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AN EXTRAORDINARY CHRONICLE (CIVIL RIGHTS--NAACP.) Minutes of the Charleston, West Virginia branch of the NAACP, 1922-1935. appoximately 200 pages, typed; bound in an old-fashioned 1/4 leather ring binder; the covers of which are quite worn; but for a few pages, internally cleanmust be seen. Charleston, West VA, 1922-1935
with exceptional content, including an account that parallels the plot of "to kill a mockingbird."The Charleston branch was founded in July of 1918. This record begins only four years later beginning with the minutes of the monthly meeting for February of 1922. The secretary acknowledges receipt of a letter from Thomas West of Williamson, WV a white attorney who tells of the case of Harry Lattimar, accused of the rape of an eight year-old white girl. Rushed through arrest, indictment and trial, Lattimar was immediately sentenced to death by hanging. And had it not been for West, who happened to be present, Lattimar, would have most certainly been lynched long before he was hung. There are letters to and from Walter White who agrees to support the branch, but adds that the National office had spent most of its funds trying to pass the Dyer Anti-lynching Bill. Thomas West, a real -life Atticus Finch, managed to get the case before the Supreme Court of West Virginia, where the Court recognized that Lattimar's rights had been infringed on. The case was kicked back to the lower court and though West did save Lattimar from hanging, he was sentenced to ten years in prison. The ledger is rich with information about the general state of civil rights locally and nationally during an important decade of struggle. African Americans have lived in West Virginia from the very beginning of the settlement period, but there are only a few larger communities dating to before the coal boom, one of them, the Charleston area. The NAACP was also a social center for the black community and these detailed monthly records provide a record of numerous events, such as visits from James Weldon Johnson, and William Pickens as well as musical and dramatic evenings. Loosely inserted are a couple of programs, one of which is for a play by Alice Dunbar Nelson.