press coverage of the massacre and the subsequent trials; a police report from Greensboro's police chief; academic and other literature researching the history of violence between the Communist and Klan organizations; and other miscellaneous materials.
The Durham Bicenntenial photography project relates to a project now held in the Durham Arts Council and consists of negatives and contact sheets for a photographic history of Durham assembled in 1981.
The A Mind to Stay Interviews and Transcripts contain materials used by Sydney Nathans in writing his book A Mind to Stay: White Plantation, Black Homeland, on the descendants of enslaved families forced to migrate from North Carolina to plantations in Greensboro, Alabama, and Tunica, Mississippi, in 1844, and the communities those families formed in the following years. Materials include recordings of interviews with residents of the two towns, Nathans' transcripts and extensive notes of those interviews, photos of interviewees and local landmarks, background material and research, the text of speeches and eulogies, and Nathans' personal correspondence with historians, editors, and Greensboro, Alabama, residents.