Rencher Nicholas Harris Papers, 1851-1980 and undated, bulk 1926-1965

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Source Collection

This digital collection comprises selected materials from the following archival collection at David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library:

Rencher Nicholas Harris papers 1851-1980 and undated, bulk 1926-1965

Collection #RL.00515 | 16.5 Linear Feet; 2,112 Items

African American civic leader during the period following the Brown decision of 1954 and the Civil Rights Movement. Harris was the first African American city councilman in Durham, N.C., and the first black man to sit on the Durham County Board of Education. The Rencher Nicholas Harris Papers span the years from 1851 to 1980, with the bulk dating from 1926 to 1965. The collection consists mainly of clippings, correspondence, legal papers, photographs, printed materials, journals and diaries, scrapbooks, oversize maps, and reports relating to Harris' work in political and educational affairs in Durham, North Carolina in the 1950s and early 1960s as a member of the City Council and the School Board, with emphasis on school desegregation, civil rights, and race relations in Durham. Also represented is Harris' business career in banking, insurance, and real estate, his role as an official of the Bankers' Fire Insurance Company, and his civic activities, including leadership roles in the NAACP, Lincoln Hospital, and North Carolina Mutual Insurance, and Mechanics and Farmers Bank, all serving African Americans in Durham. Some biographical materials, family papers, and correspondence also relate to his wife, Plassie Williams Harris. Part of the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture at Duke University.

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