Gordon Blaine Hancock (1884-1970)
There had been many African American civil rights activists who stood against the injustices and segregation of the African Americans in society. One of the trailblazers in the struggle and on whose shoulders the likes of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr, and Rosa Parks stood to further champion the cause is Gordon Blaine Hancock (1884-1970). He was a southern black leader who emerged between Booker T. Washington and the rise of Martin Luther King, Jr. It is this great man’s collection I was fortunate to process during my internship in summer 2016 at the Archives and Special Collections Department of the Virginia Union University, Richmond VA.
Hancock was born June 23 1884, in Greenwood County, South Carolina. He was an educator, journalist, civil rights activist and clergyman. He studied Theology, Economics and Sociology. He was a professor of Economics and Sociology at Virginia Union University in Richmond and a leading spokesman for African American equality in the generation before the civil rights movement.
The bulk of the collections consist of laminated newspaper clippings from Hancock’s weekly syndicated news column “Between the Lines,” which he wrote for the Associated Negro Press from 1928 to 1965. The column appeared in 114 black newspapers throughout the United States. The articles chiefly articulate the concerns of blacks in American society in the areas of politics, desegregation, economics, and black leadership, though a few relate to broader social and political issues.
He was a co-founder of the movement that established the Southern Regional Council Inc. in 1944 and so the collection contains the audit report and annual report from 1967 to 1968 and also Tuskegee Institute from 1971 to 1972.
The Hancock collection also includes teaching materials; course outlines and teaching notes from Virginia Union University in the early 1950s. His course in race relations at Virginia Union was believed to be the first in the country.
He retired in 1963 as pastor of the Moore Street Baptist Church, Richmond VA after 38 years of dedicated service.
Hancock’s dedicated fight against segregation in all forms cannot be overemphasized. This was tangible in his collection. He lived and breathed racial equality for the black man.
I must admit that processing this collection has been a learning experience for me. One of my greatest takeaways from this revered man’s life is his saying “the struggle to get an education was the best part of my education.” He understood the relevance of education since he was himself an educator and also climbed to the highest pinnacle of the educational ladder. He was conferred L.H.D in 1969 by Colgate University, Hamilton, New York. Gordon Blaine Hancock died in Richmond on July 24, 1970.
I hope you would come by to view and use this and other collections that we hold.
Intern (Summer 2016)
Virginia Union University, Richmond VA
Henry Boyd Hucles Jr. (1897-1979)
One of the two collections I worked on as part of my summer 2016 practicum in the Archives and Special Collections department of Virginia Union University is Henry Boyd Hucles Jr. He was born November 11, 1897, in Petersburg, VA. He was an American football, baseball and basketball coach and college athletics administrator. He studied Physics at Virginia Union University with honors and also earned All-American honors as a quarterback for the Virginia Union University football team. He became player-coach of the Panthers when he was a senior. He was the first student athlete to become a coach at Virginia Union University and also the first head football coach at Prairie View A&M University. In 1950 he earned MSc. from Springfield College, Massachusetts.
As I began work on Hucles collection I never imagined how much of an impression it could make on my life. His collection consistently reveals his personality. His career as a sportsman was translated in his daily life. He was a disciplined and organized person. This can be seen in the personal diaries he kept between 1926 and 1963. He was affable and sociable. The many photographs from various events he attended attest to it. His selfless service to the community was above par. He committed himself to serving others. His collection includes certificates of recognition from the American Red Cross and also from VUU Alumni Association. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Richmond Coliseum; therefore the collection contains a proposal document for the establishment of Richmond Coliseum in 1966 and a report from Coliseum Committee to Richmond City Council in 1965. He also served on committees to hire candidates for employment, hence the individual resumes to Coliseum Committee for employment in 1968.
He invested so much into VUU athletics that his name cannot go unmentioned in the history of VUU. His 50-year involvement with VUU athletics and his invaluable contribution to Prairie View University athletics earned him the induction into the Prairie View A & M Hall of Fame in 1987, the VUU Hall of Fame in 1988, and the CIAA Hall of Fame in 2001.
His endearment to others showed through the many congratulatory notes he received from people of all walks of life upon his retirement that were positively impacted by his life. This is revealed in the many congratulatory notes the collection contains.
Processing this collection has truly been a valuable experience for me. My greatest takeaway from this celebrated athlete’s life is captured in one of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s sayings, “do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Henry Boyd Hucles Jr. had indeed left trails that are indelible. He died on September 10, 1979 at Brooklyn, New York.
Come visit us and check out this and many other collections that we have.
Intern (Summer 2016)
Virginia Union University, Richmond VA