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Fascinating 1980s Notes by Eldridge Cleaver, Former Black Panther Radical Become Conservative Republican

ELDRIDGE CLEAVER, Archive of notes for speeches and other notes, ca. 1980-1987. 29 pp., various sizes, most on cardstock, 5 x 7 in. to 6⅝ x 9¾ in.

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Some American poet has said, Send me men to match my mountains. How embarrassing to reflect on that today. Are even the volcanoes in our blood extinct?

These notes illustrate the life and views of Eldridge Cleaver in the 1980s, far removed from the Black Panther revolutionary of the 1960s. He espouses a conservative political ethic based on the positive vision of the Founding Fathers and a virulent opposition to communism, a trait he shared with evangelicals, Mormons, and Moon’s Unification Church. While he had been a strong opponent of Governor Ronald Reagan in the 1960s, Cleaver here praises President Reagan as the “No. 1 Freedom Fighter” in the 1980s. Looking back to the Monroe Doctrine, he strongly calls for free trade and open borders, eventually leading to unification of all the Americas.

A collection of his handwritten notes and drafts of speeches, lectures, and letters to the editor, together with a few more routine pages listing contacts and notes from newspaper reading.

Item #25332, $3,750

Louis Armstrong describes his historic tour behind the Iron Curtain, and talks about lip salve and love

LOUIS ARMSTRONG, Autograph Letter Signed, to Erich Kauffmann, April 17, 1965, Corona, Queens, New York. On “Satchmo” stationery. 6 pp.

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“When two people loved each other like you & Hilde did you must feel contented… Stay happy. I preach those same words to Lucille Lots of times during our life together. I have so much happiness from the life she and I have already live together until I don’t want No Misery from which ever one should leave this EarthLAST’”

During the 1950s, the State Department sent jazz musicians on international goodwill tours. As a uniquely American form of music, jazz could display the best of American culture with artists like Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington, and Louis Armstrong. This letter, written to a German friend between his visits behind the Iron Curtain to East Berlin, East Germany, and Budapest, Hungary, reflects his busy schedule at the height of his popularity in 1965.

Item #25336, $2,500

Press Photos of Dr. King and the Selma Marchers (SOLD)

[MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.], Photographs. Ten black and white press photographs, nine photos from Selma Alabama (six of which show Dr. King), one from Birmingham. All have captions on the front. 8 x 10 in.

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Item #22497, SOLD — please inquire about other items

The Civil Rights Act of 1963

[CIVIL RIGHTS], Printed Document, 1963. 11 pp. 5 ⅞ x 9 ⅛ in.

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Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives…

Item #20820, $275

Jackie Robinson Reflects on the Importance of
“the Negro Vote” in Nixon’s Loss to Kennedy (SOLD)

JACKIE ROBINSON, Typed Letter Signed, “Jackie”, to Theodore L. Humes. [n.p.], November 15, 1960. 1 p., on personal letterhead.

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The negro vote was not at all committed to Kennedy, but it went there because Mr. Nixon did not do anything to win it.  I understand his view but felt he was making a mistake …

The famous retired baseball star – at that time an NAACP fundraiser and vice president of Chock Full O’ Nuts coffee – campaigned hard for Richard Nixon in 1960. Here, in the aftermath of defeat, he offers suggestions as to how the party of Lincoln might attract more future African-American voters in his (and Nixon’s) native California.

Item #20588, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Martin Luther King Forwards an Encouraging Letter to Rosa Parks (SOLD)

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR, Autograph Note written on retained copy of a Typed Letter by Maude L. Ballou. March 6, 1957, [Montgomery, Ala.], 1 p., 8 ½ x 11 in.

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“Get this letter to Mrs Parks”

Item #23299, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Eleanor Roosevelt Stands
for Civil Rights – Her Four Freedoms (SOLD)

ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, Typed Letter Signed as First Lady, to Addie Frizielle. Washington, D.C., May 13, 1944. 1 p., 6 1/8 x 9¼ in. On White House stationery, with original envelope.

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The First Lady defends her advocacy of civil rights: “I doubt if it does any people anywhere any harm to tell them that you believe they are entitled to certain rights and you are willing to see them obtain those rights” and counters the writer’s fear of using mixed-race bathrooms at work: “if you have to use the same toilets and wash basins...[and] are nervous, there are certain precautions which you can always take.”

Item #22780, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Eleanor Roosevelt on the Meaning of Civil Rights

ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, Typed Letter Signed, to “Harry,” Washington, D.C., February 19, 1944. 2 pp., 6¼ x 9¼ in. On White House stationery.

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“Something has to happen to people’s souls before they are going to give the rights of citizenship to all the people of our country, regardless of color or creed. That does not mean you have to ask them to dinner. It only means giving them the rights that go with citizenship.”

Item #23592, $15,000

William Monroe Trotter - the first African American to earn a Phi Beta Kappa key at Harvard - pushes a petition calling for mercy for still imprisoned soldiers of the 24th US Colored Infantry

WILLIAM MONROE TROTTER, Typed Letter Signed, to Albert P. Wadleigh, Boston, February 1, 1924. With a blank printed petition to President Calvin Coolidge, and an envelope to return the petition to the National Equal Rights League in Boston. 2 pp.

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To free by pardon or on parole the Colored soldiers of the gallant 24th in Fort Leavenworth federal prison already so long for retaliation, poorly proven or not proven at all, against goading insult and provocation and insult to women of their race. We do now ask whether you will grant this special plea for clemency.

The Secretary of the National Equal Rights League writes to a Massachusetts state senator asking for his support for clemency for black soldiers imprisoned at Fort Leavenworth. The drive on behalf of soldiers convicted of participation in the 1917 Houston riot, resulted in 124,000 signatures, and reduction in the sentences of the 54 soldiers still in prison. (19 of the soldiers had already been executed).

Item #24171, $1,750

Woman’s Rights Leader Anna Howard Shaw
Writes About Frederick Douglass and his white wife Helen Pitts

[ANTI-SUFFRAGE; RACISM], Pamphlet. “Dr. Anna Howard Shaw and Frederick Douglass.” Ca. 1915, following publication of Anna Howard Shaw’s book, The Story of a Pioneer, using her words from the 1903 Suffrage Convention in New Orleans to argue against giving women the right to vote, while attacking the 15th Amendment. 3 pp. 9 x 12 in.

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Item #22491, $475

Swedish immigrant uses racist “Pickaninny” imagery on a hand-painted envelope

[AFRICAN AMERICAN]. GUSTAF NORDSTROM, Handmade Postal Cover, to Frederick Nordstrom, February [25], 1902, Brooklyn, New York. 1 p., 11½ x 5 in.

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Swedish sign painter in New York uses racial stereotypes on envelope to tell his brother in Florida that he misses him.

Item #25043, $650

Blanche Bruce, The First Full-term African American U.S. Senator Signs a Deed

BLANCHE BRUCE, Document Signed. Land deed. Washington, D.C. October 2, 1890. Signature panel 8¼ x 3½ in., overall dimensions 8¼ x 14 in.

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Blanche Bruce was the first full-term African American to serve in the U.S. Senate, 1875-1881. He was then appointed by President James Garfield as Register of the U.S. Treasury in 1881. He later served as the Washington, D.C. Recorder of Deeds (a position earlier held by Frederick Douglass), 1890-1893 and again as Register of the Treasury from 1897 until his death in 1898.

Item #22945.23, $125

Frederick Douglass Stands His Ground,
Discouraging the “Exodus” Movement (SOLD)

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, Autograph Letter Signed to Charles Douglass. Washington, May 26, 1879. 1 p.

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“I have no fear of any permanent damage from the several attacks made upon me … on account of my views of the impolicy of Exodus as a scheme …”

Douglass assures his son that he has weighed and responded to the public attacks made on him, based on his opposition to the idea that African-Americans should organize a mass exodus from the South.

Item #21699, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Discontent with Gilded Age Presidential Politics
and the Influence of “the negro vote”

WILLIAM BEACH LAWRENCE, Autograph Letter Signed, to Henry Anthony. Newport [R.I.], November 25, 1872. 4 pp.

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A detailed, despairing letter on campaign politics after the reelection of Ulysses S. Grant. Lawrence observes the humiliating defeat of Democrats and “Liberal Republicans” – who united behind Horace Greeley because of corruption in the Grant administration – in the Election of 1872. Lawrence laments the elevation of personality over merit and virtue in elections, an observation which resonates today. He also expresses concern about how newly enfranchised African Americans tended to vote.  “The negroes are naturally disposed to support those who are in power & whom they invest with superior dignity, on account of the possession of power. …the extraordinary denouement of the Cincinnati Convention has placed in bold relief the mode most unsatisfactory to an intelligent people, by which party conventions are constituted & which are readily made, the instruments of the vilest partisan combinations, carried on by men without character & without principle.

Item #20020, $950

Fisk University Co-Founder John Ogden Asks Merriam Publishers if the Gift of a Pictorial Dictionary Was Meant for Him or the University

JOHN OGDEN, Autograph Letter Signed, to George and Charles Merriam. Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 18, 1869. 1 p., 8½ x 5¼ in. On Fisk University letterhead.

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In this brief note, Ogden thanks the famous Springfield, Massachusetts dictionary publishers the Merriams for a gift of a copy of their Pictorial Dictionary. Ogden references one “Mr. Gamble” as having stated that the volume was intended as a personal gift, but notes that the dictionary has “the name of our institution inscribed upon, or rather in it, from which I infer you intended it for the institution.” He then asks the Merriams to “decide the quarrel.”

Item #24172.01-.02, $550

New Hampshire Ridicules South Carolina’s Attempts
to Game the System After Rejecting the 14th Amendment

[AFRICAN AMERICAN], Broadside. “Part of a Speech of the N. H. “Champion of Democracy” on the Negro Question,” no place, [New Hampshire], c. 1867. 1 p., 9½ x 13½ in.

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Item #22840, $1,000

South Carolina’s Governor on the War’s Outcome:
“the Union has been preserved... and now give justice and equality to all its members.” (SOLD)

JAMES L. ORR, Autograph Quotation Signed as Governor. Columbia, S.C., September 14, 1866. 1 p., 7¾ x 6½ in. On State of South Carolina letterhead with embossed Great Seal of the affixed at upper left.

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Gov. James L. Orr, a former Speaker of the United Sates House, who then raised a Confederate regiment and served in the CSA’s Senate, notes the war’s two key outcomes: establishment of the “indissolubility” of the Union, which now must “give justice and equality to all its members.”

Item #22736, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Democratic Broadside Shows
the Limitations of Reconstruction

[RECONSTRUCTION; RACISM], Broadside. “Democratic National Union - No Negro Suffrage” [Ohio, 1866], 3” x 11”, 1 p.

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Typical of the populist racism characterizing Democratic Party politics immediately after the Civil War, this party ticket contains the names of local candidates for office, including Brevet Brigadier General Benjamin Lefevre. A native Ohioan, Lefevre served throughout the war, entering politics when peace was declared, but only after breaking an engagement with a Southern belle. He served as a congressman from Ohio throughout reconstruction.

Item #20537, $360

“Black bellied Yankees” at The Battle of Fort Blakely

FREDERICK MORTIMER CRANDAL, Autograph Letter Signed, to Julian E. Bryant. “Up the Alabama,” April 25, 1865. 4 pp.

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A Union colonel, in command of the 48th Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops, writes to his friend, Col. Julian E. Bryant, of the 46th Regiment of U.S.C.T., recounting his regiment’s  part in the Battle of Fort Blakely. “We have had hard marching & hard fighting. A week in trenches & a successful charge. The ‘Black bellied Yankee’ made their mark … everyone gives us credit for doing well & I think we did excellently well.My loss was not very heavy, not over thirty all told. The other Regts in my Brigade suffered much more severely on the last charge, I being held in reserve & not being under fire but a few moments, they did gallantly…

Item #21813, $3,000

Congressional Copy of The 13th Amendment
Signed by Abraham Lincoln (SOLD)

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Document Signed (“Abraham Lincoln”) as President, [Washington, D.C., ca. February 1, 1865]. Co-signed by Hannibal Hamlin as Vice President of the United States and President of the Senate, Schuyler Colfax as Speaker of the House, 37 of the 38 senators and 114 of the 119 Congressmen who voted for it. One of six or seven known “Congressional” copies of the Thirteenth Amendment signed by Lincoln and members of the Senate and House who voted in favor of the resolution [and one of thirteen or fourteen known copies signed by Lincoln]. 1 page, 20 5/8 x 15 3/8”, engrossed on lined vellum.

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“Neither Slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States…”

Item #21902, SOLD — please inquire about other items
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