Charles N. Hunter papers, 1850s-1932 and undated
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- Hunter, Charles N., circa 1851-1931
- Black educator, journalist, and reformer from Raleigh, North Carolina. Correspondence, scrapbooks of clippings, print material such as articles and reports, and other papers, all dating from the Civil War into the first few decades of the 20th century. Includes a fourth edition of Lunsford Lane's slave narrative. The material discusses and illuminates the problems experienced by emancipated blacks during Reconstruction and into the early 20th century, encompassing agriculture, business, race relations, reconstruction, education, politics, voting rights, and economic improvement for African Americans. Other topics include Durham and Raleigh, N.C. history; the temperance movement, Hunter's personal matters and family finances, the North Carolina Industrial Association, and the N.C. Negro State Fair. Significant correspondents include Charles B. Aycock, Thomas W. Bickett, William E. Borah, Craig Locke, Josephus Daniels, W.E.B. Du Bois, Charles G. Dawes, John A. Logan, Lee S. Overman, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Charles Sumner, Zebulon B. Vance, and Booker T. Washington. There is also correpondence from two early African American Congressmen, Henry P. Cheatham and George H. White. Also included is a draft of a speech given by Frederick Douglass in 1880 at the 2nd Negro State Fair.
- 7.3 Linear Feet
- Material in English
- Collection ID:
- Scope and content:
The Charles N. Hunter Papers date from the 1850s to 1932 and consist of Hunter's personal and professional correspondence, scrapbooks of clippings, articles, reports, and memorabilia. Correspondence relates to personal and financial matters, as well as to Hunter's various activities to improve African American education and economic well-being, particularly in the South. Specific topics touched on throughout his papers include race relations, voting rights, creating an educational system for African Americans, the temperance movement, reconstruction, African American business and agriculture, the North Carolina Industrial Association, and the North Carolina Negro State Fair. The three correspondence subseries form almost half of the Personal and Professional Papers Series . The correspondence subseries are: Business/Community Incoming Correspondence, Personal Incoming Correspondence, and Outgoing Correspondence. Among the correspondents are several African American Congressional representatives such as George H. White and Henry P. Cheatham; major political figures like Franklin D. Roosevelt and John Alexander Logan; important African American scholars including W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington; and many North Carolina governors, in particular Zebulon B. Vance, Charles B. Aycock, Locke Craig, and Thomas Walter Bickett. Although these letters address professional and political issues, Hunter established friendships with many of the noteable correspondents. The incoming correspondence has been arranged into letters pertaining to Hunter's business or community activities and letters relating to Hunter's personal life. There are also numerous drafts and copies of outgoing correspondence that Hunter wrote.
In the Other Professional Papers Subseries, there is a variety of miscellaneous printed materials and papers that cover Hunter's career as a teacher and principal, involvement in the N.C. Industrial Association, and role in the N.C. Negro State Fair. Included in this subseries is an array of print materials that provide a view of African American life in the South. This includes commencement invitations from historically black colleges and universities, a fourth edition of Lunsford Lane's slave narrative, and newspaper clippings. The bulk of this subseries deals with the larger Raleigh area, though some items address national issues.
The Writings and Speeches Subseries includes addresses given by Hunter and others. Most noteable is a transcription of Frederick Douglass' speech given at the 2nd Annual N.C. Negro State Fair. Amongst Hunter's writings are several pieces intended for a local encyclopedia which detail historic locales and important North Carolina men. Writings cover topics such as African American voting rights and post-Reconstruction analysis. Overall, Hunter's writings provide historical sketches of important figures, events, and reprecussions with an emphasis on local history.
The Scrapbooks Series is made up of seventeen scrapbooks assembled by Hunter which contain clippings and other items concerning race relations and other social, political, and economic affairs pertaining to African Americans. They are composed principally of newspaper clippings published in North Carolina, but their scope is national as well as local. The clippings have been copied and arranged chronologically; the originals are closed to use.
- Biographical / historical:
Charles Norfleet Hunter was born of slave parentage in the early 1850s in Raleigh, North Carolina. Hunter was the son of artisan Osborne Hunter, slave of William Dallas Haywood, a member of one of Raleigh's most prominent families. Hunter's mother died when he was three and he was raised by an aunt. Hunter was prominent in efforts to provide better educational facilities and curriculum for African Americans in North Carolina and was instrumental in constructing several schools for African Americans in the state. He served as principal for many schools in the state and served as editor of several newspapers and publications. As a member of the North Carolina Industrial Association, he also sought to expand the opportunities for African Americans in agriculture and industry.
Chronology List Date Event circa 1851 Born of slave parents, Osborne and Mary Hunter, in Raleigh, N.C. 1869-1874 Employed at Raleigh Branch Freedman's Savings Bank; assistant cashier by 1874, when the bank failed 1875 Began teaching in Maxton, N.C. 1879 One of the founding members of North Carolina Industrial Association, along with brother, Osborne Jr. 1880 Secretary of North Carolina Industrial Association and editor of its publication, Journal of Industry 1881-1884 Worked as clerk in Raleigh Post Office 1888 Teacher in Durham Colored Graded School; editor of Progressive Educator of N.C. 1889 Principal of Garfield Graded School in Raleigh, N.C.; agent for A.S. Barnes and Co. publishers, New York 1890 Principal of Oberlin Graded School in Raleigh, N.C. 1892 Treasurer of North Carolina Industrial Association 1896 Appointed Principal of Garfield School in Raleigh, N.C. 1900 Brother, Osborne, Jr., died 1902 Partner with J. H. Lewis in Inter State Real Estate and Employment Agency, Trenton, N.J.; Principal of Oberlin School in Raleigh, N.C. 1903 Member of the faculty of North Carolina State Colored Normal School, Franklinton, N.C. 1905 Appointed Principal of Colored High School in Raleigh, N.C.; daughter, Eva, died of pneumonia and possible malaria in July; son, Charles, died of illness in December 1906 Appointed Principal of Chavis School in Raleigh, N.C. 1907 Played an active role in preparing the N.C. Negro Exhibit for the Jamestown Exposition; Colored Secretary of the N.C. Commission of the Jamestown Exposition; Secretary of Negro Development and Exposition Co. of USA; Superintendent of the Raleigh Branch of the North Carolina Mutual and Provident Association 1908 Traveling Agent of the North Carolina Mutual and Provident Association; Member of the North Carolina Republican Executive Committee 1910 Editor of Our Advance, a paper in Raleigh; Principal of Public School, Method, N.C. 1915 Leading figure in building of Berry O'Kelly Training School (previously known as Method School) in Method, N.C.; served as the school's principal 1916 Secretary of N.C. Republican Executive Committee 1917 Editor of Raleigh Independent 1918 Moved to Portsmouth, Va. in Jun.; served as foreman for laborers in the Norfolk Navy Yard 1921 Moved back to Raleigh, N.C.; again made editor of Raleigh Independent 1922 Assigned teaching position at Pleasant Hill School, Garner, N.C. 1923 Served as Principal of Haywood High School in Haywood, N.C. (Chatham County); Principal of Horton Public School in Pittsboro, N.C.; wife, Eliza, died after stroke 1924 Appointed Principal of Booker T. Washington School in Wilson's Mills, N.C. (Johnson County) 1926 Served as teacher in Manchester, N.C. 1927 Served as teacher in Bridge, N.C. 1928 Author of review of Negro Life in North Carolina with My Recollections 1931 Died in Raleigh, Sept. 4; survived by daughters, Emma Hunter Satterwhite and Lena M. Hunter
- Acquisition information:
- The Charles N. Hunter Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a gift in 1941.
- Processing information:
Processed by Colby Bogie, Jessica Carew, and Carrie Mills.
Encoded by Colby Bogie, Jessica Carew, and Carrie Mills.
Updated to include digital content by Noah Huffman, April 2013
The complete 1941 accession is represented in this finding aid.
Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NC EAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.
Arranged into the following series and subseries: Personal and Professional Papers Series, organized into the following subseries: Business/Community Incoming Correspondence, Personal Incoming Correspondence, Outgoing Correspondence, Writings and Speeches, and Other Professional Papers) and Scrapbooks.
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- For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
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- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Click on terms below to find related finding aids on this site. For other related materials in the Duke University Libraries, search for these terms in the Catalog.
- African Americans -- History
Educators -- Correspondence
Educators -- North Carolina -- Raleigh
Fairs -- North Carolina -- Raleigh
African American teachers -- Correspondence
African Americans -- North Carolina -- Durham -- History
African Americans -- Education -- North Carolina
African Americans -- North Carolina -- Social conditions -- To 1964
North Carolina State Fair -- History
African American business enterprises -- North Carolina
African American farmers -- North Carolina
African American teachers -- North Carolina
Temperance -- United States -- History -- 19th century
Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)
Racism -- United States -- History
Freedmen -- North Carolina
- North Carolina Industrial Association
Aycock, Charles B. (Charles Brantley), 1859-1912
Borah, William Edgar, 1865-1940
Bickett, Thomas Walter, 1869-1921
White, George H. (George Henry), 1852-1918
Washington, Booker T., 1856-1915
Overman, Lee S. (Lee Slater), 1854-1930
Vance, Zebulon Baird
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945
Hunter, Charles N., circa 1851-1931
Lane, Lunsford, b. 1803
Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963
Dawes, Charles Gates, 1865-1951
Douglass, Frederick, 1818-1895 -- Speeches
Cheatham, Henry Plummer, 1857-1935
Logan, John Alexander
Craig, Locke, 1860-1925
- Durham (N.C.) -- History
North Carolina -- Politics and government -- 1865-1950
North Carolina -- Social conditions
North Carolina -- Race relations
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[Identification of item], Charles N. Hunter Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.