William Jesse Kennedy papers, 1902-1982.

October 12, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Creator: Kennedy, William Jesse, 1889-1985.
Collection number: 4925
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Abstract: William Jesse Kennedy, Jr. (1889-1985), businessman, author, and community leader, was born in Andersonville, Ga. He began his affiliation with North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company in 1916 in Savannah, Ga. He later relocated to Durham, N.C., and, in 1952, was elected the fifth president of the company. Correspondence, speeches, photographs, organizational records, and other items that document the business, civic, social, humanitarian, and professional activities of William Jesse Kennedy, Jr. Included are records relating to North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company and the White Rock Baptist Church in Durham, N.C.There are also materials relating to Kennedy’s activities with the Boy Scouts of America, the Boys’ Clubs of America, the Durham Committee of 100 (a group focused on developing the Research Triangle Park), 4-H clubs, Durham’s Lincoln Hospital, the NAACP, and the North Carolina Board of Higher Education, among other groups.Also included are deeds and correspondence belonging to Kennedy’s mentor, John Moses Avery, and a series of audiotaped interviews with Kennedy’s relatives, friends, and associates conducted by Carter Cue in 1994. Materials show Kennedy’s contributions to social and economic progress in North Carolina and demonstrate his interest in civil rights, integration, recreation, and industrial development, particularly in the Research Triangle Park.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Included are records relating to North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company and the White Rock Baptist Church in Durham, N.C. Materials show Kennedy’s contributions to social and economic progress in North Carolina and demonstrate his interest in civil rights, integration, recreation, and industrial development, particularly in the Research Triangle Park. This includes photographs and oral histories with friend and contemporaries of Kennedy’s.

Series 1 (Correspondence) contains a number of lettersĀ from youths in Nigeria, Ghana, and other African countries in 1963, following publication of his article, “If I Were Young Today,” in Ebony Magazine.

Of particular interest are the publications, correspondence, and materials in Series 4 (Business and Civic Associations). Kennedy was very involved in a number of diverse community organizations. This series contains records from various groups, such as the Boy Scouts, Delta Sigma Theta, Stanford Warren Library, and Lincoln Hospital.

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