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Collection Number: 04782

Collection Title: J. Kenneth Lee Papers, 1949-1994

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


expand/collapse Expand/collapse Collection Overview

Size About 120 items (1.5 linear feet).
Abstract J. Kenneth Lee, lawyer of Greensboro, N.C., who became one of the first two African Americans to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Lee received his Juris Doctoris degree in 1952 and was subsequently involved in over 1,700 civil rights lawsuits during his 38 years of legal practice. Papers relate primarily to J. Kenneth Lee's lawsuit to attend the University of North at Chapel Hill's School of Law, where, in June 1951, he and Harvey Beech became the first African Americans to enroll after a lengthy lawsuit and appeal against the University. Included are copies of court papers, photographs of Beech and Lee registering and attending class, and copies of newspaper clippings describing the court battle and the University's reaction. Also included are some materials pertaining to the Law School at the North Carolina College at Durham (formerly the North Carolina College for Negroes and currently North Carolina Central University).
Creator Lee, J. Kenneth (John Kenneth), 1923-
Language English.
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Information For Users

Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
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 J. Kenneth Lee Papers, #4782, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Provenance
Received from J. Kenneth Lee of Greensboro, N.C., in November 1995 (Acc. 95140).
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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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

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

J. Kenneth Lee was born in Charlotte, N.C., on 1 November 1923, the thirteenth of fourteen children. Lee was graduated from Capital Highway High School in Hamlet, N.C., in 1941 with highest honors. He was graduated from North Carolina A & T with a degree in Electrical Engineering in 1945. He also served as electrician's mate, second class, in the Navy during World War II.

Lee became one of the first two African Americans to attend the University of North at Chapel Hill when he and Harvey Beech were admitted in June 1951 after a lengthy lawsuit and appeal against the University. They also were the first African American graduates from UNC when they received their Juris Doctoris degrees (formerly LL.B.) in 1952.

Lee was involved in over 1,700 civil rights lawsuits during his 38 years of legal practice. He was also founder, president, and chairman of American Federal Savings & Loan, the second African American-owned thrift in the state. Lee has served on the Barber Scotia College Board of Trustees and as a member of the North Carolina Banking Commission, the Minority Business Enterprise Advisory Board, the Commission on Human Relations (Greensboro, N.C.), and the National Bar Association Hall of Fame, among other public service and honorary positions.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

Papers relating primarily to J. Kenneth Lee's lawsuit to attend the University of North at Chapel Hill's School of Law. Included in Series 1 are copies of court papers and copies of newspaper clippings describing the court battle and the University's reaction. Also included are some materials pertaining to the Law School at the North Carolina College at Durham (formerly the North Carolina College for Negroes and currently North Carolina Central University). Series 2 contains biographical information. Photographs of Beech and Lee registering and attending class are located in Series 3.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. UNC-CH Law School Legal Action, 1949-1994.

53 items.

These materials are divided into three groups: documentspertaining to the School of Law at the North Carolina College at Durham (formerly the North Carolina College for Negroes and currently North Carolina Central University); copies of the civil actions against the University of North Carolina requesting the right for African Americans to be admitted to the UNC-CH School of Law; and materials relating to the academic career of J. Kenneth Lee at UNC-CH.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.1. North Carolina College at Durham. School of Law, 1950-1966.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.2. Court Documents, 1949-1951.

About 30 items.

Primarily official photocopies of Civil Action No. 144, which was filed several times as the litigants changed and others were added to the case. The initial litigants were Harold Thomas Epps and Robert David Glass vs. William Donald Carmichael, Jr., President of the University of North Carolina, et al.

Folder 4

Complaint, filed 24 October 1949 (copy) #04782, Subseries: "1.2. Court Documents, 1949-1951. " Folder 4

Folder 5

Civil Action no. 144, filed in U.S. District Court, 27 October 1949 (copy) #04782, Subseries: "1.2. Court Documents, 1949-1951. " Folder 5

Folder 6

Civil Action no. 144, depositions of Henry Brandis, Jr., Lucille Elliott, and Albert Turner, 25 August 1950 (copy) #04782, Subseries: "1.2. Court Documents, 1949-1951. " Folder 6

Folder 7

Civil Action no. 144, decree, filed 9 October 1950 (copy) #04782, Subseries: "1.2. Court Documents, 1949-1951. " Folder 7

Folder 8-10

Folder 8

Folder 9

Folder 10

Civil Action no. 144, McKissick, Revis, Lassiter, and Lee vs. Carmichael, filed 27 November 1950 (copy) #04782, Subseries: "1.2. Court Documents, 1949-1951. " Folder 8-10

Folder 11

McKissick, et al. vs. Carmicheal, Appeal no. 6201, filed in U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth District, 27 November 1950 (copy) #04782, Subseries: "1.2. Court Documents, 1949-1951. " Folder 11

Folder 12

McKissick, et al. vs. Carmicheal, Judgment, 26 September 1951 #04782, Subseries: "1.2. Court Documents, 1949-1951. " Folder 12

Folder 13-14

Folder 13

Folder 14

Documents pertaining to Civil Action no. 144 #04782, Subseries: "1.2. Court Documents, 1949-1951. " Folder 13-14

Folder 15

Copies of Judge Hayes' notes from Civil Action no.144 #04782, Subseries: "1.2. Court Documents, 1949-1951. " Folder 15

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.3. UNC-CH Law School, 1950-1994.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Biographical Information and Related Papers, 1950-1994.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Pictures, 1951-1974 and undated.

25 items.

P-4782-1: Photograph of Beech and Lee, first day of classes at UNC, 11 June 1951. #04782, Series: "3. Pictures, 1951-1974 and undated. " Folder 22

P-4782/2: Beech and Lee in Chancellor House's office. #04782, Series: "3. Pictures, 1951-1974 and undated. " Folder 22

P-4782/3: Beech and Lee complete registration, 11 June 1951. #04782, Series: "3. Pictures, 1951-1974 and undated. " Folder 22

P-4782/4: Lee, Beech, and other litigants. #04782, Series: "3. Pictures, 1951-1974 and undated. " Folder 22

P-4782/5: Lee being admitted to the North Carolina Bar. #04782, Series: "3. Pictures, 1951-1974 and undated. " Folder 22

P-4782/6: Lee as a young child. #04782, Series: "3. Pictures, 1951-1974 and undated. " Folder 22

P-4782/7: Lee in group photo. #04782, Series: "3. Pictures, 1951-1974 and undated. " Folder 22

P-4782/8: Lee with Horace Kornegay and others on the steps of the Supreme Court, May 1967. #04782, Series: "3. Pictures, 1951-1974 and undated. " Folder 22

P-4782/9: Lee making presentation to Theodore R. Bryant, North Carolina Central University Law School alumnus. #04782, Series: "3. Pictures, 1951-1974 and undated. " Folder 22

P-4782/10: North Carolina Minority Business Development Agency Board of Directors, 1973-74. #04782, Series: "3. Pictures, 1951-1974 and undated. " Folder 22

P-4782/11: American Federal Savings & Loan. #04782, Series: "3. Pictures, 1951-1974 and undated. " Folder 22

P-4782/12: Model for Beech park in Kinston, N.C. (Old Well at UNC-CH). #04782, Series: "3. Pictures, 1951-1974 and undated. " Folder 22

P-4782/13: Transparencies from presentation on Lee's admission to the UNC Law School. #04782, Series: "3. Pictures, 1951-1974 and undated. " Folder 22

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