A Collection in
Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell
Collection Number M 296
James Branch Cabell Library, Virginia Commonwealth UniversityContact Information:
James Branch Cabell Library
Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia 23284-2003
Phone: (804) 828-1108
Fax: (804) 828-0151
Processed by: Betsy Pittman
Funding: Web version of the finding aid funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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Box/Folder, John Mitchell Brooks Collection of NAACP Files, M 296, Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library, Virginia Commonwealth University
The collection was donated by K. Eanes in May of 1992.
The material was collected from the NAACP's office files by Brooks during his activities as NAACP director of voter registration and education in the south. The collection was donated by K. Eanes in May of 1992. The material was found in the basement of 1900 S. Meadow Street, Richmond, Virginia, when the house was sold to the donor
This collection was organized in June 1992 by Betsy Pittman. The scope and content notes were revised by Ray Bonis in September 2000.
John Mitchell Brooks, born in 1917 in Bradock, Pennsylvannia, moved in 1931 to Richmond, Virginia with his six brothers and sisters to live with his grandparents. He became one of the first black Eagle Scouts in the state and eventually attended Virginia Union University and West Virginia State College. Mr. Brooks spent three years in the Army as a lieutenant and was awarded the Bronze Medal for his combat medical work in World War II. After the war, he became a partner in Millies Grill and then worked as a manager in Troy's Department Store. His political activity began in 1957 when he was hired as an assistant to the Executive Secretary of the NAACP, Mr. W. Lester Banks. Mr. Brooks became the Director of the NAACP national voter registration and education program in 1958 and continued at this post until 1975. He also worked as political action director for the Virginia State Conference of the NAACP and formed the Crusade for Voters in Richmond, Virginia with Drs. William S. Thornton and William Ferguson Reid. After leaving the NAACP, he remained active in state and local politics as a Lobbyist while running Helen's Place with his wife. He was a life-time member of the NAACP and was honored for his work by many local organizations including the AFRO, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Astoria Beneficial Club and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. Mr. Brooks died in 1980.
The collection consists of the office files collected by Brooks during his activities as NAACP director of voter registration and education in the south. The bulk of the collection falls between 1958 and 1959. Materials in the collection include correspondence, promotional materials, handbills, photographs, newspaper clippings and other materials. Files contain information on activities in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Maryland and Washington, D.C. There are small file containing information from Ohio, Oklahoma, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. There is a small quantity of correspondence between Mr. Brooks and other NAACP officials including Roy Wilkins, W.C. Patton, Gloucester Current, Henry Lee Moon and Ruth Hurley. Materials related to the Richmond Crusade for Voters organization, dating primarily from the 1970s, are also included.
The collection was maintained in its original order though a few multiple files were combined and miscellaneous materials were labeled. Some newspaper clippings were disposed of but the citations to those articles are listed under the entry for Newspaper Clippings and are held by the library on microfilm.
Afro-American1/2-7/78 pp. 5-8
Richmond Times Dispatch4/11/78 section B
Washington Post5/20/78 pp. A3-A4 Richmond News Leader2/17/78 pp.13-26
Washington Post1/8/78 pp. D1-D8
Washington Post1/15/78 B7-B8
Richmond Afro-American3/25/78 entire
Richmond Afro-American4/22/78 pp.15-28