The personal papers of the Reverend Claude William Black, Jr. and his wife, ZerNona Stewart Black document their civil rights, community activism, and Baptist ministry activities, predominantly from the 1940s through 2008, in San Antonio, TX.
The collection spans the early 1900s through 2009 (the year of Reverend Black’s death). The bulk of the papers are relevant to Reverend Black’s activities, with approximately one-fifth related to ZerNona Black’s endeavors. Included are: audiocassettes, reel tape, videocassettes and movie film of events, sermons, and addresses; handwritten sermons and accompanying notes; annotated periodicals, including rare and specialized journals such The Crisis (NAACP), African Forum, and other African American publications; scrapbooks of memorabilia, ephemera and news clippings, about San Antonio and national events; communications with local and national leaders, including A. Philip Randolph and Martin Luther King, Jr.; photographs and slides of community and personal events; awards, certificates and governmental proclamations; appointment books and daybooks; extensive records related to activities of Mount Zion First Baptist Church and additional organizations.
Series 1: Mount Zion First Baptist Church Records, 1940-2007
The collection includes detailed records of the Mount Zion First Baptist Church kept over 50 years of Reverend Black's ministry there. These records include financial, annual meeting notes and reports, details on mission activities, event brochures, funeral programs, Sunday service pamphlets, The Messenger newsletter, scrapbooks, photographs, and published histories of the church.
Series 2: Personal and Family Records
Personal files primarily include records about family members and friends, assorted family letters and correspondences, and daily planners and notes.
Series 3: Local Government Materials
The local government records contain the campaign and city council-related materials of Reverend Black from 1965 through 1977. The overall range of materials spans 1950 through 2008, and includes documents that originate from local government offices, including the City of San Antonio and Bexar County; documents that pertain to the the years of 1973-1977, when Reverend Black served as a member of City Council, and as the city's first African American Mayor Pro Tem; documents that relate to issues of local government that originate from a variety of sources, such as neighborhood organizations and coalitions; information from individual politicians; and documents from bodies with close local government affiliation, such as the City Public Service Board. The documents reveal Reverend Black's long interaction with government as an individual and as a minister.
Series 4: Organizations
Extensive files by and about organizations reflect the Blacks' participation and interest in local and national programs. Included are the records of the Mount Zion First Baptist Church-affiliated organizations of Project F.R.E.E., Health, Inc, and New Community Builders, Inc..; records related to organizations and conferences such as the Baptist Minsters Union, San Antonio Mothers Organization, Economic Opportunities Development Corporation (EODC), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), The American Baptist Convention, and the 1966 White House civil rights conference, To Fulfill These Rights.
Series 5: Writings
The writings are primarily dated and undated sermons, sermon notes, talks and editorials by Reverend Black, with a small quantity of talks and notes by ZerNona Stewart Black.
Series 6: Correspondence and Letters
The records include extensive electronic correspondence with Morris T. Johnson from 1966 through 2007, carried out mostly via email or fax. The conversations cover issues of the day and scriptural topics, most often in the tone of lively debate. Mr. Johnson has resided in Los Angeles, California for many years, served in World War II as one of the Tuskegee Airmen, and graduated from Harvard University Law School.
The series also includes letters from Maury Maverick, Jr., Apolonio "Arnold" Flores, and extensive personal, professional and political communications.
Series 7: Printed Materials
The series includes extensive subject files that include reports, newlsetters, newsclippings from local (many documenting the Blacks' activities) and national newspapers; magazines and journals, many of which are annotated or rare; books; awards, proclamations, and certificates; and ephemera, such as local event brochures, directories, and calendars, The topics covered by the files reflect Reverend Black's research interests throughout the years: education, poverty, housing, class relations, race relations, politics and political figures, aging, the health system, the economy, jobs, homosexuality, human relationships, religion, theology, scriptural interpretation, incarceration, the death penalty, the Middle East, and the African American experience.
The newspapers included in the series are primarily local African American issues, such as the San Antonio Register, SNAP News, the San Antonio Informer, and the San Antonio Observer.
Series 8: Scrapbooks
The series includes eleven scrapbooks, the bulk of which document the local government activity and interests of Reverend Black from the 1960s to the 1970s.
Series 9: Visual Materials
The series include photographs, slides, photographic albums and scrapbooks, and guestbooks, primarily created by ZerNona Stewart Black.
Series 10: Audio Recordings
The series includes twenty-two open reel tapes of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) radio broadcast series, Martin Luther King Speaks. It also includes sermons, talks, radio talks, and church and community events and conferences recorded on open reel tape and audiocassettes, many of which include Reverend Black as a participant.
Series 11: Audiovisual Recordings
The series contains videocassettes of talks and recorded church and community events, many of which include Reverend Black as a participant. Also included are three reels of 16mm movie film (no soundtrack), in the "home movie" genre, which document the Blacks' travels through the United States, Europe, and the Middle East, as well as local family and community occasions. One movie film includes a brief appearance by the civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph.
Series 12: Computer Disks
The series includes one hundred and fifty 3.5-inch floppy disks, unprocessed; eighty 5.25-inch floppy disks, unprocessed.
Series 13: Realia
The series includes a Grundig Niki portable open reel tape recorder (two track, 3 3/4 ips recording) and assorted personal and political memorabilia.