Archives collection sheds light on controversial trials
A collection of records and letters relating to the “Wilmington 10” civil rights activists of the 1970s is now available on the Belk Library web site, thanks to the efforts of an Elon alumna working toward her graduate degree in library sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The records provide insight into the Southern Conference of the United Church of Christ in the months and years after a 1971 riot in Wilmington, N.C., that left two people dead. A man who had been working for the Church led the 10 people charged in connection with that incident, though the federal courts would eventually toss out their disputed convictions.
When the records arrived at the Belk Library from church offices in Elon, Kristin Shaffer ’07, an intern in the Archives and Special Collections office, sorted the material, filing letters and documents into appropriate categories before indexing the records for research on the web.
The box of documents contained letters from parishioners, financial statements, legal documents and meeting minutes.
“It’s nice having something a little more contemporary, and it’s nice having something that deals with segregation issues,” said Katie Nash, the university archivist at Elon, who supervised Shaffer’s work. “Having this organized, and having it online, I think it’s going to reach a wider audience.”
Shaffer graduated in 2007 after majoring in political science and public administration.
“I like to organize my friends’ closets in my spare time, so this was a good task for me! It’s a good skill to have,” Shaffer said. “Who wouldn’t rather do a field project than be in class? I knew Katie could use some help and I could use some archival processing experience.”
To learn more about the collection, click on the link to the right of this page.