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African Americans in Tennessee (Special Collections)

This guide highlights primary sources and research materials in Special Collections related to the African American experience in East Tennessee from the late 18th century to present day.

Manuscript and Archive Collections

A young Alex Haley with a sibling.
Alex Haley and sibling. 

Alex Haley Papers, 1870-1991 (MS.1888)
Manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, cassette tapes, videotapes, trial transcripts, and other materials documenting Alex Haley's literary career.

Minority Student Affairs Collection, 1965-1988 (AR.0596)
This collection houses information documenting minority student affairs on the University of Tennessee campus, including statistics on black enrollment, handbooks, information on black studies programs, newsletters, and other materials.

Mid-Atlantic Appalachian Race Desegregation Assistance Center Reports and Other Materials, 1966-1987 (AR.0424)
This collections consists primarily of reports documenting the work of the Educational Opportunities Planning Center (EOPC) and its successor, the Mid-Atlantic Appalachian Race Desegregation Assistance Center (MAARDAC), during the course of their existence.

Black Students Union Handbook, 1969 (AR.0594)
This collection houses an orientation handbook for black students issued by the Black Students' Union in 1969. It includes an introduction to the Black Students' Union, statements from the organization's President, information about academics and social life, and photos of "People to Know," including admissions counselors, faculty, and athletes.

Task Force for Blacks Collection, 1969-1975 (AR.0561)
Material documenting the formation and activities of the University of Tennessee's Task Force on Blacks, which was created to monitor the condition of and provide policy recommendations for black students, faculty, and staff. The collection contains a wide variety of material, including summaries of interviews with various administrators, reports from colleges and departments, student responses to questionnaires, and other materials.

Commission for Blacks Collection, 1976-1999 (AR.0565)
This collection contains material documenting the Commission for Blacks at the University of Tennessee, an advisory group to the Chancellor designed to address issues affecting black faculty, staff, and students on campus. Materials include statements of goals, meeting agendas, correspondence, reports of complaints over racial issues, and other documents.

Affirmative Action and Desegregation Collection, 1986-2001 (AR.0563)
This collection contains statistics on minority faculty, staff, and students, plans for desegregation, records of the statewide Desegregation Monitoring Committee, and information relating to the stipulations of Geier fulfillment documenting the enhancement of diversity at the University of Tennessee.

Rare Books

In the Supreme Court of Tennessee at Knoxville: State ex rel. Joseph M. Michael, complainant and appellant, v. Henry B. Witham, Dean of the University of Tennessee, et al., defendants and appellees ; Knox equity ; reply brief of appellees. 1942 (KFT396.5.A5 T4 1942)

Orientation '73: A Black Perspective. 1973 (LD5296 .T44 1973)

Black Studies Information Guide, Office of Black Studies. 1974 (E184.7.B35 U5 1974)

Nikki Giovanni [Speech delivered at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, March 1, 1974]. 1974 (E185.61 .G53)

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Affirmative Action Plan. 1974 (LD5285.8 .U55)

Interim Report of Commission for Blacks. 1977 (LD5291.8 .B52)

Black Shadows in Big Orange Country: Afro-American Achievement. 1979 (LD5292.2 .H3)

Afro-Americana: A Guide to Materials in the UTK Library. 1987 (E185 .B75 1987)

Race and Opportunity in the University: Report of the Task Force on Race Relations. 1988 (LD5291.8.T28 R32 1988)


UT football player Lester McClain.
Lester McClain, the first African American athlete at UT. Photograph from Office of the University Historian Collection (AR.0015)

Survey of Student Opinion Toward Desegregation at the University of Tennessee. 1957 (Thesis57.S85)

The Negro Undergraduate Student: Factors Relative to Performance in Predominantly White State Colleges and Universities in Tennessee. 1966 (Thesis66b.B743)

An Analysis of the Factors Associated with the Retention of Black Students that Entered the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Fall Quarter, 1981. 1988 (Thesis88b.E355)

A Survey of Interracial Interaction at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville: An Anthropological Analysis. 1994 (Thesis94.W35)

Seasons of Change: Football Desegregation at the University of Tennessee and the Transformation of the Southeastern Conference, 1963-1967. 1994 (GV954 .T4E7 1994)