A Guide to the John Mitchell Brooks collection of NAACP files, 1957-1960, 1978 Brooks, Mitchell John, collection of NAACP files M 296

A Guide to the John Mitchell Brooks collection of NAACP files, 1957-1960, 1978

A Collection in
Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library
Collection number M 296


Virginia Commonwealth University, James Branch Cabell Library

Special Collections and Archives
James Branch Cabell Library
Box 842003
Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia 23284-2003
Phone: (804) 828-1108
Fax: (804) 828-0151
Email: libjbcsca@vcu.edu
URL: https://www.library.vcu.edu/research-teaching/special-collections-and-archives/

© 2019 By Virginia Commonwealth University. All rights reserved

Processed by: Dillon Thomas

Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library, Virginia Commonwealth University
Collection number
M 296
John Mitchell Brooks collection of NAACP files, 1957-1960, 1978
0.84 linear feet.
Brooks, John Mitchell, 1917-1980

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

John Mitchell Brooks collection of NAACP files, 1957-1960, 1978 Collection # M 296, Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated by K. Eanes in May 1992.

Custodial History

The materials were kept by Brooks during his activities as the NAACP director of voter registration and education in the south. The collection was donated by K. Eanes in May 1992. The materials were found in the basement of 1900 S. Meadow Street, Richmond, Virginia when the house was sold to the donor.

Processing Information

The collection was originally processed in 1992, with the content retaining the original order in which they were found. The finding aid was revised in 2000. In 2019, the collection was rehoused and files were relabeled to bring into accordance with current best practice and to better reflect contents, while also respecting original order.

Biographical Information

John Mitchell Brooks was a civil rights activist and director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) voter registration and education program. Born in Braddock, Pennsylvania in 1917, Brooks moved to Richmond in 1931. As a teenager, he became one of the first black Eagle Scouts in Virginia. He attended Virginia Union University and West Virginia State College. Brooks served for three years as a lieutenant in the US Army and received the Bronze Star Medal for combat medical work in World War II. After the war, he became a partner at Millie's Grill and manager at Troy's Department Store in Richmond.

Brooks began his work with the NAACP in 1957 where he was hired as an assistant to W. Lester Banks, Executive Secretary of the NAACP. In 1958, Brooks became the director of the NAACP national voter registration and education program, coordinating the voter registration programs of state branches. The initiative under Brooks created pamphlets and publications to educate voters and promote registration drives. Brooks served as political action director for the NAACP Virginia State Conference. He also assisted in the formation of the Crusade for Voters in Richmond with William S. Thornton and William Ferguson Reid. He remained the director of the voter registration program until 1975. After his retirement, Brooks remained active in state and local politics as a lobbyist for civil rights issues until his death in 1980.

Scope and Content

The John Mitchell Brooks collection of NAACP files, 1957-1960, is a collection of administrative paperwork and correspondence used by John Mitchell Brooks during his initial years as director of the national voter registration and education program of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The materials primarily consist of files regarding the state branches of the NAACP across the United States. These branch files contain correspondence and statistical reports from the officials in charge of each state's voter registration initiative. The files show methods that the different branches incorporated to maximize the effectiveness of their individual voting initiatives. Additionally, some branch files include examples of promotional material created by each branch to ignite public interest. The materials were sent to Brooks for approval and feedback.

The collection also includes correspondence between Brooks and various individuals and groups involved with the NAACP's voter registration program. Individuals with whom he corresponded include the famous civil rights activist Henry Lee Moon, who was operating as the public relations director of the NAACP. Additionally, the collection contains correspondence with Ruby Hurley, often referred to as the "queen of civil rights," who was operating the Atlanta, Georgia NAACP regional office at the time. The collection also consists of administrative correspondence with various branch presidents and members regarding the production of NAACP literature.


The collection is arranged in alphabetical order by subject. The collection was maintained in its original order though a few files of similar materials were combined and miscellaneous materials were given more descriptive labels. 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.

Index Terms

  • African Americans -- Archives -- Virginia.
  • Brooks, John Mitchell, 1917-1980.
  • Southern States -- Race relations.
  • Voter registration -- Southern States.

Container List

Box-folder 1 folder: 1
Branch Files - Arkansas
Box-folder 1 folder: 2
Branch Files - Florida
Box-folder 1 folder: 3-4
Branch Files - Georgia
Box-folder 1 folder: 5
Branch Files - Louisiana
Box-folder 1 folder: 6
Branch Files - Maryland
Box-folder 1 folder: 7
Branch Files - Mississippi
Box-folder 1 folder: 8
Branch Files - Midwest (Ohio, Illinois, Oklahoma, Michigan)
Box-folder 1 folder: 9
Branch Files - New York
Box-folder 1 folder: 10
Branch Files - North Carolina
Box-folder 1 folder: 11
Branch Files - New Jersey
Box-folder 1 folder: 12
Branch Files - Pennsylvania
Box-folder 1 folder: 13
Branch Files - South Carolina
Box-folder 1 folder: 14
Branch Files - Tennessee
Box-folder 2 folder: 1
Branch Files - Texas
Box-folder 2 folder: 2-3
Branch Files - Virginia
Box-folder 2 folder: 4
Branch Files - Virginia - Richmond
Box-folder 2 folder: 5
Branch Files - Washington, DC
Box-folder 2 folder: 6
Branch Files - West Virginia
Box-folder 2 folder: 7
Correspondence - Branch Presidents
Box-folder 2 folder: 8
Correspondence - Hurley, Ruby
Box-folder 2 folder: 9
Correspondence - Moon, Henry Lee
Box-folder 2 folder: 10
Correspondence - National Correspondence
Box-folder 2 folder: 11
Correspondence - re: Publications
Box-folder 2 folder: 12
Newspaper Clippings
1959, 1978
Scope and Contents

The following clippings were removed, but are available via microfilm.

Richmond Afro-American, 1/2-7/78 pp. 5-8

Richmond Times Dispatch, 4/11/78 section B

Washington Post, 5/20/78 pp. A3-A4

Richmond News Leader, 2/17/78 pp.13-26

Washington Post, 1/8/78 pp. D1-D8

Washington Post, 1/15/78 B7-B8

Richmond Afro-American, 3/25/78 entire

Richmond Afro-American, 4/22/78 pp.15-28

Box-folder 2 folder: 13
News Releases
Box-folder 2 folder: 14
Regional Reports