Amzie Moore Papers, 1941-1970

Scope and Content Note

Amzie Moore's papers have been arranged in four series, to illustrate the many facets of his personal activities and civic and civil rights work. The series are: Correspondence and Personal Papers, Records of Organizations, Subject Files, and Financial Records. Purely personal correspondence has been returned to Moore at his request. Because of the disorder of the original accession, major portions of the collection are somewhat tentatively attributed and described, and many items have necessarily been placed in general or miscellaneous categories. The precise degree of Moore's involvement with many groups which are not well represented in the collection, and the interrelationships of the organizations, remains unclear.

Within the CORRESPONDENCE AND PERSONAL PAPERS series may be found a folder of private papers, including deeds and land transaction records, Army discharge papers, divorce papers, club membership cards, poll tax receipts, and a copy of an article regarding Moore, published in Ave Maria, February 27, 1965. His file of general correspondence primarily consists of letters and printed memoranda which Moore received from local individuals and from those associated with the many agencies and projects with which he was involved, with a few carbon copies of Moore's letters. Some of the correspondence deals with Moore's personal financial and business transactions. Although there has been a separation of letters into appropriate organizational files, due to the complicated interrelationships of agencies and organizations, some of this type of correspondence has been retained in these general files. Thus, the researcher should check both general and specific files to locate all pertinent information. In particular, there are many letters which contain both information concerning Operation Freedom activities and personal messages from Moore's friend, Operation Freedom director Reverend Maurice F. McCrackin. Moore's collection of the letters of other individuals has been retained as evidence of his close involvement with civil rights workers and with local poor people. Apparently civil rights workers either lived with Moore or used his address as their own for the purposes of receiving mail. Many of the letters regarding the problems of local blacks were apparently written for them by Moore. Moore's miscellaneous writings include drafts of letters, affidavits, talks, and articles; and notes of research and reading, and of meetings and interviews with poor people.

The RECORDS OF ORGANIZATIONS series contains a variety of materials dealing with the Cleveland and Bolivar County agencies established in the 1960s with federal funding, and with other local, state, and national level organizations in which Moore was active. Among the more important of these are the two related groups which distributed federal anti-poverty money--Bolivar County Community Action Program, Inc. (CAP) and Association of Communities of Bolivar County (ACBC), which was headed by Moore. Their general papers include copies of the ACBC charter of incorporation, by-laws of both organizations, a short history of the formation of CAP, correspondence, and notes of meetings and plans. Other records are funding applications and proposals, applications for employment, and a number of petitions demanding dismissal of the CAP advisory board.

The work of the Child Development Group of Mississippi and Head Start in Bolivar County is represented by similar types of material. Within the first folder of general correspondence and papers are located a lengthy chronological history of the agencies, a list of aims of Head Start, and other materials illustrating the birth of Project Head Start in 1965. As community chairman of the project, Moore remained in contact with federal and state officials, and also made local arrangements for housing and supplying the Head Start centers. Some of Moore's own property was leased by the centers. Records of these arrangements consist of correspondence, rental agreements, employee applications and resumes, and the like. In the general material file is included a list of other centers in the state; while other files contain proposals for funding the project, and suggestions and plans for Head Start lessons. The individual center records generally consist of a listing of staff members, and daily records of student attendance for the first four months of 1966.

Moore's files of NAACP papers consist primarily of printed memoranda and other general material which the national office sent to all presidents of local branches. Similar material was issued by the Mississippi State Conference of Branches and may be found within the files of that organization, while the records of the Cleveland branch contain affidavits and press releases created by Moore, and correspondence between Moore and the state field secretary, Medgar Evers, and others. Also present are presumably incomplete membership lists, compiled and photocopied from membership cards which Moore had never distributed to the intended recipients.

The SUBJECT FILES include a grouping of printed materials and papers which could not specifically be related to any particular organization. It may be surmised that Moore collected this material for his own reference use. Again, as evidence of Moore's interest in local poor people are affidavits of discriminatory treatment, food stamp petitions, financial and need statements, and name and address lists. The statements of financial, food, and clothing needs were apparently accumulated by Moore and others, probably to provide summaries for use by Operation Freedom and other relief organizations. The name and address lists may have been compiled for a similar purpose, or to identify those individuals to be contacted for possible inclusion in Head Start classes or for voter registration. Moore received copies of several field reports (1962), which apparently were written by NAACP workers in Mississippi, and may have been directed to Bob Moses. The voter registration papers in the collection consist of lists of voters and canvassers' reports, voter registration handbooks, plans, and printed memos produced by many organizations, and petitions of local people for their full voting rights.

The FINANCIAL RECORDS in the collection include personal, business, and organizational financial records, consisting mainly of bank statements and cancelled checks. Moore's financial papers also include a sampling of records of his personal accounts with local businesses, past due bills and loan payments, and wage and income statements; his bank statements and cancelled checks, insurance policies, rental property records, and tax returns and statements. A large quantity of routine financial documents such as unpaid and receipted bills was discarded. Scattered records from Moore's Beauty Shop, Service Station, and the W&M Store are also present. Financial records of other organizations include several organizations which are not represented elsewhere in the collection. Moore apparently was in charge of the financial affairs of most, if not all, of these groups.

The TAPE RECORDINGS in the collection contain interviews with local black residents and civil rights workers, conducted by Amzie Moore, 1958-1964, as well as several recordings of gospel music, and tapes of hearings, 1958, held by the Arkansas State Legislature regarding Communist activity in that state.