Guide to the Gordon Blaine Hancock Papers, 1928-1970

Collection Overview

The papers of Gordon Blaine Hancock, clergyman, journalist, educator, and civil rights spokesman, span the years 1928-1970, and include five series: Correspondence; Southern Regional Council; Clippings/Writings; Miscellany; and Photographs. The collection relates primarily to Hancock's efforts to increase opportunities for Blacks.

Among those efforts was a course he organized on race relations at Virginia Union University in 1922, which is believed to have been the first course of its kind in America. In the 1930's and 1940's, Hancock became an outspoken leader in the struggle for racial equality, speaking at over 40 black and white colleges and universities. He launched a one-man crusade under his "double-duty dollar" philosophy in 1933, contending that blacks should create an economy within their own communities, thereby providing jobs and better economic opportunities. In 1942, with P. B. Young, editor of the Norfolk Journal and Guide and black historian Luther P. Jackson of Virginia State College, he helped organize the Southern Conference on Race Relations. The conference was held in Durham, N.C., Oct. 10, 1942, and brought together black leaders from across the South. As a result of the conference, the group issued the "Durham Manifesto" in which they set forth the "articles of cooperation." The articles stated what blacks wanted and expected from the post war South and from the nation in the areas of political and civil rights, employment, education, agriculture, military service, and social welfare and health.

The Southern Regional Council series provides several references to this conference and to two that followed in Atlanta, Ga. and Richmond, Va. in 1943. Included is information about the conferences' early leaders and printed information issued as a result of the conferences. The series also contains correspondence and background information about the origins of the Council, and its relationship to the conferences, and to its predecessor organization, the Commission on Interracial Cooperation. Correspondents include P. B. Young, James E. Shepard, Benjamin E. Mays, Guy B. Johnson, Howard W. Odum, Jessie Daniel Ames, and Virginius Dabney.

The Writings/Clippings Series forms the bulk of the collection and consists primarily of photocopied newsclippings from Hancock's weekly syndicated news column "Between the Lines," which he wrote for the Associated Negro Press from 1928 to 1965. The column appeared in 114 black newspapers throughout the United States. The articles chiefly articulate the concerns of blacks in American society in the areas of politics, desegregation, economics, and black leadership, though a few relate to broader social and political issues. This series also contains poems, songs, and music composed by Hancock.

The few letters in the Correspondence Series, primarily relate to voting registration irregularities in Northampton County, N.C., and to Hancock's efforts to further social and economic justice for blacks.

The Miscellany Series includes writings and newsclippings about Hancock, a few written after his death; a statement reciting the history of the Richmond Urban League; a biographical sketch of P. B. Young; news columns by Luther P. Jackson; a few of Hancock's sermons and sermon notes; information relating to the history of Moore Street Baptist Church, where Hancock served as minister (1925-1963); and a few other papers. The Photograph series consists chiefly of two packets of souvenir photographs from Versailles, Vienna, and Berlin.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Collection Details

Collection Number
Gordon Blaine Hancock papers
Hancock, Gordon Blaine, 1884-1970
0.8 Linear Feet, 525 Items
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library

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[Identification of item], The Papers of Gordon Blaine Hancock, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

1. Correspondence Series, 1929-1969 and undated

Letters relating to Hancock's work in the field of civil rights. Arranged chronologically.

Correspondence, 1929-1969
Box 1

2. Southern Regional Council Series, 1938-1970

3 folders

Correspondence, printed material, reports, and minutes, concerning the Council's origins and its relationship with the Southern Conference on Race Relations held in Durham, N.C., in 1942, and its predecessor organization, the Commission on Interracial Cooperation. Arranged chronologically.

Southern Regional Council materials
Box 1

3. Clippings/Writings Series, circa 1928-1965

11 folders

Chiefly photocopies of Hancock's syndicated news column, Between the Lines. Also a few poems, songs, and music composed by Hancock. Arranged chiefly by topic.

Black Leadership
Box 1
Box 1
Box 1
Box 1
Race Relations
Box 1
Box 1
War, Cold War, Peace
Box 2
Warnings to Blacks
Box 2
(3 folders)
Box 2

4. Miscellany Series, 1933-1970

Divided into two sub-series Other Writings and Religion. Other Writings, 1937-1970 and undated includes newsclippings, printed material, and other papers about Hancock, P. B. Young, Luther P. Jackson, and the Richmond Urban League. Religion, 1933 and undated includes sermons, sermon notes, and a history of Moore Street Baptist Church. Arranged chronologically within each series.

Other Writings, 1937-1970
Box 2
Religion, 1933
Box 2

5. Photographs Series

Chiefly souvenir photographs of Europe.

Box 2

Historical Note


Date Event(s)
1884, June 23 Born, Ninety-Six, South Carolina.
1911 A.B., Benedict College, Columbia, S.C.
1911 Married Florence Marie Dickson.
1912 B.D., Benedict College, Columbia, S.C.
1912-1918 Principal, Seneca Institute, Seneca, S.C.
1919 A.B., Colgate University.
1921 M.A., Harvard University.
1921-1952 Professor of economics and sociology Virginia Union University, Richmond, Va.
1925-1963 Pastor, Moore Street Baptist Church, Richmond, Va.
1928-1965 Wrote syndicated weekly column for Associated Negro Press, Between the Lines.
1931 Organized the Torrance School of Race Relations at Virginia Union University.
1942 Helped organize the Southern Conference on Race Relations, held in Durham, N.C.
1944 Helped found the Southern Regional Council.
1952 LL.D., Benedict College, Columbia, S.C.
1962 LL.D., Virginia Union University.
1970, July 24 Died, Richmond, Va.

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The papers of Gordon Blaine Hancock, clergyman, educator, journalist, and civil rights spokesman, of Richmond, Va., were acquired by the Rubenstein Library through a gift in 1986.

Processing Information

Processed by: Janie Morris

Completed Sept. 16, 1987