Scope and arrangement
Divided into 18 series and spanning the years 1935 to 1990, the collection documents Drake's career as an educator and social anthropologist in the United States, Liberia, Great Britain and Ghana, and consists for the most part of correspondence, writings, office files and research materials. Drake's Research Notes and his office files from Roosevelt and Stanford Universities have been grouped together but are otherwise unprocessed. Twenty-six additional record cartons of miscellaneous material and printed matter remain unprocessed and unavailable for research. A small group of student records and tenure files have also been restricted.
The St. Clair Drake papers are arranged in twenty series:
The letters are related to Drake's tenure in the academy, his scholarly research and writings and on a few occasions his political views.
In general the topics addressed in the correspondence share the same themes as Drake's writings. Note-worthy items in this series are: outgoing letters; the pre-conference package for the Sixth Annual Pan-African Conference; letters between Drake and Frank Untermeyer, his friend and colleague at Roosevelt University during his tenure there and after; correspondence with Lawrence Reddick, Claude Barnett, Julian Mayfield, Adelaide Cromwell, Horace Mann Bond, Horace Cayton and Robert Roberts; operational correspondence of the universities, organizations and groups that Drake worked with; and correspondence from Africa.
Included are files on black banker Jesse Binga indicted for embezzlement in 1931, Stokely Carmichael, black-Jewish relations, the 1968 race riots, geneticist William Shockley, and miscellaneous racist propaganda. A separate section for Black Studies includes correspondence with directors and faculty of Black Studies programs across the United States.
Mostly research proposals submitted by others, in partnership with Drake, including a proposal for a Drake Research Institute at Stanford University. There is also material for a 1976 multicultural project to evaluate high school textbooks and other educational materials in the public schools of Palo Alto, California, for which Drake served as a consultant.
Although from a different provenance, copies of Drake's correspondence with Frank Untermeyer, his colleague and friend at Roosevelt University, have been included here. Ranging from 1958 to 1965 during Drake's frequent trips to Africa, and from 1968 after his departure from Roosevelt University, the correspondence is often personal, discusses events at Roosevelt University and on the African continent, and includes letters to and from third parties on matters of common interest. Also included are biographical material, and several articles and essays written by and about Drake.
This series includes a prospectus and some guidelines from Allison Davis, but consists for the most part of interviews and records of participants-observers in a survey of churches and voluntary associations in New Orleans, gathered by students and research assistants at Dillard University under the direction of Davis and Drake. Also included are interviews and other materials on churches and voluntary associations in Natchez, Mississippi. These materials were part of the data used by Davis for his study of urban life in the Black Belt.
The Chicago series consists of interview material, participant-observer records and printed matter on race relations and community life in Chicago. These materials were collected for the most part for a study of race relations in Chicago in the 1940s and for the 1961 revision of Black Metropolis. Of particular interest are the files on social clubs and churches, segregation in housing, community organizing, and violence against blacks. Drake was a member of the Southwest Hyde Park Association throughout the 1950s and was active in the fight against the University of Chicago's urban renewal program which, critics said, was aimed at tearing down houses occupied by blacks. There is a wealth of data here for any study of black communities and race relations in Chicago in the 1940s and 1950s. This material is unprocessed.
Drake's initial 1945 proposal to the Rosenwald Fund, an interim report and summary of activities and a later proposal for additional research are to be found here. Also filed here is Drake's correspondence with T. Ras Makonnen, and a group of letters around a controversial article, "Tiger Bay", published in the London magazine Leader (1949). Included are letters from John Actie, a St. Lucia-born seaman and member of the League of Coloured Peoples. Diaries, field notes, interviews and early drafts of chapters for Drake's Ph. D. thesis form an important part of this group of material. Drake paid special attention to the mixed ethnic settlements of Tiger Bay (Bute Town) in Cardiff, Wales, to the so-called "Brown Babies problem", and to black associational activities in Cardiff, London, Manchester and Liverpool. A photocopy of his dissertation is also included. Other important components of this series are original documents culled from the files of the League of Coloured Peoples and the Pan-African Federation. Much of the League's files consists of correspondence with its first president, Harold Moody, including letters to and from Hugh Springer, Colina Kessie, A. Creech Jones, Arthur Lewis, Wallace Johnson and George Padmore. Moody, founder of the League in 1931, was a practicing physician and influential churchman, and was reputedly the most prominent figure in race relations activities in Britain in the 1930s. He was succeeded as president of the League by Learie Constantine, the famed Trinidadian cricket player. The League was still in existence in 1952. The files of the Pan-African Federation include a "Proposed Constitution", letters to and from Makonnen and miscellaneous documents. There is also a small body of printed matter and periodical articles about blacks in Britain.
Much of Drake's scholarship and involvement in Africa centered on Ghana under the leadership of Kwame Nkrumah. Drake first went to Ghana, then the Gold Coast, in 1954 on a Ford Foundation grant. He returned in 1958 to lecture in the Sociology Department at the University College of Ghana in Achimota, and was subsequently appointed acting head of that department.
Drake's Kenya files consist mostly of correspondence and other material related to Peter Mbiyu Koinange, a Kikuyu educator and fellow Hampton Institute alumnus who, in 1948, was denied reentry in the U. S. presumably because his presence would be "prejudicial to the public interest", and to R. Mugo Gatheru, author of Child of Two Worlds, a graduate of Lincoln and New York Universities who came to this country in 1950 with Drake's help. Also included are clipping files on Kenyan politics in the 1950s, and Drake's notes and miscellaneous material on Kenya's independence. Drake was a guest of the new government during the 1963 celebrations of Kenya's independence.
Proposals and other documents related to the University of Liberia, where he was a visiting professor, including student papers and curriculum material for an introductory course in social anthropology. Also copies of letters from Drake to his family discussing his activities and events in Liberia, in addition to field notes and printed matter.
Other Africa-related material in the collection include three radioscripts written by Drake in the 1970s for the Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation; research notes and miscellaneous writings on South Africa; correspondence and a report written by Drake on the Somali Crisis of 1948; and miscellaneous printed matter on Mali and the Congo in 1961. Drake's Peace Corps materials related to Sierra Leone are also located here.
A large volume of manuscripts and research notes by Elizabeth and St. Clair Drake, and data on mass communications in English-speaking West Africa, the French and Portuguese territories, Ethiopia, Madagascar and the Sudan form this series. Media surveyed include newspapers, radio stations and motion picture theaters. Also included are correspondence and administrative files from the University College of Ghana, 1958-59, where Drake had a survey staff to assist with the project. The study was initially sponsored by the Twentieth Century Fund. The files are broadly arranged into Correspondence, Writings, Interviews, University of Ghana Materials, Printed Matter, and one box of unsorted documents.