Calvert McCann photographs

Descriptive Summary

Title
Calvert McCann photographs
Creator
McCann, Calvert C.
Extent
3.7 Cubic Feet
Subjects
Civil rights demonstrations -- Kentucky
Civil rights -- Kentucky -- Lexington.
Arrangement
Collection preserves numbering by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center.
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Megan Mummey
Preferred Citation
2015av010: [identification of item], Calvert McCann photographs, 1961-1964, University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.
Repository
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Calvert McCann (1942-2014) was a teenager when he began participating in marches and demonstrations as part of the civil rights movement in Lexington in the 1960s. While a part time employee at Michael’s Photography Store in downtown Lexington, McCann began to document these experiences on a Pentax 35mm camera that he carried everywhere. He photographed demonstrations in downtown Lexington, sit-ins at lunch counters, protests at the Phoenix Hotel, and the March on Frankfort led by Martin Luther King, Jr. Much of the footage he took remained undeveloped until the early 2000s when McCann gave the film to Gerald Smith. Smith used the images in his book Black America Series: Lexington, Kentucky.
Additionally, McCann worked for the Peace Corp in Nigeria during the 1960s. He attended many schools including the Tuskegee Institute, University of Kentucky, Kentucky State University, University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Wisconsin. He worked as a social worker for the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. McCann died in Lexington, Kentucky, in 2014.
Source:
Ward, Karla. Calvert McCann, whose photos chronicled Lexington's civil rights movement, dies at 72. Lexington Herald-Leader. November 24, 2014. Accessed January 6, 2016. http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/obituaries/article44525868.html
Scope and Content
The Calvert McCann photographs (dated 1961-1964; 3.7 cubic feet; 7 boxes) consist of 20 black and white photographic prints depicting the Civil Rights Movement in Lexington and Frankfort, Kentucky. The photographs show sit-ins at lunch counters, demonstrations in downtown lexington, Louis Armstrong refusing to cross a picket line at the Phoenix Hotel, and the March on Frankfort led by Martin Luther King, Jr, Ralphy Abernathy, Wyatt Tee Walker, and Jackie Robinson. In 2004, Calvert McCann gave University of Kentucky faculty member Dr. Gerald L. Smith his undeveloped negatives from the 1960s. Smith used these images in his book Black America Series: Lexington, Kentucky. These particular prints originally hung in UK's Martin Luther King Center housed in the Student Center. The photographs provide a glimpse into the Civil Rights Movement which was seldom covered by local newspapers and media.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Access Collection is open to researchers by appointment.
Use Restrictions
The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.

Contents of the Collection

Demonstration at the Phoenix Hotel, 1961 December

  • Box 1, item 1
Many of the demonstrators were students from Dunbar High School on Upper Street.
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Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) picket line at the Phoenix Hotel, 1961 December

  • Box 1, item 2
The Phoenix Hotel was targed by the CORE for its racist policis. Demonstrators tried to enter the hotel but were ousted from the premises. Among the demonstrators in front of the WVLK van are Reverend Jones and his wife. Rev. Jones' church, Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church, hosted most of CORE's rallies.
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Louis Armstrong in his tour bus at the Phoenix Hotel, 1961 December

  • Box 1, item 3
Pictured in the doorway of his tour bus, Louis Armstron came to Lexington to perform at the Phoenix Hotel in December 1961. After arriving in Lexington, he discovered that the hotel barred blacks from entering. The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) was demonstrating in front of the hotel. Armstrong did not want to cross the picket line but was afraid that he would be sued if he did not perform.
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Martin Luther King, Jr. leading the March on Frankfort, 1964 March 5

  • Box 2, item 4
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March on Frankfort led by (from left) Martin Luther King, Jr.; Ralph Abernathy; Wyatt Tee Walker; and Jackie Robinson

  • Box 2, item 5
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Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) sit-in in front of the old Lexington City Hall on Walnut Street, pictured are students from the Lexington Theological Seminary and leaders of the Lexington chapter of CORE, Julia Lewis and Ronald Berry, circa 1960s

  • Box 2, item 6
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Dunbar High School student, Deloris McDowel, at a lunch counter sit-in at the Lexington F.W. Woolworth's lunch counter, circa 1960s

  • Box 3, item 7
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University of Kentucky student, Nieta Dunn, sitting in the all-white section at a dime store lunch counter, circa 1960s

  • Box 3, item 8
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Sit-in at a downtown Lexington lunch counter, (from left) Reverend W. H. Howard, Reverend J. S. Beverly, and Reverend A. B. Lee, circa 1960s

  • Box 3, item 9
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Women at a lunch counter sit-in, circa 1960s

  • Box 4, item 10
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Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking on the steps of the Kentucky State Capitol at the March on Frankfort, 1964 March 5

  • Box 4, item 11
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Demonstration in downtown Lexington with protester holding a sing Marching for Freedom, circa 1960s

  • Box 4, item 12
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Crowd at the March on Frankfort, 1964 March 5

  • Box 5, item 13
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Children and adults marching down Lexington's Main Street in front of the stores Hymson's and Martin's, circa 1960s

  • Box 5, item 14
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Henry Jones and his younger brother leading a demonstration on Lexington's Main Street, circa 1960s

  • Box 5, item 15
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Demonstrator's marching past Main Street, Lexington stores, circa 1960s

  • Box 6, item 16
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Demonstrator's holding signs reading Bury Jim Crow and Make America for all Americans, circa 1960s

  • Box 6, item 17
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Prayer vigil for justice in front of the Fayette County Courthouse on Main Street, Lexington, Kentucky, circa 1960s

  • Box 6, item 18
Prayer vigils for justice were held in front of the Fayette County Courthouse on Main Street. They were usually held when Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) members were being tried for disorderly conduct for marching.
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Demonstrators marching along Lexington's Main Street, circa 1960s

  • Box 7, item 19
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Dog with protest sign reading Birmingham Now Lexington Next?, circa 1963

  • Box 7, item 20
Violence in Birmingham, Alabama, in the summer of 1963 inspired the sign in this photograph.
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Researchers are encouraged to request collections at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Questions? Contact us at https://libraries.uky.edu/ContactSCRC.