SAN ANTONIO - Trinity University has acquired the papers of San Antonio civil rights activists the Rev. Claude William Black Jr. and his wife, ZerNona Stewart Black.
The collection includes a breadth of topics, including local and national civil rights and social and civic issues from the mid-1800s to 2009, when Black died. After preliminary work to process and prepare the materials for access, the collection will be housed in the Coates Library, Special Collections and Archives.
The collection was donated to Trinity by the Black's grandson, Taj Matthews, executive director of the Claude & ZerNona Black Developmental Leadership Foundation.
"The late Rev. Claude and ZerNona Black have left an immeasurable legacy of service to our nation. As Christian leaders, civil rights leaders, political leaders, and humanitarians, they worked for over 60 years to improve the lives of others," Matthews said. "I am extremely excited about the partnership with Trinity University to bring their life work to a broader audience."
The collection was acquired through the efforts of numerous individuals, including Trinity President Dennis A. Ahlburg; Trinity University Librarian Diane Graves; Amy Roberson, special collections and archives librarian at Trinity; and Carey H. Latimore IV, associate professor and co-chair of history and co-director of the African American Studies program at Trinity.
The collection also contains handwritten notes and recorded audio sound cassettes that document Black's many sermons, memorial services, and explorations of religious doctrine. Scrapbooks include photographs, pamphlets, political ephemera, and newspaper clippings of Black's campaigns and election as a San Antonio city councilman in 1973, his appointment in 1974 as the city's first African American mayor pro tem, and his participation in city events. Notebooks, photographs and memorabilia reveal the history of the African American community in San Antonio and surrounding areas. The civic activism of both Reverend Black and ZerNona in areas such as elder care and the well-being of the community is present throughout the collection.
Text provided by Donna Morales Guerra, project archivist assigned to the Claude and ZerNona Black Papers at Coates Library, Special Collections and Archives. She previously was the city archivist for the San Antonio Municipal Archives & Records and the senior curatorial assistant at the Archive of World Music, Loeb Music Library, Harvard University.
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