O.N. Pruitt (right) with his son Lambuth (far left) and probably Pruitt’s brother Jim (center). Both Lambuth and Jim also worked as photographers. Photograph circa 1925. The Otis Noel Pruitt and Calvin Shanks Photographic Collection #05463, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The Southern Historical Collection is pleased to announce that the Otis N. Pruitt and Calvin Shanks Photographic Collection has been processed and is now available for use by researchers. The collection contains over 140,000 photographic negatives produced by two studio/commercial photographers, O.N. Pruitt and Calvin Shanks, in Columbus (Lowndes County), Mississippi, and the surrounding area from the late 1920s into the 1970s. Images are studio portraits as well as images of events, scenes, and people taken outside the studio. The collection also includes about 800 digital scans and about 200 prints made from these negatives. Pruitt and Shanks were trusted photographers of the community and images in the collection document life in Columbus, Mississippi during the time in which they were active.
There are several series/subseries in the collection that have been processed, but have not yet been added to the finding aid and digital collection (Digital Southern Historical Collection). Look for future posts announcing the additions. Archival processing and preservation of the Otis N. Pruitt and Calvin Shanks Photographic Collection was made possible through a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources Group (Mellon Foundation).
Materials in the Digital Sothern Historical Collection:
Posted in grants, New Collections
Tagged Calvin Shanks, CLIR Grant, Columbus, Digital SHC, Lambuth Pruitt, Lowndes County, Mississippi, Otis N. Pruitt, photographic negatives, photographic preservation, photographic studios, photographs, photography, processing
“Through the long, hot summer and the long cold winter, Delta Ministry looks ahead: to a total ministry, to growing self-respect and self-determination among delta Negroes, to a bold new start for some.” So begins the text of a wonderful brochure (found in the SHC’s Delta Health Center Records) that tells the story of the Delta Ministry.
The Delta Ministry was a project begun in 1964 by the New York-based National Council of Churches to provide support to African Americans in the Mississippi Delta region. The project not only sought to bring economic aid to black Mississippians but also encouraged voter registration and greater political involvement. According to Mark Newman’s 2004 book, Divine Agitators: The Delta Ministry and Civil Rights in Mississippi, the Delta Ministry began with a 10-year mandate but ended up stretching its support for the citizens of the Delta into the 1980s. This, according to Newman, filled the vacuum created as other civil rights organizations, such as SNCC and CORE, discontinued similar programs of support for poor blacks in the Mississippi Delta.
The group has a fascinating story, much more deftly told by Newman’s extensively-researched book than I could do in this space. The organization’s history deserves greater attention, it deserves even more ink from historians writing on the legacy of the American Civil Rights Movement. As an intro, we hope you’ll read and enjoy this Delta Ministry brochure. Click on each thumbnail to see a larger version of the image. Finally, if you’re interested in digging deeper, there are other great materials in Box 59 of the SHC’s Delta Health Center Records.
Posted in Activism, African American, Civil Rights, Featured Collections, Race Relations
Tagged activism, african americans, civil rights, Delta, Delta Ministry, economic deveolpment, Mark Newman, Mississippi, Mississippi Delta, The Long Civil Rights Movement
Whiskey and turpentine? Sounds a bit like the homemade cough syrup my mother used to fix for me when I was young. While we’re on the subject of strange prescriptions, here’s an excerpt from a 1930s pamphlet in the Delta and Providence Farm Papers (finding aid), titled, “Why a Doctor is Needed on the Delta Cooperative Farm:”
A baby was born on the Farm. A member of the farm who was a registered mid-wife in the state of Mississippi was in charge of the case. The Mother developed an infection, due, probably, to none too clean instruments. The mid-wife mixed a concoction of roaches and garlic and applied it to the infection.
Was this remedy effective? The pamphlet doesn’t say, though I’m happy to report that the Delta Cooperative Farm was soon joined by physician David R. Minter.
Posted in Collections, Featured Collections, Staff Finds
Tagged cooperatives, cough syrup, farms, garlic, homemade remedies, medical treatments, Mississippi, Mississippi Delta, remedies, roaches