Howard Kester papers, 1923-1978.

Creator: Kester, Howard, 1904-1977.
Collection number: 3834
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Abstract: Howard Anderson Kester was a theologian, educator, and administrator active in Christian movements relating to race relations, pacifism, and economic reform in the South from the 1920s until his retirement in 1970. Correspondence of Howard A. Kester and his wife, Alice Harris Kester, together with reports, leaflets, pamphlets, newsletters, organization reports, writings, and other items. Included are materials about Kester’s association, beginning in the 1930s, with such organizations as the YMCA, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Committee on Economic and Racial Justice, the Fellowship of Southern Churchmen, the Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union, the Socialist Party, and others active in the movement for social change. Also included are materials relating to Kester’s work, beginning in the 1940s, with such institutions as the Penn School, the John C. Campbell Folk School, and Montreat-Anderson College. There is also material relating to Kester’s later work as an educational innovator and about Kester himself and his development as a Christian radical, social reformer, administrator, and teacher. Some of Kester’s correspondents are listed below.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: ┬áThe collection documents his activities in various organizations including the YMCA; the Student Christian Movement; the Southern Tenant Farmers Union; the NAACP, for whom he investigated lynchings; the Committee on Economic and Racial Justice; and the Fellowship of Southern Churchmen, for whom he investigated opinions on and problems with desegregation (1955-1959). The collection also contains material reflecting Kester’s duties as Principal of the Penn Normal Industrial and Agricultural School, St. Helena Island from 1943-1948 (See Series 2, part I and II).

Additional materials include his writings, such as his reports on lynching and farm tenancy; his financial records while he was employed by the Committee on Economic and Racial Justice; and conference programs for the Commission on Interracial Cooperation, Conference on Education and Race Relations, and the Southern Commission on the Study of Lynching (see particularly folders 216-217 for reports on lynching).

This collection contains materials that have been digitized. Click here to link to the finding aid for this collection and to access the digital material.

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