Anna Holden Papers, 1946-1999

Scope and Content Note

The papers have been arranged in six series: Personal and Miscellaneous Papers; Congress of Racial Equality Records; Clinton, Tennessee, School Desegregation Study; School Desegregation Study in Three Cities; Tape Recordings; and Newspaper Clippings.

Anna Holden's PERSONAL AND MISCELLANEOUS PAPERS include materials which she collected regarding civil rights events and issues that were not directly related to her professional work or CORE activities. These papers consist mainly of published reports and magazine and newspaper articles. The few personal papers in this series include correspondence, both general and specifically related to her arrest as a sit-in demonstrator in Ann Arbor, and a few descriptive documents such as resumes. Also in this series are copies of most of Holden's own publications written between 1951 and 1968.

The majority of the CORE RECORDS dates from 1963 to 1966, and primarily consists of papers of the Washington, D.C., chapter, material gathered in the course of expulsion proceedings against Julius Hobson, and papers regarding the direct action projects of the chapter's Housing Committee. The chapter papers reflect Holden's activities with CORE and include membership lists of the chapter itself (1964-1966) and of its employment committee (1963-1965). They also contain lists of activities, community contacts, and Washington journalists from the same general period. Hobson served as chairman of Washington CORE during the early 1960s, but was removed from office and expelled from CORE after a dramatic campaign by dissidents, including Anna Holden, within the Washington chapter. The complaints against Hobson and accounts of the action taken against him are included in this series. Following the reorganization of Washington CORE in the wake of Hobson's expulsion, one of the chapter's most successful and best publicized functions came to be its Housing Committee's numerous direct action campaigns. Papers gathered in pursuing these cases make up a major portion of this series. The Housing Committee also collected published literature from other fair housing groups and from periodicals. The committee accumulated files of correspondence and public papers in the course of negotiating with various public bodies and officials for stricter enforcement of fair housing regulations. Other Housing Committee files include copies of relevant legislation, lists of members and participants, minutes and reports dating from 1963-1966, and papers pertaining to the slum and suburban housing tours organized in 1965 and 1966 by the Ad Hoc Committee on the Housing Crisis, of which Washington CORE was a member. Among the other CORE records in this series are certain published descriptions of national CORE's programs and methods and copies of some national mailings. Separate files were also created for papers of other local CORE chapters, such as the Fair Housing Association, connected with Ann Arbor CORE, 1962-1963, Battle Creek Michigan, CORE, 1963, and a miscellaneous assortment of other CORE chapters.

The CLINTON, TENNESSEE SCHOOL DESEGREGATION STUDY made up a segment of the research that Holden carried out at Fisk University, in Nashville. The study was published in 1956. This series of records includes a late draft of the study, notes, data, and background material gathered in the course of research. Among her research materials in this series are interviews with local residents and printed material on community leadership and attitudes. Separate files contain papers and clippings pertaining to John Kasper, a segregationist from New Jersey who rallied local sentiment against school desegregation and later spent time in prison for encouraging Clinton residents to break the law.

The series described as SCHOOL DESEGREGATION STUDY IN THREE CITIES brings together the materials that Holden collected during her research on the progress of desegregation in the schools of Charlottesville, Virginia, Providence, Rhode Island, and Sacramento, California. Although only a few portions of the study appear here in draft form, the administrative and legal history of the project is well documented through Miss Holden's correspondence; copies of proposals, contracts, and budgets; field expense accounts; and personnel records. Besides data specific to the three cities, Holden also collected published information on federal legislation relating to school desegregation and on national trends in education for minority groups, pedagogical innovations, and the consequences of segregation and desegregation in schools.

Important data for the study came from personal interviews that Holden and her research assistant carried out in the three cities in 1969 and 1970; the forms on which they recorded the data and answers are also included. These forms often contain more personal and informal remarks by the researchers as well. The interviews were designed to elicit the reactions of individuals directly involved in school desegregation--students, teachers and administrators, parents, and prominent members of minority communities. Most of the papers in this series consist of notes, published papers, and official documents relating to the administration of the three school districts, the formation and implementation of desegregation plans, and community reaction to desegregation. Data on enrollment, the racial composition of the student and faculty populations, school boundary changes, and busing arrangements, are documented in school board minutes and in records specifically relating to district boundaries. Accounts and examples of federally encouraged curriculum and textbook changes are included for each city. Public reaction and hostility to the changes accompanying school desegregation are documented in a number of subject files.

For Charlottesville, there are in addition a number of records pertaining to the relationship between the city and county school districts and to the city's tolerance of private schools set up to allow whites to escape the integrated public schools. The collection of Providence material contains considerable documentation of the city's experimental or “model” schools. Desegregation in Sacramento was complicated by the heterogeneity of the non-black population of the city; these special concerns are referred to in a number of files. Holden also collected documents from school districts and regions in many other parts of the country. Possibly these publications were used in choosing the case studies for her research.

Four of the five TAPE RECORDINGS in the collection record a closed hearing held in Charlottesville by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights during the 1967-1968 school year, to investigate the means and progress of school desegregation there. The commissioners imply that Charlottesville may be regarded as a model for the rest of the country because of its success in overcoming a long history of school segregation. The fifth tape is a radio interview of Anna Holden on WGMS, Washington, D.C., on September 6, 1964. The discussion lasts about fifteen minutes and concerns the history of Washington CORE, CORE's philosophy of action and its current projects in Washington. Holden describes herself as the Special Assistant to the Chairman of Washington CORE.

The final series, NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS, brings together topical accounts of events in Washington, Clinton, Charlottesville, Providence, Sacramento, and Ann Arbor. There are also a few clippings relating to Holden personally.