John E. Fleming papers, 1961-2014

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Fleming, John
Dr. John E. Fleming served as director of the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, Ohio, from 1988-1998 and served on numerous boards and committees to develop and plan museums and exhibits focused on African American history. His papers reflect his career as a historian of African American history and as a museum administrator in museums throughout the United States. Collection acquired as part of the John Hope Franklin Research Center.
57 Linear Feet
Materials in English
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

The collection includes Fleming's personal files, administrative materials, and collected documents from his education and professional life as a professor and museum administrator. Files have been arranged into series: Writings, Organizational Files, Museum Leadership, Printed Materials and Research, Asa Spaulding Project, Education, Personal, and Correspondence. The bulk of the collection is held in the Organizational Files and Museum Leadership series.

The Organizational Files Series contains a large subseries of Fleming's Consulting Work, as well as files from Fleming's membership and service to groups like ASALH, AAAM, Sigma Pi Phi, and other civic or professional organizations. This series also includes Fleming's board work with Berea College, the Ohio Humanities Council, the American Civil War Center, and other historically-minded groups.

The Museum Leadership Series is arranged by museum; Fleming served as director or in some executive capacity with each of the museums in this series. Most subseries include his correspondence, planning and design materials, exhibition materials, and other documents accounting for the early operations of the museums. Also included in this series are materials from the America I Am exhibit, which Fleming produced. Two of the subseries are restricted: the International African American Museum subseries is closed until 2018, and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum is closed until 2017.

The rest of the collection's series are relatively smaller, in terms of volume. The Writings Series includes Fleming's speeches and publications; files are arranged by format and then alphabetically by title. Printed Materials and Research include his clippings, articles, and publications he kept as reference materials for his museum work and academic research. The Asa Spaulding Project includes oral history notes, transcripts, and cassette tapes from Fleming's work as a research assistant for Spaulding's autobiography. The Education Series includes coursework and notes from his own college and graduate courses, as well as files from his teaching at Howard University following his graduation. The Personal Series contains an assortment of materials, including job searches, clippings about him and his family, and other ephemera. Finally, Fleming's Correspondence Series includes both personal and professional communications, which are arranged in a loose chronological order by year.

Biographical / historical:

John E. Fleming (1944- ) is originally from Morganton, N.C., and graduated from Berea College in 1966. He served for two years in the Peace Corps in Malawi, and then attended Howard University, earning a Ph.D. in History. In the 1970s, he worked with Howard's Institute for the Study of Educational Policy and also as a professor in the History Dept. Fleming was the founding director of the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Cincinnati, and also served as director of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Wilberforce, Ohio. Fleming later worked as Vice President of Museums at the Cincinnal Museum Center; served as the executive producer for Tavis Smiley's America I Am: The African American Imprint exhibit, which toured nationwide; and was director or consultant for several other museums and historic sites, including the International African American Museum, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, and the National African American Museum. Fleming has authored several books on African American history and education, and has also published a novel, A Summer Remembered. He is a past president of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the Ohio Museums Association, and the Association of African American Museums.

Acquisition information:
The John Fleming Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a gift in 2013.
Processing information:

Processed by: Meghan Lyon, Janice Hansen, and Zoe Willingham, April 2015 Accessions described in this finding aid: 2013-0107

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


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Access note. Collection contains fragile audiovisual formats that may need to be reformatted before use. Contact Research Services for access.

Terms of access:

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], John E. Fleming Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.