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Evelyn Cunningham papers

Overview

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Correspondence and other materials

Journalism and political aide files

Civic organizations and project files

Photographs, audiovisual items and ephemera



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Evelyn Cunningham papers, 1941-2005 | Amistad Research Center

By Laura J. Thomson

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Collection Overview

Title: Evelyn Cunningham papers, 1941-2005Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1951-2003

Primary Creator: Cunningham, Evelyn (1916-2010)

Extent: 6.34 Linear Feet

Arrangement: The collection is arranged into four series: correspondence and other materials (1951-2005); journalism and political aide files (1950-1977); civic organizations and project files (1965-2004); and photographs, audiovisual materials, and ephemera (1941-2004).

Date Acquired: 11/07/2003. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: African American journalism, African American journalists, African Americans - New York (State), Civil rights movements - Southern States, Discrimination in restaurants, Feminism, Harlem (New York, N.Y.), Integration, Journalism, March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (1963 : Washington, D.C.), Sex discrimination, Women in politics

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The papers of Evelyn Cunningham document her work as a feature writer and columnist for the Pittsburgh Courier (1950-1962); political aide for Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller (1969-1976); and her activism in politics, feminism, and civil rights. A theme running throughout the collection is the role of the African American professional woman in society. Of note are materials regarding the integration of New York City restaurants (circa 1954); Cunningham's notations covering the Alabama bus segregation case Bowder v Gayle (1956); and her work as the Director of the Women's Unit, Office of the Governor (New York) under Rockefeller's administration (1969-1974).

Biographical Note

Evelyn Cunningham, columnist, editor, and journalist; feminist, community and civil rights activist; and political aide. Her reporting coverage started in the early days of the Civil Rights Movement.

Evelyn Elizabeth Long was born on January 25, 1916 in the small town of Elizabeth City, North Carolina toMary and Clyde Long, a dressmaker and a taxicab driver, respectively. At age four, her family moved to Harlem to pursue better educational, job, and living opportunities. Cunningham, educated in the New York City public school system, graduated in 1934 from Hunter College High School and attended Long Island University to study social sciences, earning her Bachelor of Science degree in 1939. Following her studies at Long Island University, she attended Columbia University in 1944 and studied journalism for one semester.

Cunningham started her career with the Pittsburgh Courier in early 1939 and within a year covered the burgeoning modern Civil Rights Movement. She reported on the Groveland, Florida murders, the South Carolina lynching of Isaiah Nixon, the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott, and the Birmingham, Alabama Autherine Lucy school desegregation case. During her time in Montgomery covering the bus boycott, Cunningham wrote a three-part series on the life and family of Martin Luther King, Jr., based on her meetings and interviews with King and his family. She was the first African American woman to report on Eisenhower's presidential campaign and traveled extensively to cover stories dealing with race relations and women's issues in Nevada, California, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Jamaica, and Cuba. After five years with the Pittsburgh Courier, she attained the position of editor of the New York, Philadelphia, and St. Louis editions (1945-1950), became a feature writer and columnist (1950-1955), and the city editor for the New York edition (1955-1962). Cunningham's column, The Woman chronicled African American social life in Harlem.

Following her work at the Pittsburg Courier, Cunningham hosted a daily radio show At Home with Evelyn Cunningham on New York’s WLIB until 1966. In addition to this show, Cunningham spent time as a communications consultant (1961-1966) to various organizations including the Rockefeller Center, Inc., Black Odyssey Magazine, American Women for Economic Development, Philip Morris, USA, the New York Department of Civil Service, and the Jackie Robinson Foundation. In 1967, she entered government service as the administrative assistant to Jackie Robinson (1967-1969), a special assistant to New York governors Nelson A. Rockefeller and Malcolm Wilson, and Director of the Women's Unit, Office of the Governor (1969-1974). In 1975, she moved onto to the federal government as a special assistant to President Gerald Ford and was assigned to Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller (1975-1976). Cunningham also received appointments to a number of federal government committees and commissions including the Committee to Find a Permanent Home for the Schomburg, the Temporary State Commission on Voting Machine Equipment and Registration Systems, the Task Force on Encouraging Electoral participation, and the Advisory Committee to the New York State Office of the Aging.

Cunningham was a founding member of the Coalition of 100 Black Women and served on a number of civic organizational boards, including the Apollo Theatre Foundation, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Harlem Congregation for Community Improvement, the Citizens Committee for New York City, and the Louis Armstrong Education Foundation, among others.

Even though Cunningham, a dedicated career woman, expressed the opinion that "marriage isn't much good for a career woman," she nevertheless married four times: James F. Sherrer (1939-1946), Gerald Cunningham (1948-1957), Cameron C. Hanes (1957-1962), and Austin H. Brown (1988-2003). None of these marriages produced children; yet, when Cunningham’s brother, Clyde Whitehurst Long died in 1983, she raised his daughter.

Subject/Index Terms

African American journalism
African American journalists
African Americans - New York (State)
Civil rights movements - Southern States
Discrimination in restaurants
Feminism
Harlem (New York, N.Y.)
Integration
Journalism
March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (1963 : Washington, D.C.)
Sex discrimination
Women in politics

Administrative Information

Repository: Amistad Research Center

Accruals: Two additions to the Evelyn Cunningham papers were received in 2005 and 2011.

Access Restrictions: The papers of Evelyn Cunningham are open and available for research use.

Use Restrictions: Copyright to these papers has not been assigned to the Amistad Research Center. It is the responsibility of an author to secure permission for publication from the holder of the copyright to any material contained in this collection.

Physical Access Note: Audiovisual materials are located off-site. Please contact the Reference Services Department at (504) 862-3222 for access.

Acquisition Source: Evelyn Cunningham

Acquisition Method: Gift

Preferred Citation: Evelyn Cunningham papers, Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Processing Information: The archival processing of the Evelyn Cunningham papers was completed in April 2015. This project was funded by the Partick F. Taylor Foundation.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence and other materials, 1951-2005],
[Series 2: Journalism and political aide files, 1950-1977],
[Series 3: Civic organizations and project files, 1965-2004],
[Series 4: Photographs, audiovisual items and ephemera, 1941-2004],
[All]

Series 3: Civic organizations and project files, 1965-2004Add to your cart.

Cunningham's work as a member of boards and committees on many civic organizations within the metro New York area are well documented through correspondence, minutes, ephemera, speeches, and reports. Organizations represented within the files include the Apollo Theater Foundation, Inc., the Citizens Committee for New York City, the Community Service Council of Greater Harlem, Inc., the Jackie Robinson Foundation, and the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, Inc., among others. Of note are women's organizations, such as early minutes and by-laws for Media Women, Inc., the precursor to the National Association of Media Women, Inc.; the Women's National Republican Club, Inc.; and the Republican's Women's Committee on Minority Relations. Also of interest is early incorporation documents for the Continental Society of New York, Inc. (1963-1964), a charitable organization designed to assist underprivileged children regardless of race or nationality.

The series also contains a small amount of Cunningham’s political aide files documenting her work and travels as the Director of the Women's Unit, Office of the Governor (New York) from 1969 to 1974. These files consist of press releases and reports, including the reports from the United States Latin American Mission (1969-1970), a mission that President Richard Nixon established to solicit opinions on U.S. policy in South America.

Box 6Add to your cart.
Folder 1: 21st Century Women's Leadership Center, Inc.: conference materials, 1999-2001Add to your cart.
Folder 2: "A Few Good Women..." Advancing the Cause of Women in Government, 1969-1974: correspondence, project description, and newsletters, 1994-2003Add to your cart.
Folder 3: "A Few Good Women..." Advancing the Cause of Women in Government, 1969-1974: Proposal for Funding, 1997 MarchAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: "A Few Good Women..." Advancing the Cause of Women in Government, 1969-1974: Transcript of interview with Evelyn Cunningham, 2001-2003Add to your cart.
Folder 5: A Summer Theatre Festival in Harlem: Proposal, 2000Add to your cart.
Folder 6: AWED: Press proposal, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Administration and Management Research Association of New York City, Inc.: Proposal for American Woman's Economic Development Corporation, 1976Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Alfred Duckett Associates, Inc.: Report of corporate structure and memorial publication galley, 1964, 1985Add to your cart.
Folder 9: American Heart Association: correspondence regarding Women's Heart Health Day Campaign, 2002Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Apollo Theater Foundation, Inc.: Legal brief and correspondence, 2000-2001Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Bank Street College of Education: Conference correspondence, 1977Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Black Republican Conference: Presentation paper, "The New Political Force: Black Republicans in the New Millennium" by Barbara Howard, 2002Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Citizens Committee for New York City: correspondence and reports, 2003Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Citizens for NYC: Campaign description, 2003 JuneAdd to your cart.
Folder 15: Community Service Council of Greater Harlem, Inc.: minutes, 2002Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Continental Society of New York, Inc.: Constitution and by-laws, agendas, and correspondence, 1963-1964Add to your cart.
Box 7Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Deel Communication Laboratory: Organization description and application, 1999Add to your cart.
Includes: Curriculum vitae of Vicky Gholson, Ph.D.
Folder 2: Double Dutch Tour to South Africa: correspondence, notes and ephemera, 1995-1996Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Golden Opportunities Networking: certificate of incorporation, circa 1996Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Hale Defense Fund Committee: correspondence and draft of legal brief Lorraine E. Hale and Jesse L. DeVore, Jr. v Eliot L. Spitzer, et.al., 2001-2002Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, Inc., Annual Board Retreat 2002: agenda, by-laws and reports, 2002 June 18Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, Inc.: correspondence and reports for the board of directors, 2003-2004Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Harlem Festival of the Arts: program proposal and correspondence, 1965Add to your cart.
Folder 8: The Havens Relief Fund Society: correspondence, notes and drafts of speeches, 1998-2001Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Jackie Robinson Foundation: annual report, 1987Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Jackie Robinson Foundation Awards Dinner: program booklet, 1988Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Jackie Robinson Foundation Awards Dinner: guest list and scripts, 1989Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Jackie Robinson Foundation Awards Dinner: correspondence and scripts, 1990Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Jackie Robinson Foundation Awards Dinner: scripts, 1991Add to your cart.
Box 8Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Jackie Robinson Foundation: correspondence, 1997 February-MarchAdd to your cart.
Includes: Copies of collected letters of Wendell Smith, 1945-1949.
Folder 2: Jackie Robinson-Pee Wee Reese Memorial Project: Artists Selection Committee correspondence and artists biographical sketches, 2001Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Jackie Robinson-Pee Wee Reese Memorial Project: correspondence and site selection information, 2002Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Jackie Robinson Park Conservancy, Inc.: board of directors meeting minutes, 2003-2004Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Jerusalem International Forum: itineraries and reports for a trip to Israel, 1986Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Jerusalem International Forum: correspondence regarding trip to Israel, 1988Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Louis Armstrong Education Foundation, Inc.: correspondence, press releases and reports, 2001-20015Add to your cart.
Includes: Ephemera for the Louis Armstrong House and Archives at Queens College.
Folder 8: Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, Inc.: correspondence, minutes, reports and ephemeraAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, Inc.: reports from grant recipients, 2002Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, Inc.: report from the Center for Jazz Studies & Department of Music Jazz Performance Program (Columbia University), 2003Add to your cart.
Box 9Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Louis Armstrong House and Archives: press kit, 2001Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Media Women (National Association of Media Women, Inc.): minutes and draft constitution and by-laws, 1959-1969Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Medical Committee for Human Rights: form letter and news clipping, 1965Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Melba Moore Foundation for Children, Inc.: proposed certificate of incorporation, 1989-1990Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Midlife and Older Women, Inc.: dissolution documentation, 1996-1997Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Mother Jones magazine: ephemera, 1997 Lifetime Achievement Award, 1997Add to your cart.
Folder 7: National Association of Media Women, Inc.: correspondence and conference program, 1987-1988Add to your cart.
Folder 8: National Association of Black Professional Women Inc.: mission statement and proposal, 1975Add to your cart.
Folder 9: National Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc.: Minority Business Leadership Awards Dinner-Dance correspondence and speech drafts, 1992Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Music and the Brain: A Project of Texaco Foundation and the 42nd Street Fund, 1997-1999Add to your cart.
Includes research articles.
Folder 11: New York City Black Republican Council: constitution, 1976Add to your cart.
Folder 12: New York Coalition of 100 Black Women: agenda and by-laws, 2001Add to your cart.
Folder 13: New York State Council on the Arts: program description, 1971Add to your cart.
Folder 14: New York State Council on the Arts: study report, The Arts Process in a Democratic Society, 1971 AugustAdd to your cart.
Folder 15: The New Yorker Club: correspondence, 1969-1970Add to your cart.
Folder 16: National Abortion and Reproduction Rights Action League of New York State (NARAL): correspondence, lists and ephemera, 2000Add to your cart.
Box 10Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Paul Robeson Foundation: proposal for exhibition, 1997-1998Add to your cart.
Folder 2: President's Commission on White House Fellowships: correspondence, panel biographical sketches and selection criteria, 1995-1996Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Public Service Electric and Gas Company: news clippings, fact sheets and speech regarding building of corporate headquarters in Newark, New Jersey, 1978Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Ralph Ellison Memorial Committee: plans for park refurbishment of Riverside Park, 2002Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice: correspondence and ephemera, 2000-2001Add to your cart.
Folder 6: The Richard Allen Center for Culture and Art: correspondence and minutes of meetings, 1982-1983Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Ross Perot National Advisory Committee: correspondence and briefing information, 1992Add to your cart.
Folder 8: St. Philip's Church (New York): committee correspondence and reports, 1993-1994, 2001-2002Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Women's Forum, Inc.: 25th Anniversary souvenir booklet, 1999Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Women's National Republican Club, Inc.: agenda, by-laws and announcements, 1994-1999Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Women's Project and Productions: correspondence, ephemera and speech, 2001-2002Add to your cart.
Box 11Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Republican Women's Committee on Minority Relations: constitution (draft), 1995Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Rural Development and Implementation Operation Tanzania, Africa: project report and proposal, 1982Add to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence and other materials, 1951-2005],
[Series 2: Journalism and political aide files, 1950-1977],
[Series 3: Civic organizations and project files, 1965-2004],
[Series 4: Photographs, audiovisual items and ephemera, 1941-2004],
[All]


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