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Collection Number: 05141

Collection Title: Grigsby Family Papers, circa 1918-2002

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Size 1.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 100 items)
Abstract The Grigsby family of North Carolina and South Carolina; New Haven, Conn.; Detroit, Mich.; and Phoenix, Ariz., descend from Fred Grigsby (b. 1867), the son of a former slave. The Grigsby family papers consist of correspondence and invitations, funeral and school materials, newspaper clippings and other printed biographical material, photographs, and other materials documenting the Grigsby family, especially publicist, civil rights activist, and editor Snow F. Grigsby, artist and art educator J. Eugene Grigsby (Gene), school principal J. E. Grigsby and school teacher Purry Leone Dixon Grigsby, and the family of teacher Miriam Grigsby Bates. Educational achievement is the central theme of the collection, in evidence in transcripts, diplomas, and photographs of family members receiving degrees. Other education-related materials include a letter from one Grigsby generation to the next providing personal insights on Langston Hughes for a research paper; a 1938 photograph of Purry Leone Dixon Grigsby teaching in a Biddleville (Charlotte, N.C.) elementary school classroom; and a small amount of material relating to the School Workers Federal Credit Union, which was founded in 1941 in Charlotte, N.C., by J. E. Grigsby, for African American teachers and employees of the public school system. Also of note are a 1942 "living letter" recorded at a USO Club; a 1980 letter that included a then-confidential list of the Detroit chapter of Tuskegee Airmen; a copy of a 1980 letter from Snow F. Grigsby to fellow Republican Strom Thurmond on racism, politics, and the economy; a CORE sit-in songs (Congress of Racial Equality) booklet; and the 1942 program for the women's West End Book Club of Charlotte, N.C.
Creator Grigsby family.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
Folder 20 contains two documents that have been photocopied and redacted to protect the privacy of a living individual. The original documents will remain closed until the individual has died.
Restrictions to Use
No usage restrictions.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Grigsby Family Papers #5141, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received on deposit and as gifts from Pat Bates in December 2003 (Acc. 99679, 99680) and May 2007 (Acc. 100666); as gift from Alfred Grigsby in December 2003 (Acc. 99681); and as gift from Miriam Grigsby Bates in December 2003 (Acc. 99673) and August 2006 (Acc. 100951).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

The Grigsby family of North Carolina and South Carolina; New Haven, Conn.; Detroit, Mich.; and Phoenix, Ariz., descend from Fred Grigsby, born in 1867 and the son of a former slave. Fred Grigsby married Kitty Pitts and with her had eleven children: Jefferson Eugene (J. E.), Snow Flake (Snow), George Talmadge (Ted), Yarnell Jonathan (Y. J.), Joseph Howard (Howard), Rufus Vincent, Sunnie, Ella Belle (Belle), Lucille, Annie Jones (Jo), and J. Mildred. He later married Theresa Brown and with her had Alfred C. Grigsby. Fred Grigsby died in 1957.

Snow F. Grigsby was a publicist and civil rights activist in Detroit and edited the Postal Alliance for many years. Snow married Eliza Redd of Savannah, Ga., and with her had Gloria and Fred. Snow Grigsby died in 1981.

Rufus Grigsby was a photographer and a carpenter. In 1957, he ran for city council in a small town in North Carolina. Rufus Grigsby died in 1977.

J. E. Grigsby (Jefferson Eugene Grigsby Sr.) attended Johnson C. Smith University and Columbia University and received his master's degree from Ohio State University. Grigsby was principal of Second Ward High School in Charlotte, N.C., from 1931 until his retirement in 1957. In 1941, J. E. co-founded the School Workers Federal Credit Union (now First Legacy Federal Credit Union) in Charlotte, N.C., for African American teachers and employees of the public school system who, at that time, were prohibited from joining the North Carolina State Credit Union. He and his wife Purry Leone Dixon Grigsby, a school teacher, had four children: J. Eugene (Jefferson Eugene Grigsby Jr., also known as Gene), Donald D., Marvin O., and Miriam. J. E. Grigsby died in 1975. Purry Leone Dixon Grigsby died in 1977.

J. Eugene Grigsby (Gene) is an artist and art educator. He attended Johnson C. Smith University for one year and then transferred to Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., where he graduated with a degree in art in 1938. In 1940, Grigsby earned a master's degree from Ohio State University and began a career in art education. During World War II, he served in the 573rd Ordinance Ammunition Company. In 1943, he married Rosalyn Thomasena Marshall. After the war, the couple moved to Phoenix, Ariz., where Grigsby resumed teaching art. He completed a doctorate in art education from New York University in 1963 and three years later joined the faculty of Arizona State University. Gene and Thomasena Grigsby have two sons: Jefferson Eugene III and Marshall.

Miriam Grigsby completed an X-ray technician course at Yale University hospital and was a certified teacher in Connecticut. She married Bernell Bates and with him had two daughters: Patty and Karen. As of 2009, Miriam Grigsby lived in Charlotte, N.C.

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The Grigsby family papers consist of correspondence and invitations, funeral and school materials, newspaper clippings and other printed biographical material, photographs, and other materials documenting the Grigsby family, especially publicist, civil rights activist, and editor Snow F. Grigsby, artist and art educator J. Eugene Grigsby (Gene), school principal J. E. Grigsby and school teacher Purry Leone Dixon Grigsby, and the family of teacher Miriam Grigsby Bates. Educational achievement is the central theme of the collection, in evidence in transcripts, diplomas, and photographs of family members receiving degrees. Other education-related materials include a letter from one Grigsby generation to the next providing personal insights on Langston Hughes for a research paper; a 1938 photograph of Purry Leone Dixon Grigsby teaching in a Biddleville (Charlotte, N.C.) elementary school classroom; and a small amount of material relating to the School Workers Federal Credit Union, which was founded in 1941 in Charlotte, N.C., by J. E. Grigsby, for African American teachers and employees of the public school system. Also of note are a 1942 "living letter" recorded at a USO Club; a 1980 letter that included a then-confidential list of the Detroit chapter of Tuskegee Airmen; a copy of a 1980 letter from Snow F. Grigsby to fellow Republican Strom Thurmond on racism, politics, and the economy; a CORE sit-in songs (Congress of Racial Equality) booklet; and the 1942 program for the women's West End Book Club of Charlotte, N.C.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Grigsby family papers, circa 1918-2002.

About 100 items.

Folder 1

Address book, circa 1960s #05141, Series: "Grigsby family papers, circa 1918-2002." Folder 1

Audiodisc D-5141/1-2

D-5141/1

D-5141/2

Correspondence, 1942 #05141, Series: "Grigsby family papers, circa 1918-2002." D-5141/1-2

"Living letter" from Sergeant J. Eugene Grigsby (Gene) to his mother. Recorded at the USO Club at Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla.

Folder 2

Correspondence, 1945-1983 #05141, Series: "Grigsby family papers, circa 1918-2002." Folder 2

Chiefly belonging to Miriam Grigsby Bates, Bernell Bates, and their daughters Patty Bates and Karen Bates. Included are a 1945 Christmas card from J. Eugene Grigsby (Gene) to his sister Miriam from the European war front; letters from Patty and Karen to grandparents; a letter to Patty from her uncle Gene in regard to her research for a school paper on Langston Hughes, who had been his friend; and a letter to Patty from her uncle Snow, providing a then-confidential list of the Detroit chapter of Tuskegee Airmen for her documentary film project.

Folder 3

Funeral programs, 1971-1998 #05141, Series: "Grigsby family papers, circa 1918-2002." Folder 3

Folder 4

Grigsby, Fred, 1957 #05141, Series: "Grigsby family papers, circa 1918-2002." Folder 4

Obituary, including picture of Grigsby casting his first ballot at age 75 after being denied the right to vote for many years, in the Postal Alliance (March 1957), edited by his son Snow F. Grigsby.

Folder 5-7

Folder 5

Folder 6

Folder 7

Grigsby, J. Eugene (Gene) #05141, Series: "Grigsby family papers, circa 1918-2002." Folder 5-7

Chiefly biographical materials in newspaper clippings and pamphlets and booklets from exhibits, awards, and tributes.

Folder 8

Grigsby, J. E., 1975 #05141, Series: "Grigsby family papers, circa 1918-2002." Folder 8

Obituary, funeral program, and certificate honoring memory of Grigsby's service in the Armed Forces during World War I.

Folder 9

Grigsby, Marshall Cephas, 1987 #05141, Series: "Grigsby family papers, circa 1918-2002." Folder 9

Materials relating to inauguration as the twelfth president of Benedict College in Columbia, S.C.

Folder 10

Grigsby, Miriam Leone, 1926 #05141, Series: "Grigsby family papers, circa 1918-2002." Folder 10

Baby book

Folder 11-12

Folder 11

Folder 12

Grigsby, Purry Leone Dixon, 1937-1952 and undated #05141, Series: "Grigsby family papers, circa 1918-2002." Folder 11-12

Transcripts from Columbia University, Johnson C. Smith University, and Winston-Salem Teachers College; diplomas; and a poem in memory of her death

Folder 13-14

Folder 13

Folder 14

Grigsby, Snow F., 1937-1980 and undated #05141, Series: "Grigsby family papers, circa 1918-2002." Folder 13-14

Booklet of testimonial tributes; campaign pamphlet for the Wayne County (Mich.) commissioner election; letter to fellow Republican Strom Thurmond on racism, politics, and the economy; writings, including White Hypocrisy and Black Lethargy (1937), Taps or Reveille - ? (1956), and Brainwashed--? and Ignored (1976); a transcription of a letter to the National Urban League relating to Seventy-Five Years of Negro Progress exhibit (1940) in Detroit, Mich.; and a printed list of individuals honored for the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

Folder 15-17

Folder 15

Folder 16

Folder 17

Grigsby family newsletter and reunion materials, 1992, 1995, 2001, 2002 #05141, Series: "Grigsby family papers, circa 1918-2002." Folder 15-17

Folder 18

Invitations, 1934-2002 #05141, Series: "Grigsby family papers, circa 1918-2002." Folder 18

Folder 19

Newspaper clippings, 1957-2001 #05141, Series: "Grigsby family papers, circa 1918-2002." Folder 19

Wedding, graduation and retirement announcements; profiles of Jefferson Eugene Grigsby III, Miriam Grigsby Bates, Donald Grigsby, and a Jack and Jill conference attended by Karen Bates and Miriam Grigsby Bates; a report on the COBA (Consortium of Black Organizations and Others for the Arts) gala; and an obituary for Bernell Bates.

Image Folder PF-5141/1

Photographs, circa 1918-1990s #05141, Series: "Grigsby family papers, circa 1918-2002." PF-5141/1

Portraits of individuals and family groups at cap and gown graduations, wedding anniversaries, and funerals, and a few candid photographs, including one, circa 1918, of three soldiers and two women captioned "Coming home from camp" and another, 1938, of Purry Leone Dixon Grigsby teaching in a Biddleville (Charlotte, N.C.) elementary school classroom. Also includes a homemade card for Alice Wellmon Dixon (mother of Purry Leone Dixon Grigsby). Nearly all photographs are identified.

Folder 20

School materials, 1937-1978 #05141, Series: "Grigsby family papers, circa 1918-2002." Folder 20

RETRICTED: Folder 20 contains two documents that have been photocopied and redacted to protect the privacy of a living individual. The original documents will remain closed until the individual has died.

High school and college graduation announcements and a school newsletter.

Folder 21

School Workers Federal Credit Union, 1957-1986 #05141, Series: "Grigsby family papers, circa 1918-2002." Folder 21

By-laws and charter, pamphlets for annual meetings, and newspaper clippings about founder J. E. Grigsby and the history of the institution.

Folder 22

Miscellaneous #05141, Series: "Grigsby family papers, circa 1918-2002." Folder 22

CORE sit-in songs (Congress of Racial Equality) booklet; We Are in One Boat, a booklet of reflections on freedom in West Berlin by residents of New Haven, Conn.; biographical material about Grigsby family members; the West End Book Club program for 1942; a poem entitled "Grandad"; campaign card for Rufus Vincent Grigsby who sought a seat on city council; a campaign button for a Grigsby running for the school board in 1984; and a card made by J. Eugene Grigsby (Gene) for Gertrude Dixon Jones ("Aunt Gert").

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Processing Information

Processed by: Nancy Kaiser, October 2009

Encoded by: Nancy Kaiser, October 2009

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