Use of the materials requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist at ACMarchives@si.edu
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate copies requires advance notice.
Alma Thomas papers, circa 1894-2001. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing and digitization of the Alma Thomas paper is provided by The Walton Family Foundation and The Friends of Alma Thomas
Blanche Stuart Scott Collection, Acc. NASM.XXXX.0062, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. Collection, Acc. 1992.0023, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. Collection, Acc. 1992.0023, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
Patterson, Frederick D. (Frederick Douglass), 1901-1988 Search this
18.66 Linear feet (21 boxes)
1882 - 1988
President of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (later Tukegee Institute; now Tuskegee University) from 1935 - 1953 and founder of the United Negro College Fund (1944). Patterson was born on October 10, 1901. Orphaned at age two, he was raised by his eldest sister, Wilhelmina (Bess), a school teacher in Texas. He studied at Iowa State College, where he received a doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1923 and a master of science degree in 1927. Five years later, he was awarded a second doctorate degree from Cornell University. Patterson taught veterinary science for four years at Virginia State College, where he was also Director of Agriculture. His tenure at Tuskegee University started in 1928 and spanned almost 25 years, first as head of the veterinary division, then as the director of the School of Agriculture and finally as Tuskegee's third president. He married Catherine Elizabeth Moton, daughter of Tuskegee University's second president, Dr. Robert R. Moton. Patterson also founded the School of Veterinary Medicine at Tuskegee in 1944, the same year he founded the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). The UNCF continues today as a critical source of annual income for a consortium of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tuskegee University among them.
Scope and Content note:
The Frederick Douglass Patterson Collection comprises 18.66 linear feet of correspondence, manuscripts, research material, published writings, photographs, audiovisual material, scrapbooks, diplomas, awards, and other materials chronicling the personal life and professional career of Frederick D. Patterson.
The collection is comprised of glimpses into the life of Dr. Patterson. The little correspondece that survived is located in Series 2: Career, Series 3: Correspondence, and Series 4: Organizations. Some of the correspondence takes the form of congratulatory notes from 1953 during Patterson's transfer from Tuskegee Institute to the Phelps-Stokes Fund, located in Series 2. There is also a personal note sent to Patterson's wife, Catherine Patterson, from George Washington Carver in which he describes peanut oil as a good massage oil.
The collection is arranged by series and chronologically therein:
1. Biography: This series provides insight into Patterson's family life through primary documents. It is comprised of family wills, insurance policies, and his autobiography. Sub-series are arranged alphabetically by title.
2. Career: This series contains materials from Patterson's long professional career in the field of higher education, including his tenure as present of both the Tuskegee Institute and the Phelps-Stokes Fund. Sub-series are arranged chronologically.
3. Correspondence: This series contains letters sent to Patterson (and his wife) of a personal and professional nature. Several letters relate to Patterson's personal business "Signs and Services," which was a small billboard advertising company. There are also letters from George Washington Carver. The series is arranged chronologically.
4. Organizations: This series contains material from the various foundations Patterson founded and to which he belonged, including the R.R. Moton Fund and the College Endowment Funding Plan. He is especially noted for developing the United Negro College Fund. The series is organized alphabetically by sub-series title.
5. Honors: This series contains the awards, citations, and resolutions Patterson received during his lifetime. Folders are organized chronologically.
6. Subject Files: This series comprises articles, employee vitas, and other documents collected and organized by Patterson. Among the subjects in the files are higher education, Negroes, segregation, civil rights, and employee records. There is no key to this system.
7. Photographs: The Photograph series mostly documents Patterson's tenure at Tuskegee University. The series includes images of Patterson and various other notable figures during formal functions at the university. Noteworthy personalities include George Washington Carver, Eleanor and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana.
8. Printed Materials: This series contains books, programs, and other documents from Patterson's personal collection. The series is organized alphabetically by author's last name.
Frederick Douglass Patterson was born on October 10, 1901 to parents William and Mamie Brooks Patterson, in the Buena Vista Heights area of Anacostia in Washington, D.C. The youngest of six children, Patterson's parents died of tuberculosis before he reached the age of two years, his mother when he was eleven months old and his father a year later. Following his parents' death, the Patterson children were split up and sent to live in the homes of family and friends as stipulated in his father's last will and testament until he was seven years old, Patterson lived in the Anacostia area with a family friend he called "Aunt Julia."
When he was seven years old, Patterson's older sister Bess (a recent graduate of the Washington Conservatory of Music) decided to seek employment in Texas and took him with her. Many of their parents' family still lived in the state, which allowed Patterson the opportunity to spend months with various aunts and uncles, while his sister taught music throughout the South. After completing eighth grade, Patterson joined his sister at the Prairie View Normal School, where she taught music and directed the choir. Patterson attended the school for four years, during which time he developed an interest in veterinary medicine.
In 1920, Patterson enrolled at Iowa State College as a veterinary student. He graduated in 1923 and moved to Columbus, Ohio, to join his brother John. While there, he took the Ohio State Board exam for Veterinary Medicine. Although he became certified, a lack of money prevented him from practicing. Four years later he received a teaching offer from Virginia State College (VSC) in Petersburg, Virginia, which afforded him the opportunity to work within his profession. While at VSC Patterson took a leave of absence and returned to Iowa, in 1926, to pursue a Master's degree in veterinary medicine.
After five years at VSC, the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute offered Patterson a position running the veterinarian hospital and teaching veterinary science. He moved to Tuskegee, Alabama in 1928. While at Tuskegee, Patterson decided to pursue a Ph.D. in bacteriology at Cornell University. During his year and a half leave from Tuskegee, Patterson completed his coursework and wrote his dissertation. After he returned to Tuskegee, a serial killer murdered three people, including the head of the Department of Agriculture. Confronted with this tragedy, school officials quickly offered Patterson the vacant position, which he accepted in 1934.
Robert R. Moton, second president of Tuskegee, retired in 1935 and a search was soon commenced to find the next president for the school. Patterson, in the meantime, pursued more personal matters when he met and married Catherine Moton (with whom he would have a son) in June 1935. By then he was already hired to take his now, father-in-law's, position as President of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute.
As president of Tuskegee, Patterson made several changes and many additions to the institution. He increased faculty housing for professors; integrated the Board of Trustees' meeting meals and eventually arranged for both balck and white members to eat at one table; shortened the name to Tuskegee Institute; and established the Department of Commercial Dietetics in 1935, the veterinary medicine program in 1942, and the engineering program in 1948. While many considered Patterson's changes important achievements, it was his development of the Commercial/Military Aviation Program that would bring the school distinction and fame.
Patterson first attempted to develop the aviation program in 1939. The government fostered the development of such programs by subsiding the expenses. All a university had to do was present able-bodied instructors and willing pupils. Tuskegee had both. By 1940 the United States Air Force was interested in integrating its forces. In order to do this they needed trained black pilots. Tuskegee was the perfect place to provide the needed pilots since the school was situated in an all-black environment where students could concentrate on learning to fly without having to worry about racist reactions from their fellow classmates. To accommodate this program, the Tuskegee Army Air Base was created. Tuskegee pilots flew missions throughout World War II and would later be recognized for their bravery.
An important part of Patterson's duties as president was fund-raising. By 1943 he found it increasingly difficult to find ample sources of funds to run the Institute. He came to realize Tuskegee and similar black colleges would benefit if they pooled their funding resources and asked for larger amounts of money from philanthropic individuals and organizations as a collective. Working together would cut fund-raising expenses; this in turn would leave more money for the colleges to use as they wished. Patterson named his new creation the United Negro College Fund (UNCF); it would go on to raise millions of dollars for the nation's historically black colleges. He served as the first president of the organization.
During the fifteen years Patterson served as president of Tuskegee, he hosted many famous personalities, including W.E.B. DuBois, Mary McLeod Bethune, Eleanor Roosevelt, Duke Ellington, Paul Robeson, Pearl Buck, and Andre Segovia. He developed a lasting relationship with George Washington Carver, who had been a professor with Tuskegee since the days of Booker T. Washington.
Patterson served on many organizational boards in addition to his educational work. His involvement with the Phelps-Stokes Fund would ultimately lead Patterson to leave his beloved Tuskegee Institute to apply his educational philosophies on a broader scale. In 1953 the Fund approached Patterson and offered him the presidency of the organization. Patterson, feeling he needed a change, accepted the offer. He resigned from Tuskegee that same year and moved to New York to begin a new life.
Organized in 1911, the Phelps-Stokes Fund supported African, African American, and Native American education and worked on solving housing problems in New York City. Patterson's interest in African education began before he joined Phelps-Stokes. In 1950 the World Bank/International Bank Commission to Nigeria hired him to "evaluate the resources of Nigeria and…to study the educational programs and the organizational structure of advanced education." Through his work with the Fund he continued his efforts to improve the educational opportunities for Africans and help them move beyond colonialism. Patterson traveled extensively throughout the west coast of Africa in support of these goals.
In addition to forming the UNCF, Patterson created two other organizations (the Robert R. Moton Institute and the College Endowment Funding Plan), during the mid 1960s and 1970s. Each was designed to improve funding efforts for historically black colleges. The Robert R. Moton institute began as an off-shoot of the Phelps-Stokes as a site for conferences to address the Fund's primary concerns. Patterson's idea for the Institute came from a desire to put to use a piece of property inherited after Moton's death. Empathy with the frustrations of college presidents regarding the restricted funding for institutional expenses led Patterson to create the College Endowment Funding Plan. The Endowment was designed to alleviate this situation by providing matching funds to eligible colleges. The Endowment made its first payment in 1978. Unfortunately, by the 1980s, the Moton Institute lost most of its government funding due to federal cutbacks. This resulted in reductions to the Institute's programming.
It was not until Patterson was well into his eighties that he began to retire from his life of public service. On June 23, 1987, President Ronald Reagan presented Dr. Patterson with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest possible honor that can be bestowed upon a civilian, for his service in higher education and his role in creating funding sources for the nation's historically black colleges. A year later Frederick Douglass Patterson died at the age of eighty-seven.
undated -- Xavier University
1941 -- Virginia State College
1941 -- Wilberforce University
1953 -- Morehouse College
1956 -- Tuskegee Institute
1961 -- New York University
1966 -- Edward Waters College
1967 -- Atlanta University
1969 -- Franklin and Marshall College
1970 -- Virginia Union University
1975 -- Bishop College
1977 -- St. Augustine's College
1982 -- Brooklyn College of the City University of New York
1984 -- Stillman College
1985 -- Payne College
undated -- Association for the Study of Negro Life and History Carter
undated -- The Southern Education Foundation, Inc. Distinguished Service Citation
undated -- The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and Texas Association of Developing Colleges Annual Leadership Awards
1950 -- Christian Education department, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Inc. Citation for Distinguished Service
1953 -- Bethune-Cookman College, the Mary McLeod Bethune Medallion
1953 -- John A. Andrew Clinical Society at Tuskegee Institute, Citation for Distinguished Service in the Cause of Humanity
1953 -- Tuskegee Institute, Certificate of Appreciation for 25 Years of Service
1957 -- Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Beta Lamda Sigma Chapter, Bigger and Better Business Award
1960 -- National Alumni Council of the UNCF, Inc. Award
1963 -- National Business League, Booker T. Washington Award
1965 -- Booker T. Washington Business Association, Certificate of Acknowledgement
1970 -- Moton Conference Center Award
1970 -- Tuskegee National Alumni Association, R.R. Moton Award
1972 -- American College Public Relations Association, 1972 Award for Distinguished Service to Higher Education
1972 -- UNCF F.D. Patterson 71st Birthday Award
1975 -- National Business League, Booker T. Washington Symbol of Service Award
1976 -- Phelps-Stokes Fund, Continuous Creative and Courageous Leadership in the Cause of Higher Education for Blacks
1977 -- Yale Alumni Associates of Afro-America, Distinguished Service Award
1979 -- Alpha Phi Alpha Education Foundation Inc., Distinguished Educator Award
1979 -- Tuskegee Institute Alumni Association Philadelphia Charter Award
1980 -- The Iowa State University Alumni Association, Distinguished Achievement Citation
1980 -- Gary Branch NAACP Life Membership Fight for Freedom Dinner 1980, Roy Wilkins Award
1980 -- State of Alabama Certificate of Appreciation
1982 -- St. Luke's United Methodist Church Achievement Award
1983 -- Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., Distinguished Service Award
1984 -- Booker T. Washington Foundation, Booker T. Washington Distinguished Service Award
1984 -- The Ohio State University Office of Minority Affairs, Distinguished Humanitarian and Service Award
1985 -- Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc, Eta Zeta Lamda Chapter Civic Award
1985 -- United States, Private Sector Initiative Commendation
1987 -- Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc of New York State, Founders Day Award
1987 -- Presidential Medal of Freedom
1987 -- Brag Business Achievement Award
1987 -- Phelps-Stokes Fund, Aggrey Medal
1941-1971 -- Southern Educational Foundation, Inc., Board Member
1943-1988 -- United Negro College Fund, Founder, President, and Member
1960s-1988 -- Robert R. Moton Memorial Institute, Founder
1970s-1988 -- The College Endowment Funding Plan, Founder
undated -- American National Red Cross, Board of Governors Member
undated -- Boys Scouts of America, National Council Member
undated -- Citizens Committee for the Hoover Report on Reorganization of Federal Government, Board Member
undated -- Institute of International Education, Advisory committee Member
undated -- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Life Member
undated -- National Business League, President and Board Member
undated -- National Urban League, National Committee Member
undated -- Phelps-Stokes Fund, Board of Trustees Member
undated -- President's Commission on Higher Education for Negroes
undated -- Southern Regional Education, Board of Control Member
Additional biographical materials in the Dale/Patterson Collection of the Anacostia Community Museum Archives.
This collection contains artifacts catalogued in the ACM Objects Collection.
The Frederick Douglass Patterson papers were donated to the Anacostia Community Museum in 2001 by Frederick Douglass Patterson, Jr.
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist to make an appointment: ACMarchives@si.edu.
The Frederick Douglass Patterson papers are the physical property of the Anacostia Community Museum. Literary and copyright belong to the author/creator or their legal heirs and assigns. Rights to work produced during the normal course of Museum business resides with the Anacostia Community Museum. For further information, and to obtain permission to publish or reproduce, contact the Museum Archives.
Universities and colleges -- Administration Search this
Collection is open for research but negatives and audiovisuial materials are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Some papers of living persons are restricted. Access to restricted portions may be arranged by request to the donor. Gloves required for unprotected photographs. Viewing film portions of the collection and listening to LP recording requires special appointment. Contact the Archives Center for information at email@example.com or 202-633-3270.
The Archives Center does not own exclusive rights to these materials. Copyright for all materials is retained by the donor, Franklin A. Robinson, Jr.; permission for commercial use and/or publication may be requested from the donor through the Archives Center. Military Records for Franklin A. Robinson (b. 1932) and correspondence from Richard I. Damalouji (1961-2014) are restricted; written permission is needed to research these files. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
The Robinson and Via Family Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Preservation of the 8mm films in this collection was made possible, in part, by a grant from the National Film Preservation Fund.
James Baldwin was a writer and an activist and is one of the most prominent voices from his generation to bring light to issues of racial and sexual discrimination. This collection contains correspondence, photographs, manuscripts, and awards. The collection provides insight into his family, writing process, and travels during his lifetime.
Scope and Contents:
The James Baldwin Collection provides insight into Baldwin's life as a writer and activist. The collection contains correspondence, photographs, manuscripts, and awards. A significant portion of the collection are photographs by photojournalist Frank Dandridge. The collection focuses on Baldwin's grade school educational career, his writing process, as well as his thoughts about social equality and civil rights.
The materials in this collection have been kept at the folder level and separated into six series. The materials have been ordered and organized based on the content. Series 6 has been broken down into a smaller subseries dedicated to the Frank Dandridge photographic prints. Series 8: Oversize Materials acts as an extension of the first five series, with materials that could not be housed with their corresponding materials due to size constraints. Within each series and subseries, the folders are organized as close to the collection's original order as when it was acquired.
James Arthur Baldwin (1924–1987) was born in Harlem, New York, on August 2, 1924, to Emma Berdis Jones, originally from Princess Anne, Maryland. He was reared by his mother and stepfather David Baldwin, whom Baldwin referred to as his father and whom he describes as extremely strict. He did not know his biological father. As the oldest of nine children, Baldwin took seriously the responsibility of being a big brother and his mother's right hand. He cared for and protected his three younger brothers and five sisters in a household governed by the rigid rules of their father, a Baptist preacher, originally from New Orleans, Louisiana.
Between the ages of fourteen and sixteen, Baldwin, himself, became a preacher at the Fireside Pentecostal Assembly, where he developed a celebrated preaching style. Baldwin's brief experience in the church would have a sustained impact on his rhetorical style and on the themes, symbols, and biblical allusions in his writings. Baldwin's Pentecostal experience is, in fact, essential to understanding his complex views on Christianity, which he espoused in his speeches and publications. His experience would also serve in part as the underpinnings of his stance on religion. In The Fire Next Time, Baldwin proclaims, "If the concept of God has any validity or any use, it can only be to make us larger, freer, and more loving. If God cannot do this, it is time we got rid of Him."
During his early teen years, Baldwin attended Frederick Douglass Junior High School, where he met his French teacher and mentor Countee Cullen, who achieved prominence as a poet of the Harlem Renaissance. Baldwin went on to DeWitt Clinton High School, where he edited the school newspaper The Magpie and participated in the literary club, just as Cullen had done when he was a student there. By high school graduation, he had met his close friends at DeWitt Clinton—Richard Avedon, Emile Capouya, and Sol Stein.
The 1940s marked several turning points in Baldwin's life. In 1942, he graduated from high school, and a year later he witnessed the New York Race Riots and experienced the death of his father. After this emotional loss, Baldwin felt more than ever it was important to play father figure to his siblings. He worked at menial jobs during the day, and at night he played guitar in Greenwich Village cafes and wrote long hours, trying to fulfill his dream of becoming a writer.
In 1944, Baldwin met Richard Wright, whose written work spoke to his heart and who would also become a mentor. Baldwin appreciated Wright's strong opinions about race in America, and he greatly valued their intellectual exchange. Wright helped Baldwin to obtain a fellowship to write his first novel, which enabled him to leave for Paris in 1948, where the older writer had relocated a few years earlier. However, the two were often at odds about the ways in which they approached race in their work. Baldwin wrote three essays explicating his critique of Wright's "protest art." This conflict eventually led to the demise of their friendship.
In 1948, at age twenty-four, Baldwin left the United States to live in Paris, France, as he could not tolerate the racial and sexual discrimination he experienced on a daily basis. Professor Kendall Thomas of Columbia Law School explains that Baldwin left his country because of racism and Harlem because of homophobia--two aspects of his identity that made him a frequent target of beatings by local youth and the police. Years later, when asked about his departure, Baldwin explained in a Paris Review interview: "My luck was running out. I was going to go to jail, I was going to kill somebody or be killed" (1984). In Paris, Baldwin began to interact with other writers. He reconnected with Richard Wright, and for the first time, he met Maya Angelou, with whom he maintained a close relationship.
Baldwin would spend the next forty years abroad, where he wrote and published most of his works. Between 1960 and 1970, Baldwin lived regularly in Istanbul, Turkey. Still, the violence and assassinations in the United States during the politically turbulent 1960s took an emotional toll on Baldwin. After the assassination of his three friends—Medgar Evers in 1963, Malcolm X in 1965, and Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968—Baldwin suffered an emotional breakdown and eventually moved to the South of France to recuperate. In 1970, he settled in a house in the village of St. Paul de Vence, where he would live the rest of his life.
During his years abroad, Baldwin returned to the United States frequently and considered himself a "transatlantic commuter." In 1955, he signed a lease for an apartment at 63 West 97th Street in New York, and from the mid 1960s on, he maintained a home at 137 West 71st Street in Manhattan. When Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968, Baldwin was actually living in California. Many of Baldwin's extended visits were to spend time with his large and beloved family and to participate in Civil Rights Movement events. He attended the March on Washington in 1963 and the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965. Baldwin also participated in literary events, such as the 1965 conference titled "The Negro Writer's Vision of America" sponsored by the New School of Social Research in New York. During his presentation, Baldwin addressed the conference theme, stating, "I know a story which America denies. And it denies it for the very good reason that my story, once told, confronts it with the truth about itself. In fact, my story, once told, will liberate America. The possibility of liberation—the necessity of becoming responsible for one's own life—is what most people most profoundly fear."
Baldwin passed away on November 30, 1987, in his house in St. Paul de Vence after a short battle with stomach cancer. A week later, he was laid to rest at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City and buried at the Ferncliff Cemetery in New York. Family members and friends participated in a large service during which Toni Morrison, Amiri Baraka, and Maya Angelou delivered touching remarks about their friend and brother. Angelou stated that Baldwin's love "opened the unusual door for me, and I am blessed that James Baldwin was my brother."
Literary and Civil Rights Timeline
1924 -- Born August 2nd
1938 -- Graduates from Frederick Douglass Junior High School, where his early ambitions in writing were encouraged by his teacher Countee Cullen, the Harlem Renaissance poet
1942 -- Graduates from DeWitt Clinton High School, where he was a member of the literary club and edited the school newspaper The Magpie
1944 -- Meets writer Richard Wright, who refers Baldwin's first draft of Go Tell It On The Mountain to Harper and Brothers publishing house
1945 -- Receives a $500.00 Saxton Fellowship from Harper and Brothers; the first draft of Go Tell It On The Mountain is rejected by Harper and Doubleday; Baldwin begins writing reviews for The Nation and The New Leader
1947 -- Publishes essay "History as Nightmare" in The New Leader
1948 -- Publishes essay "The Harlem Ghetto" and short story "Previous Condition" in Commentary; Baldwin moves to Paris
1949 -- Publishes "Everybody's Protest Novel," in which he critics Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin and Richard Wright's Native Son; jailed in Paris for eight days for theft (falsely accused of stealing hotel bed sheets)
1951 -- Publishes "Many Thousands Gone" in the Partisan Review; attack on Richard Wright leads to breakup; Baldwin completes Go Tell It On the Mountain in Switzerland, where he stayed three months with Swiss friend and lover Lucien Happersberger
1953 -- Publishes "Stranger in the Village" in Harper's Magazine; the essay is based on his stay in Switzerland
1954 -- Wins Guggenheim Fellowship; attends MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire
1955 -- Attends Yadao, an artists' community in Sarasota Springs, New York; revises Amen Corner during Howard University rehearsals and publishes it the same year; also publishes the collection of essays Notes of a Native Son and an autobiographical narrative "Equal in Paris," about being jailed in Paris in 1949, originally published in Commentary magazine
1956 -- Publishes Giovanni's Room with Dial Press; accepts National Institute of Arts and Letters Award and a Partisan Review fellowship; covers First Conference of Negro and African Writers and Artists at the Sorbonne, sponsored by Presence Africanize
1957 -- Publishes "Sonny's Blues" in the Partisan Review; Travels to the South on assignment for the Partisan Review, where he interviews student protests and meets with Martin Luther King, Jr.
1959 -- Awarded a two-year Ford Foundation grand to complete Another Country; Interviews film director Ingmar Bergman in Sweden; publishes essay "A Letter From the South: Nobody Knows My Name" in the Partisan Review ; apprentice on Elia Kazan's productions of Sweet Bird of Youth and J.B.
1960 -- Covers sit-ins in Tallahassee, Florida; interviews student at Florida A & M; published "They Can't Turn Back" in Mademoiselle Magazine; Richard Wright dies suddenly
1961 -- Publishes second collection of essays Nobody Knows My Name, Dial Press; publishes the essay "Alas, Poor Richard," another scathing critic of Richard Wright's work; appears on radio and television to promote Nobody Knows My Name and to speak about civil rights; meets Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X; completes Another Country; Swiss television produces "Stranger in the Village"; publishes the "Black Boy Looks at the White Boy"; makes first visit to Turkey at the invitation of Turkish actor Engin Cezzar
1962 -- Publishes Another Country, Dial Press, and it becomes a national best seller; Baldwin travels to West Africa; "Letter from a Region in My Mind" published in The New Yorker, later printed in The Fire Next Time as "Down at the Cross"
1963 -- Publishes The Fire Next Time to national acclaim; appears on the cover of May 17th issue of Time magazine; NAACP Field Secretary and friend Medgar Evers is assassinated on June 12 outside his home in Jackson, Mississippi; starts lecture tour for CORE in the South and the North; registers voters in Alabama for SNCC; wins Polk Memorial Award for outstanding magazine journalism; participates in March on Washington; travels to Nairobi, Kenya, with Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier to celebrate Kenya's independence
1964 -- Elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters; publishes the play Blues for Mr. Charlie, Dial Press, and theater production of Blues for Mr. Charlie appears at the historic American National Theater and Academy (ANTA) in New York; publishes Nothing Personal with photographer and high school friend Richard Avedon, Atheneum Books
1965 -- Debates William F. Buckley at Cambridge and receives standing ovation for his response to "Is the American Dream at the Expense of the American Negro?"; Malcolm X is assassinated in the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem while addressing his Organization of Afro-American Unity; Baldwin attends Selma to Montgomery March; publishes Going to Meet the Man, Dial Press; The play The Amen Corner is performed in New York, Israel, and Europe
1968 -- Publishes the novel Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone, Dial Press; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee; Baldwin speaks at the World Council of Churches in Sweden against apartheid in South Africa; testifies at a Congressional hearing in support of a commission to establish a national museum of African American history and culture; receives personal attacks from Soul on Ice author Eldridge Cleaver
1969 -- Publishes New York Times article "The Price May Be Too High" about black writers in a white publishing industry; directs John Herbert's "Fortune and Men's Eyes" in Istanbul, Turkey
1970 -- Becomes the subject of photographs and a short film From Another Place , both by Sedat Pakay in Istanbul; holds conversations with anthropologist Margaret Mead titled "A Rap On Race"
1971 -- Baldwin and anthropologist Margaret Mead publish the transcript of conversations held in New York in 1970 in a co-authored book titled A Rap On Race; publishes "An Open Letter to My Sister Angela Davis" in New York Times Review of Books; moves to a house in St. Paul de Vence in the South of France
1972 -- Publishes No Name In The Street, Dial Press; publishes the screenplay One Day When I Was Lost, based on Alex Haley's bestselling classic The Autobiography of Malcolm X .
1973 -- Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates secures rare interview with James Baldwin and Josephine Baker together in James Baldwin's house in St. Paul de Vence, France; Baldwin appears with television host and poet Nikki Giovanni on "Soul," and the transcript is published as a dialogue
1974 -- Publishes If Beale Street Could Talk, Dial Press; becomes the third recipient (after writer Tennessee Williams and dancer Martha Graham) of the prestigious Centennial Medal awarded to "The Artist As Prophet" by the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York
1976 -- Publishes what would be his only children's book Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood, with illustrations by Yoran Cazac, Dial Press; publishes the book-length essay The Devil Finds Work
1978 -- Teaches a spring course in contemporary literature at Bowling Green State University in Ohio (returns in the fall of 1979 and 1981); awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Medal
1979 -- Publishes Just Above My Head, his sixth and last novel, Dial Press; goes into seclusion after friend and mentor Beauford Delaney dies in March; teaches at UC Berkeley in the spring and speaks in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Santa Barbara; begins writing and lecturing on black English; publishes "Open Letter to the Born Again" in The Nation; meets Chinua Achebe at the University of Florida, African Literature Association; travels throughout the South
1982 -- Film makers Dick Fontaine and Pat Harley release television documentary of Baldwin' trip through the South "I Heard It Through The Grapevine"
1983 -- Publishes selected poems in Jimmy's Blues, St. Martin's Press; teaches Afro American Studies at University of Amherst in the fall
1984 -- Hospitalized for exhaustion; works on the play The Welcome Table
1985 -- Publishes "Freaks and the American Ideal of Manhood" in Playboy; American Playhouse dramatizes Go Tell It On The Mountain; publishes The Evidence of Things Not Seen, Holt, Rinehart & Winston Publishing; publishes The Price of the Ticket: Collected Non-Fiction, 1948–1985, St. Martin's Press
1986 -- Receives France's highest civilian recognition, the Legion of Honor; travels to the Soviet Union for an international conference and to London for a production of Amen Corner ; suffers fatigue and becomes ill
1987 -- Returns to St. Paul de Vence and is diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus, which spreads to the stomach; grants his last interview to poet and journalist Quincy Troop in mid-November in bed at his home; dies November 30 and his friend and assistant publicly announces his death December 1; memorials are held in St. Paul de Vence and Harlem; is eulogized by Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, and Amiri Baraka at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York; body buried at Ferncliff Cemetery, Hartsdale, New York
Acquired as a purchase from Baldwin's sister, Paula Baldwin Whaley in 2017.
Collection is open for research. Access to collection materials requires an appointment.
The NMAAHC Archives can provide reproductions of some materials for research and educational use.
Copyright and right to publicity restrictions apply and limit reproduction for other purposes.