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Guide to the Civil Rights Movement and Wayside Theatre photographs, 1960s

Summary

Collection comprises 18 black-and-white photographs taken in the 1960s, assembled by a private collector and organized into two distinct groups: nine journalistic photographs documenting civil rights movement events, some credited to Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) photographers Cliff Vaughs, Danny Lyon, and Rufus Hinton, with others unattributed; and nine prints of an unidentified multi-racial dramatic performance, circa mid-1960s, found in the archives of the Wayside Theatre in Middletown, Virginia. The Civil Rights prints typically include detailed press captions on the backs, and include images of injured and jailed demonstrators, police, bombed-out churches, and portraits of activists Fannie Lou Hamer and Atlanta's Markham Street rent protest leader Willie Williams. All the prints except one measure roughly 8x10 inches. Acquired as part of the John Hope Research Center for African and African American History and Culture at Duke University.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.11723
Title
Civil Rights Movement and Wayside Theatre photographs
Date
1960s
Creator
Lyon, Danny
Extent
0.2 Linear Feet, 1 box
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English

Collection Overview

Content Description

Collection comprises 18 black-and-white photographs taken in the 1960s, assembled by a private collector and organized into two distinct groups: nine journalistic photographs documenting civil rights movement events, some credited to Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) photographers Cliff Vaughs, Danny Lyon, and Rufus Hinton, with others unattributed; and nine prints of an unidentified multi-racial staged production.

The Civil Rights prints typically feature detailed press captions on the backs, and include images of bombed-out churches, injured and jailed demonstrators, police, and portraits of activist Fannie Lou Hamer and Atlanta's Markham Street housing protest leader Willie Williams. Some prints also bear a SNCC photo credit stamp with the organization's Atlanta address.

The second group consists of two contact sheets and seven prints showing an unidentified multi-racial dramatic or musical performance perhaps staged by the Wayside Theatre in Middletown, Virginia, or may possibly be related to the Garrick Players in Washington, D.C. or to the Free Southern Theater founded by SNCC. The time period appears to be the early 1960s.

All the prints except one are roughly 8x10 inches.

Acquired as part of the John Hope Research Center for African and African American History and Culture at Duke University.

Using These Materials

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Collection is open for research.

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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.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], Civil Rights Movement and Wayside Theatre photographs, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

1. Civil Rights Movement, 1960s

Titles are derived from original titles or captions found on the backs of the prints. Almost all the prints are attributed to SNCC photographers.

Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer, taken by Cliff Vaughs, 1967
(10 x 8 inches)

Close-up side view of Fannie Lou Hamer at an unidentified event, seated, holding an American flag, and listening. Taken by SNCC photographer Cliff Vaughs. Stamped on retro with SNCC photo credit and address. Date taken from same image found online.

Box 1
Image RL.11723-P-0001
Injured African American woman with bandaged head sitting at Winslow Hospital in Danville, Virginia, 1963 June
(10 x 8 inches)

Caption pasted on the back reads: "Danville, VA., June 1963 --- One of 47 peaceful demonstrators hospitalized on the night of June 10 after being beaten by police. SNCC photo taken at Winslow Hospital, Danville, following prayer vigil at the city jail where high pressure fire hoses were turned on the demonstrators, who were then beaten with billy sticks by the police." Unidentified photographer.

Box 1
Image RL.11723-P-0002
Police and crowd gather on a street in front of a house, 1960s
(8 1/8 x 10 inches)

Photograph lacks caption or other information.

Box 1
Image RL.11723-P-0003
Markham Street rent strike leader Willie Williams, taken by Rufus Hinton, 1966 March 6
(10 x 8 inches)
General

Caption on the back of the photographs reads: "Markham Street rent strike leader Willie Williams holds frozen rat locked out of his house in the background Williams is camping on the sidewalk." Stamped on back with SNCC photo credit and address.

This photograph was taken by Rufus Hinton, a SNCC photographer who, at one point, was responsible for documenting Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Box 1
Image RL.11723-P-0004
Two demonstrators on a sidewalk hold up signs, after 1965?
(10 x 8 inches)
General

This image by an unknown photographer is of two men, one black, one white holding signs; the most prominently-figured protestor is holding a sign that reads: "My brother was beaten in Selma while the FBI watched." The other sign reads, "Justice in Selma."

Box 1
Image RL.11723-P-0005
Philadelphia, Mississippi -- Choctaw Indian Church, after 1964 September 18
(5 x 7 inch print mounted on sheet of 8 x 8 1/2 paper.)
General

Unknown photographer. The caption for this photograph reads: "Philadelphia, Mississippi -- Choctaw Indian Church. On September 18, 1964, this Mennonite church which served the Coy community of Choctaw Indians, and which had a white pastor, was severly damaged. The building is located thirteen miles from Philadelphia on Route 21, in Neshoba County, Mississippi."

Box 1
Image RL.11723-P-0006
Group of 14 African American girls standing in a cell in a Leesburg, Georgia jail, taken by Danny Lyon, 1963 September
(8 x 10 inches)

The caption pasted on the back reads: "SNCC photo taken at the Leesburg, Georgia stockade in Sept. 1963, where 20 girls, 11 to 15 years old were held for as long as one month in a cell 8' x 10' x 30'. They had no beds, springs, mattresses or blankets. They were arrested in August 1963, at various times, in connection with peaceful demonstrations in Americus, Georgia. SNCC photo." No photographer's name is present.

Taken by Magnum photographer Danny Lyon (image credited in other institutional collections).

Box 1
Image RL.11723-P-0007
Society Hill Baptist Church, McComb, Mississippi, bombed Sept 20, 1964, taken by Cliff Vaughs, after September 20, 1964
(10 x 8 inches)

Title appears handwritten on back of photograph. Stamped on back with SNCC photo credit and address.

Box 1
Image RL.11723-P-0008
Bombed Freedom House -- Vicksburg, Mississippi, Sept, 1964 -- SNCC photo by Cliff Vaughs, 1964 September
(10 x 8 inches)

Title from handwritten caption on back. The photographer was Clifford Vaughs, who, at one point, was a staff photographer for SNCC.

Box 1
Image RL.11723-P-0009

2. Wayside Theatre, Early 1960s?

9 items, 2 contact sheets; 7 prints

The origins and setting of these unmarked prints are unknown, as is the photographer. They were discovered in a file cabinet at the Wayside Theatre in the small city of Middletown, Virginia, close to Washington D.C., which was a cinema built in the 1940s before its transformation in 1962 into a small community theater. It closed in 2013.

The seven glossy black-and-white photographs, all 8 1/8 x 10 inches, and two 8x10 contact sheets show groups of African American and white actors in the middle of an unnamed dramatic production. It seems to have included music; one of the actors holds a tambourine and actors appear to be singing. In some scenes the setting appears to be a church.

The performance may have been staged by the Wayside Theatre or possibly by the Garrick Players, the former home of the director of the Wayside Theatre; or it may be a Free Southern Theater production in Washington D.C. or some other locality. Judging by dress and haircuts, the date appears to be the early to mid 1960s.

Contact sheet depicting scenes from a production
Box 1
Print RL.11723-P-0010
Contact sheet depicting scenes from a production
Box 1
Print RL.11723-P-0011
An actor stands at a podium on stage

An actor stands at a podium on stage while three other actors look on during a production at the Wayside Theater in Middletown, Virginia(?).

The theater was formerly a cinema house.

Box 1
Print RL.11723-P-0012
Actors on stage

In this photo, a woman stands at the front of the stage, while a man holding a tambourine and a larger group of people occupy the background.

The theater was formerly a cinema house and is now closed.

Box 1
Print RL.11723-P-0013
Actors on stage

A large group of actors appear on stage, clapping, during a production at the Wayside Theater in Middletown, Virginia(?).

Box 1
Print RL.11723-P-0014
Actors on stage

Four actors--two women in the sitting in the front, two men standing behind them--appear on stage during a production at the Wayside Theater in Middletown, Virginia.

Box 1
Print RL.11723-P-0015
Actors on stage

An actor holds a tambourine while other actors in the background look around during a production at the Wayside Theater in Middletown, Virginia(?).

Box 1
Print RL.11723-P-0016
Actors on stage

Four actors on stage, one waving a tambourine, during a production at the Wayside Theater in Middletown, Virginia(?).

Box 1
Print RL.11723-P-0017
Actors on stage

A large group of actors appear to be clapping and singing during a production at the Wayside Theater in Middletown, Virginia(?).

Box 1
Print RL.11723-P-0018
 


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Provenance

The Civil Rights Movement and Wayside Theater photographs were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 2019.

Processing Information

Processed and encoded by Rachel Jessen and Paula Jeannet, April 2019.

Accession(s) represented in collection guide: 2019-0021.