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June 21, 2016

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.

Pearl Adzei-Stonnes                                                                                                                                        

 Intern (Summer 2016)                                                                                                                          

Virginia Union University, Richmond VA


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