Warren Q. Marr, II Papers: Amistad Research Center files, 1968-1990

By Amber L. Moore, Project Archivist, Amistad Research Center

“Working for Freedom: Documenting Civil Rights Organizations” is a collaborative project between Emory University’s Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library, The Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, The Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, and The Robert W. Woodruff Library of Atlanta University Center to uncover and make available previously hidden collections documenting the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta and New Orleans. The project is administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources with funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Each organization regularly contributes blog posts about their progress.

For more information about the collection described in this post, please contact the Amistad Research Center, reference [at] amistadresearchcenter [dot] org

The Amistad Research Center files of the Warren Q. Marr, II papers document Marr’s ongoing involvement with the Center. Marr, in conjunction with the Center’s first director, Clifton Johnson launched the Amistad Research Foundation Fund campaign (1968) to obtain a new building and endowment.  Correspondence, publicity information and minutes regarding the Amistad Research Foundation Development Fund are contained in this collection.  Of particular note is a 1970 memo written by Marr titled, “Amistad Research Center Publicity and Promotion Campaign,” which details a plan of action for promotion.

Here is an excerpt from the memo:

To prevent the comparative massiveness and singularity of Amistad Research Center from diminution and perhaps even eclipse, it is necessary to take immediate and broad action to promote and publicize the Center. 

… Produce a 15-minute history program per week, tape a series of these for free distribution and airing on the 100 Negro oriented radio stations in the country.  Each tape would carry Amistad promotional blub.

… Build a travelling show of Negro art.  With a total budget, including administrative costs, submit a proposal to the National Foundation of the Arts for acquisition and circulation of a good Negro art collection.

… Do news releases on recent acquisitions.  As each new collection is added, prepare and circulate release.

The Friends of Amistad files are also represented in this collection.  The Friends of Amistad was a national, non-profit membership corporation created to promote a national interest in the Center.  Marr was the Executive Director (1971-1988).  The main goals of the organization was to assist in the acquisition of materials related to ethnic minorities, raise funds for the Center, and create scholarships for research and study at the Center. These files include correspondence, memoranda, membership lists, newsletters, programs and reports of the Executive Director.

The Marr-McGee Family Papers are currently being processed as part of the Amistad Research Center’s Hidden Collections project funded by the Council of Library and Information Resources. The papers largely document the lives and careers of Warren Marr, II, his wife Carmel, and his sister Grace Marr Nugent.

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