"Our Trip South, March 25 – April 6, 1940," activities at American Missionary Association supported schools, including a number of African- American institutions, as described in an illustrated manuscript journal documenting a "goodwill tour of the A.M.A. schools and colleges, and churches, in the great southeast section of the country," illustrated with 32 photographs and other material.

Chicago and various places in the southeast: March 25 -- April 6 [but April 4], 1940. Ink manuscript, unsigned. 4to. 39 [but 53] pp., the manuscript on plain typing paper, approximately 7500 words, primarily rectos only, but a number of the versos include manuscript notes or narrative and several include illustrations, primarily clips from promotionals but one chromolithograph postcard and one photograph. Accompanied by 10 leaves from a scrap album, illustrated both sides with 31 photographs (2 1/4 x 3 1/2 inches or smaller), most with captions, most from the African-American schools, 17 postcards, three trade cards, a bookplate, and 9 clips from promotionals; four promotionals from places visited on the trip; and duplicates of 9 of the photographs included on the scrap album leaves, each with more descriptive text on the verso. The manuscript ends abruptly with page 39, describing the morning of April fourth, suggesting two missing pages at the end that would have covered the final two-day trip home. Poor quality paper of the album leaves browned, brittle, and somewhat chipped, but very good overall, the manuscript quite legible. All probably disbound from an album, now with each leaf of text and album housed separately in a vinyl sleeve. Item #62107

Following the Civil War, the American Missionary Society, an agency of the Congregational Church founded as an anti-slavery organization in 1846, working closely with the Freedmen's Bureau, helped establish almost 500 schools for African-Americans in the former Confederate states, along with a few for whites and Native Americans and provided monetary support to other schools with similar goals. The anonymous narrator for this trip, a "goodwill tour of the A.M.A. schools and colleges, and churches, in the great southeast section of the country," kept up a lively discourse throughout the two-week adventure, describing towns, topographical features, architecture, road and weather conditions (including a harrowing trip down the mountain from Asheville, at night and in dense fog), etc., along with detailed accounts of their brief visits to the schools and churches along the route. Beginning in Chicago, eight A.M.A. representatives from the Midwest, the narrator and her husband "George," another couple, and four ladies, travelled south in two cars through Indiana to Louisville, home of their first destination, the African-American Plymouth Congregational Church (founded 1877) and its Settlement House, followed by visits to Berea College (founded in 1855, Berea would eventually become both the first co- educational and first integrated college in the south), Lincoln Academy (1886-1955) in Kings Mountain, N.C. (illustrated with nine photographs of the students), Avery Institute (1865-1954) in Charleston, S.C., Dorchester Academy (1868-1940) in Midway, Ga., Ballard Normal School (1865-1945) in Macon, Ga., the Negro Congregational Church (founded 1867) in Atlanta, Piedmont College (white; operated by A.M.A., 1901-1948) in Demorest, Ga., the John C. Campbell Folk School (founded 1925) in Brasstown, N.C., and Pleasant Hill Academy (1884-1947; white) in Pleasant Hill, Tenn. Each stop along the way included an introduction of the principal or other officials associated with the school or institution, with discussion of their personalities, accomplishments, background, etc., descriptions of buildings or campuses, student activities, hosted meals or other entertainments, outlook for the future, etc., and other observations peculiar to individual circumstances. As the group traveled from one school to the next, the narrator described roads, towns, businesses, historic sites or events, and other aspects of local life (with commentary on rural and mountain poverty, etc.), with photographs or other printed material for elaboration; occasional stops were also made at tourist spots, with side trips to the Norris Dam in northeastern Tennessee and Savannah. Traveling on a tight budget, however, didn't allow for much, and the group declined a tour of the Biltmore mansion when told the admission would be two dollars each; most of their dining out was at inexpensive downtown cafeterias. Despite the truncated manuscript, an excellent illustrated consideration of the status of American Missionary Association-supported churches and educational institutions, most aimed at the African-American population, during the waning days of association influence at the end of the depression and on the eve of American entry into World War II. (9091).

Price: $2,750.00

See all items in African-Americana, Americana, Religion
See all items by ,