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Guide to the Campaign to Free Mrs. Rosa Lee Ingram Collection, 1954 February-May

Abstract

The collection includes three publications related to the campaign to free Mrs. Rosa Lee Ingram, an African American sharecropper and widowed mother of twelve in southwest Georgia, along with two of her sons, Wallace and Sammie Lee Ingram, who were serving life sentences for the 1947 death of their white sharecropper neighbor, John Ethron Stratford. The handling of the case aroused concern about racial injustice in the southern judicial system which led to the formation of a national campaign for clemency. Through the efforts of the African American community, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the communist-influenced Civil Rights Congress (CRC), the Ingrams' original death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment in 1948 and eventual release in 1959. The three items in the collection were published in 1954, when publicity for the case was largely coordinated by the Women's Committee for Equal Justice, an off-shoot of the CRC headed by the civil rights activist, Mary Church Terrell. Although not explicitly dated, two items were clearly issued in early May: A broadside from the Women's Committee for Equal Justice in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and a four page newsletter from the New York headquarters of the Women's Committee for Equal Justice designed to raise support for the May 9th and 10th Mother's Day crusade for the freedom of Mrs. Rosa Lee Ingram and her sons. The earliest item is a four page newsletter published in February 1954 by the Pennsylvania Civil Rights Congress, Let Freedom Ring, volume 1, number 3. The cover page includes an article titled Goal for '54: Free Mrs. Ingram that recounts earlier efforts in the fight to free Mrs. Ingram and her sons and announces future campaign activities including plans to demand support from the Attorney General, Herbert Brownell, and the Secretary of the United Nations.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Title
Campaign to Free Mrs. Rosa Lee Ingram collection 1954 February-May
Language of Material
English
Extent
0.1 Linear Feet, 3 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

The collection includes three publications related to the campaign to free Mrs. Rosa Lee Ingram, an African American sharecropper and widowed mother of twelve in southwest Georgia, along with two of her sons, Wallace and Sammie Lee Ingram, who were serving life sentences for the 1947 death of their white sharecropper neighbor, John Ethron Stratford. The handling of the case aroused concern about racial injustice in the southern judicial system which led to the formation of a national campaign for clemency. Through the efforts of the African American community, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the communist-influenced Civil Rights Congress (CRC), the Ingrams' original death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment in 1948 and eventual release in 1959.

The three items in the collection were published in 1954, when publicity for the case was largely coordinated by the Women's Committee for Equal Justice, an off-shoot of the CRC headed by the civil rights activist, Mary Church Terrell. The broadside issued by the Women's Committee for Equal Justice in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, includes a quote from Mrs. Ingram; a reprint of The Philadelphia Tribune article about the case dated May 8, 1954; an appeal to readers to contact Governor Herman Talmadge in Atlanta, Georgia; and a contribution form.

Also included in the collection is a four page newsletter issued by the New York headquarters of the Women's Committee for Equal Justice designed to raise support for the May 9th and 10th "Mother's Day crusade for the freedom of Mrs. Rosa Lee Ingram and her sons," in which Mary Church Terrell and supporters plan to campaign for the Ingrams' freedom at the Georgia State Capital and at a national conference in Atlanta. The newsletter includes photographs of a December 1953 protest in Georgia, Mrs. Ingram's children, and Mary Church Terrell; details about the case; quotes from Mrs. Ingram and others; a 28-line statement by Terrell, and a contribution form.

The earliest item in the collection is a four page newsletter published in February 1954 by the Pennsylvania Civil Rights Congress, Let Freedom Ring, volume 1, number 3. The cover page includes an article titled "Goal for '54: Free Mrs. Ingram" that recounts earlier efforts in the fight to free Mrs. Ingram and her sons and announces future campaign activities including plans to demand support from the Attorney General, Herbert Brownell, and the Secretary of the United Nations. The newsletter also includes an editorial on African American history by William L. Patterson, along with several civil rights related articles.

For a full history of the case, see the article written by Charles H. Martin, "Race, Gender and Southern Justice: The Rosa Lee Ingram Case," The American Journal of Legal History 29, no. 3 (1985): 251-68.

Administrative Information

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warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

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All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

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.

Contents of the Collection

Pennsylvania Civil Rights Congress newsletter, February 1954
Folder 1
Philadelphia Women's Committee for Equal Justice broadside, undated
Women's Committee for Equal Justice newsletter, undated

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Campaign to Free Mrs. Rosa Lee Ingram Collection, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University

Provenance

The Campaign to Free Mrs. Rosa Lee Ingram Collection was acquired by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2009.

Processing Information

Processed by Danielle Moore, November 2010

Encoded by Danielle Moore, November 2010

Accession 2009-0250 is described in this finding aid.

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.