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African American & Diaspora Studies: American Heritage Center

About These Resources

The resources on the page showcase some of the available collections at the American Heritage Center related to African American and Diaspora Studies. Visit the AHC's main LibGuide to learn more about how to use and search for more of our primary source materials, or get started with your research by looking through our finding aids on Archives West. You can get in touch with the AHC's Reference Services at 307-766-3756 or ahcref@uwyo.edu if you have questions.

The American Heritage Center aspires to approach all areas of our work in ways that are respectful to those who create, use, and are represented in our collections. For a variety of reasons, however, users may encounter offensive or harmful language or content in some of our finding aids, catalogs, and collection materials. Note that the AHC does not censor or alter contents of the collections, as they provide context and evidence of a time, people, place, or event. Therefore, we encourage users to bring questions and concerns about descriptions in our finding aids to our attention via email or anonymous web-form. For more information, read our full statement on potentially harmful language and content.

AHC Archival Collections

Person holding a Black Lives Matter flag.

Photo taken by Timberly Vogel in Summer 2020 from the Black Lives Matter Protests Collection 12819 on disk ahcdm_12819_001.

 

Harriett Elizabeth Byrd Family Papers, Collection 10443

Harriett Byrd was a Wyoming State Representative, Wyoming State Senator, and elementary school teacher. The collection includes personal files, family records, photographs, and memorabilia. Online content is available to view.

Abe Morris Papers, Collection 11256

The Abe Morris papers contain material relating to his career as one of the first African American bull riders to be on the professional rodeo circuit. He was also a rodeo announcer, television commentator, and a writer for various rodeo-related magazines.

Black 14 (Laramie, Wyo.) Films, Collection 10963

The collection contains two films relating to the dismissal of 14 black football players from the 1969 University of Wyoming football team. Online content is available to view.

Philip White Papers, Collection 12568

The collection contains materials dealing with the Black 14 controversy at the University of Wyoming in 1969, including articles from the Branding Iron as well as articles from other papers throughout Wyoming and the region. There is material pertaining to coach Lloyd Eaton including information on the civil trial that followed the suspension of the fourteen football players. Also included are retrospective articles from the 1980s and 1990s and memorabilia from the Treagle Train in 1970.

Irene L. Kettunen Schubert Black 14 Collection, Collection 10405

The collection holds of materials concerning the dismissal of fourteen Black players from the University of Wyoming's football team. Online content is available to view.

Black Lives Matters Protest Records, Collection 12819

The collection includes news coverage and photographs documenting the Laramie, Wyoming Black Lives Matter Protests, which were a series of public demonstrations organized in order to draw attention to criminal justice and racial justice issues around the state of Wyoming and Laramie.

Mary E Almy Journal, Collection 03596

The collection contains a photocopy of a transcript of a journal written by Mary E Almy in 1891 during a journey by military ambulance. The ambulance was escorted by the Ninth United States Cavalry Regiment, Company E. The Ninth Cavalry Regiment was a segregated African American regiment. Although the transcript is only eight pages, Almy's descriptions of the march, the soldiers, and camp life are detailed.

Watson Family Papers, Collection 11738

The collection includes correspondence and personal papers of four African American brothers who served in the United States military during World War II.

American Soldier's Cold War Photo Album, Collection 12654

The collection contains a photo album created by an enlisted African American soldier assigned to the 13th Field Artillery Regiment in Germany during the Cold War. The album includes photographs of garrison training, maneuvers, visiting local towns, and family and friends back home.

Butterfly McQueen Papers, Collection 11269

Butterfly McQueen was an African American actor. Her collection includes photographs and an 18-page autobiographical manuscript of her thoughts about her life, social causes, movies starring Black actors, and the presidency of Richard Nixon.

June Vanleer Williams Papers, Collection 8587

June Vanleer Williams was an African American journalist, actor, and playwright. This collection contains scripts, newspapers, correspondence, and publicity relating to Williams’ personal and professional life.

Bill Walker Papers, Collection 07572

Bill Walker was an African American television and film actor known for his role as Reverend Sykes in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird. The collection includes screenplays, photographs, talks, and press releases.

Meg Karlin Papers, Collection 10335

Meg Karlin was a musician and musicologist. The collection includes literature that looks at racial and ethnic stereotyping in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There is also music sheets, ephemera, and books from Black communities.

UW African American and Diaspora Studies Program Records, Collection 545015

The collection contains publications, photographs, newspaper clippings, and flyers relating to the department; a map of Bayou Boeuf country, Louisiana, the area in which Solomon Northup was enslaved; information on the Black 14; a thesis on black settlement in rural Wyoming; and student projects from the 2016 “Reimagining the West Symposium”, created by Dr. Kerry Pimblott’s ‘The Black West’ seminar class.

UW Black Studies Center Records, Collection 545028

The University of Wyoming's Black Studies Center was created in 2020 with the help of Dr. Fredrick Douglas Dixon and Dr. Jacquelyn Bridgeman. The collection contains correspondence from inside and outside of the Black Studies Center, news clippings, programming events, and "zoom bomb" responses. Archived websites from the Black Studies Center is available.

UW Black Student Alliance Records, Collection 300064

The purpose of the Black Student Alliance (BSA) is to encourage, enlighten, embolden, and enrich the African and African American student body while simultaneously promoting unity through the African American community as well as among students of other cultures. The collection contains events flyers and internal communications.

John W. Ravage Papers, Collection 400048

The collection document Ravage's research while a professor at the University of Wyoming, including African American cowboys and settlers of the American west and Canada.

African Methodist Episcopal Church (Cheyenne, Wyo.) Records, Collection 03062

The Allen Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming serves a Black congregation. The collection includes correspondence, church financial records, church notices, church minutes, papers on C.B. Beamon, an annual church guide, and a 1967 list of pastors and churches in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Online collections are available to view.

Second Baptist Church (Cheyenne, Wyo.) Records, Collection 03010    

The Second Baptist Church was organized in 1884 to serve Cheyenne, Wyoming's Black Baptist residents. The collection includes financial records, records of member contributions, minutes, membership lists, and a 1936 Wyoming Baptist Survey.

Toppan Rare Books

Some books written or attributed originally to Black men and women were heavily changed by non-Black editors. Be aware of this when assessing the accuracy and legitimacy of these accounts.

Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho, an African, vol.1 – The first volume of a 1782 collection of Ignatius Sancho’s letters to friends and contemporaries. Ignatius Sancho, a Black British writer, composer, shop owner, etc, was born into slavery. Through his connections, he escaped slavery and earned an education. His letters discuss life in Britain at the time from his unique viewpoint, among other things. Sancho was also the first Black person to vote in a British election, being a man of property. This volume was published after Sancho’s death and the work was edited by Joseph Jekyll. (Toppan Rare Books Library, Fitzhugh Collection: CT 788 S168 A3 v.1)

An Abstract of the Evidence Delivered Before a Select Committee of the House of Commons in the Years 1790, and 1791, on the Part of the Petitioners for the Abolition of the Slave Trade – A summary of evidence that was presented to the Parliament of Great Britain in favor of the abolition of the slave trade. Divided into chapters by subjects such as how slaves are acquired, the emotions of slaves, their mistreatment, and others, this book presents vivid first hand testimony given by many people from a wide variety of backgrounds including ship captains, doctors, shop owners, and clergy. Also included is a fold out graphic of the conditions on a slave ship and a fold out map of the east coast of Africa. (Toppan Rare Books Library, Fitzhugh Dewey Collection: 326.1 Ab89)

Black Man’s Burden, John Oliver Killens – A series of essays on race relations in America originally published in 1965. Killens was an African American novelist, civil rights activist, and Second World War veteran. The essays are on a variety of topics, from “The Black Psyche” to “The Myth of Non-Violence versus the Right of Self-Defense”. The essays are written in a very vivid, frank, and informal style. This book contains racially offensive language in its vivid description of racism in the American South. (Toppan Rare Books Library: William R. Coe Collection: E185.61 .K487 1969)

Ebony Pictorial History of Black America, Editors of Ebony with Introduction by Lerone Bennett Jr., Vols. 1 and 3 – A large pictorial history of African America beginning with ancient African history and ending in the 1970s. (Toppan Rare Books Library: State Library Collection)

Narrative of Sojourner Truth; A Bondswoman of Olden Time, Emancipated by the New York Legislature in the Early Part of the Present Century; With a History of Her Labors and Correspondence Drawn from Her “Book of Life”, Olive Gilbert – An 1875 copy of the narrative of Sojourner Truth, a former slave, abolitionist, and woman’s rights advocate. This book contains Truth’s life story, as told by Gilbert. The book also contains additional materials, including personal letters, letters to newspapers, a section of anecdotes. The back page of this copy also contains newspaper clippings related to her death from 1883. (Toppan Rare Books Library: Fitzhugh Collection: E185.97 T85x 1875)

Arator; Being a Series of Agricultural Essays, Practical & Political: In Sixty-One Numbers, Col. John Taylor – A series of essays on agricultural topics by John Taylor, a 19th and 18th century Senator from Virginia and Revolutionary War veteran. Two chapters of this book mount a defense of the institution of slavery. Taylor argued that while slavery may be wrong, it was necessary to the agricultural economy of the United States. Taylor also opposed certain arguments made by Thomas Jefferson. Taylor additionally objected to the creation of a free black class, and pointed to the events of the Haitian Revolution as justification, thus showing the significance of the Haitian Revolution and what the uprising meant to free and enslaved Americans. Book contains outdated and offensive language. (Toppan Rare Books Library: Wentworth Collection (uncat): Taylor, John, Arator 1814)

LibGuide written by Marcus Holscher.

AHC Digital Exhibits and Blogs

Virmuze Exhibits

The Black 14: Protests and Reactions

AHC's Discovery History Blog

Carrie Burton Overton, UW’s First African American Female Student by AHC Simpson Archivist Leslie Waggener

The Searchlight Club: Elevating Cheyenne’s African American Women by AHC Simpson Archivist Leslie Waggener

Wyoming Legislator Liz Byrd’s Quest to Honor Martin Luther King, Jr. by AHC Simpson Archivist Leslie Waggener

Papers of African American Educator and Legislator, Harriet “Liz” Byrd at AHC by former Processing Archivist Matt Francis

Emancipation Day at Cheyenne’s Allen Chapel AME Church by AHC Public History Educator Brigida “Brie” Blasi

The Vivid Life and Photographs of June Vanleer Williams by former AHC Carlson Intern Anne-Marie Stratton

Traveling With the Ninth Cavalry by former AHC Processing Manager D. Claudia Thompson

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This search box will search the University of Wyoming's Online Catalog. Using this search, you can find manuscript and archival collections at the AHC as well as rare books in the AHC's Toppan Rare Books Library. Additional search tools (such as physical card catalogs, subject/photo/biographical file indexes, etc.) are available on-site, too. If you are unsuccessful in your search, please contact the Reference Services unit for assistance, or visit us on-site. Online cataloging projects are ongoing. 

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