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Special Collections

Modern Political Archives Teaching Collections

Desegregation

Estes Kefauver Papers, MPA.0144 (Box 28,folder 2; Boxes 474, 476)

(Housed at the Modern Political Archives. Please email for appointment.)

Biographical Note: U.S. Senator Estes Kefauver represented Tennessee in the Senate from 1949-1963 and gained national fame when he held televised hearings on organized crime in the early 1950s. Kefauver was fairly liberal for a Southern Democrat of the time, and while civil rights was not one of Kefauver’s main causes, his collection contains some materials related to the battle for and against racial integration of public schools.

Scope and Contents: 

Box 28 Folder 2: “States and cities, Clinton, 1956-1958” contains information about the Clinton, Tennessee high school that was desegregated after Brown v. Board of Education. After a group of black students named the “The Clinton Twelve” enrolled in the school in 1956, pro-segregation activists from outside the area came to Clinton to organize riots and ignite unrest that culminated in the firebombing of the school in 1958. The folder includes correspondence to and from Kefauver as well as drafts, documents compiled for a trial against one of the pro-segregation activists, a letter from members of the Anderson County School Board to President Eisenhower, and contemporary news articles.

Boxes 474 and 476 contain Judicial Committee Files related to Civil Rights. These materials includes correspondence to and from voters, politicians and other stakeholders with varying opinions on the issues of desegregation. The materials in these folders were most likely filed by a member of Kefauver’s staff after the fact. Some items may be more interesting than others.

Topics and Themes: Civil Rights, Governance, Segregation, Education


Comics and Juvenile Delinquency

Estes Kefauver Papers, MPA.0144 (Box 171 and 172)

(Housed at the Modern Political Archives. Please email  for appointment.)

Biographical Note: U.S. Senator Estes Kefauver represented Tennessee in the Senate from 1949-1963 and gained national fame when he held televised hearings on organized crime in the early 1950s. Later in the decade, Kefauver launched another series of hearings to investigate the causes and dangers of young adults veering toward crime and corruption. Influenced by the psychiatrist Frederic Wertham, Kefauver saw comic books as one of many threats to the decency of American youth.

Scope and Content Note:  Papers from Estes Kefauver’s collection concerning fears about comic books, juvenile delinquency, and the morals of young people. Box 171 contains correspondence between Estes Kefauver and other concerned citizens; box 172 contains correspondence and reference material.

Topics and Themes: Governance, Media, Crime, Youth


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