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Running Head: Elliott Call Number: UA 2/1/4 Name: An Inventory of Papers of James Ralph Thaxton (1901-1982) held in the

Valdosta State University Archives Dates: 1958-1961 Size: 2 boxes; 38 items Biography:

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James Ralph Thaxton (March 23, 1901-August 18, 1982) was born in Griffin County, Georgia. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia where he obtained an AB and AM. He received his Diplome from the University of Grenoble (France) and his Ph.D. from the University of Indiana. He was a teacher at Griffin High School located in Georgia. He was an instructor, Adj. Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor of Romantic Languages at various times while employed at the University of Georgia. He was Dean, Coordinate College (Women’s Jr. Coll.) at Univ. of GA. Professor of History at Univ. of GA, Director of Admissions at the Univ. of GA, Registrar at the Univ. of GA. He was Acting President of Georgia State Women’s College Valdosta for one year. He became President of Valdosta State College for for which he served seventeen years. He became President of Emeritus in 1966. He was a Democrat and was a member of the Disciples of Christ. He married his wife, Helen Clarkson on December 30, 1922 and had two children James Edwin and William Heriot. Scope and Content: The papers consist of Thaxton’s correspondence relating to the admittance of African Americans students to Valdosta State University which was a response to the Federal Court’s decision on outlawing segregation. Thaxton, in his letters, describes the atmosphere of Valdosta in the acceptance of these students. Correspondents include Mrs. Ralph J. Bunch, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., A. Philip Randolph, Horace L. Smith, John Archer Hutchinson, James H. Therrell, Eugene Cook, the Attorney General of Georgia, Herman E. Talmadge, Governor of Georgia, Chancellor George L. Simpson, Jr., and George B. Brooks. In addition, the file mainly consists of newspaper clippings relating to the national coverage on segregation. These clippings provide further context to the national tenseness of creating integrated schools and provide further background to Thaxton’s correspondence. The papers are arranged in two groups: correspondence and memorabilia. The papers are arranged in chronological order according to the dates. In addition, each piece has a short description following it.

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Correspondence: Includes Thaxton’s personal correspondence addressing the integration of schools; a petition campaign letter; correspondence from the Office of the Governor, Atlanta; correspondence from the Department of Law in the State of Georgia; correspondence with the Chancellor’s office of the University System of GA; and correspondence with the House of Representatives in Atlanta. Memorabilia: Includes clippings from various U.S newspapers reporting various developments of integration of schools. Included especially is a clipping regarding the University of Georgia newspaper’s regard to integration as well as an editorial from the Valdosta Times on integration. Subject Headings: Thaxton, James Ralph, 1901-1982 Talmadge, Herman E. (Herman Eugene), 1913-2002 King, Jr., Martin Luther, 1929-1968 Segregation – GA – Valdosta Inventory: Box 1: Correspondence [Folder 1]: Thaxton Papers – Correspondence – Office of the Governor – Sept. 14, 1954 – Governor Talmadge inquires if the Georgia Constitution recognizes allocation of funds to integrated schools. [Folder 2]: Thaxton Papers – Correspondence – Office of the Governor – Sept. 27, 1954 – Eugene Cook, Attorney General, responds to Talmadge’s inquiry with the full explanation of the GA Constitution’s view on integrated schools. [Folder 3]: Thaxton Papers – Correspondence – “Youth March for Integrated Schools” – Feb. 13, 1959 – A petition from Mrs. Bunche, Dr. King, and Mr. Randolph requesting Thaxton’s support of equal rights. [Folder 4]: Thaxton Papers – Correspondence – GA House of Representatives – Jan. 18, 1961 – Eugene Cook, Attorney General, recollects the University of Georgia incident regarding Charlayne Hunter’s desire to use the dormitory’s at UGA. [Folder 5]: Thaxton Papers – Correspondence – Mr. Horace L. Smith – Sept. 20, 1963 -- Thaxton tells Smith of the success of admittance of two African American students. [Folder 6]: Thaxton Papers – Correspondence – Note Hutchinson, Therrell – Valdosta (GA.) – Officials and employees Cook, Eugene – Attorney General of GA Integration – GA – Valdosta Bunch, Mrs. Ralph J.

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Sept. 23, 1963 – Thaxton remarks the truth of admittance of two Negro students and indicates his disgust with the Kennedys. 7]: Thaxton Papers – Correspondence – Mr. James H. Therrell – Sept. 24, 1963 -- Thaxton describes for Therrell the classes Valdosta offers on Saturdays for in-service teachers and includes and an application of Thmas Meck Jones, Jr. who is currently teaching at one of the Negro schools. Thaxton speaks highly of Jones. 6]: Thaxton Papers – Correspondence – Office of the Attorney General – Sept. 30, 1963 – Eugene Cook, Attorney General, and James Therrell, Executive Assistant, requests information regarding the African American population at each Georgia University. 7]: Thaxton Papers – Correspondence – Note to Therrell – Oct. 1, 1963 – Thaxton responds to the request of Therrell by giving necessary information regarding the African American students who have applied. 8]: Thaxton Papers – Correspondence – Note to Chancellor Simpson, Jr. – June 30, 1966 –Thaxton’s resignation notice to Chancellor Simpson.

Box 2: Memorabilia [Folder 1]: Thaxton Papers – Memorabilia- “Two Negroes Enter College at Valdosta” Newspaper Article– Undated – A description of Valdosta allowing the admittance of two Negro students into the college. [Folder 2]: Thaxton Papers – Memorabilia – “Negro Teacher List is Given for City” Newspaper Article—Undated – A printed list of African Americans in Valdosta. [Folder 3]: Thaxton Papers – Memorabilia – “NAACP Officers” Newspaper Article – Undated – The article describes how many NAACP Officers support Communist efforts. [Folder 4]: Thaxton Papers – Memorabilia – “A Negro Editor on Segregation” – Valdosta Times – March 26, 1955 – An African American writes about his view on segregation. [Folder 5]: Thaxton Papers – Memorabilia – “Georgia State Signal” – The Augusta Courier – October 22, 1956 – The article focuses on the stance of the Georgia State Signal publication and the UGA Red and Black student publication position on segregation. [Folder 6]: Thaxton Papers – Memorabilia – “Racial Resolution” – The Atlanta Journal and Constitution – February 2, 1958 – In this article, the State of Georgia remarks that New York can take care of their school problem. [Folder 7]: Thaxton Papers – Memorabilia – “Southeast Empire” —April 6, 1958 – Federal Courts order states to apply the new school plan. [Folder 8]: Thaxton Papers – Memorabilia – “‘Conventional’ Wisdom” – September 16, 1958 – This article describes how we need to evaluate our experience and education in the midst of change to proceed forward.

Running Head: Elliott [Folder 9]: Thaxton Papers – Memorabilia – “Little Rock Mood: It Backs School Closing to Prevent Integration” – The Wall Street Journal – September 16, 1958 -- Describes the decision of Little Rock to close school to pose a reaction to the Segregation legislation. [Folder 10]: Thaxton Papers – Memorabilia – “Petition Campaign and Youth March for Integrate Schools” –April 18, 1959 – A petition asking the American youth to stand against segregation. Processing Date: November 3, 2011 by Laura Elliott.

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