Currently, Odum Library is home to the African American History Materials Display. This collection was donated by Roy Copeland, associate professor of management at the Langdale School of Business at Valdosta State University, and his wife, Dr. Cheryl Copeland. The display is being administered by the VSU archives and Special Collections. The full collection contains over 150 pieces of historical memorabilia, but the displayed collection is limited to twelve pieces.
Each piece contains their own individual significance; however, they are all similar by having a relevance to the history of African Americans in the United States. The items age as far back as the American Civil War and as recent as 1995. The collection features African American figures such as Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr., Hank Aaron and many more.
My favorite piece from the displayed collection was piece number six, the official funeral pamphlet of Martin Luther King Jr. This piece was very personal for me because Atlanta is where I call home, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s impact is everywhere. The collection is located on the first floor in the North lobby of the library and will be on display until March 15. It is an excellent spot to visit in celebration of Black History Month next month.
Invoice of clothing, camp and garrison equipment with chevrons for sergeants and corporals dated Nov. 1865.
A document bearing the signature of Frederick Douglass dated Dec. 7, 1882.
A document signed by George Washington Carver, an American botanist and creator.
Top left: Autographed headshot of Flight Officer James E. Bowman.
Bottom right: Autographed headshot of Fighter Pilot Charles E. McGee.
Right: Photograph of the Tuskegee Airmen who formed the 332nd fighter group and 447th Bombardment group of the United States Army Air Force.
A signed letter from Martin Luther King Jr. to Reverend David B. Parke of the Unitarian Church in Peterborough, New Hampshire dated Oct. 9, 1959.
A memorial pamphlet from the official service of Martin Luther King Jr. in Atlanta, Georgia dated April 9, 1968.
Original print copy of the book, “Martin Luther King Jr. and His Family: Paper Dolls," by Tom Tierney published April 15, 1993.
A newspaper article announcing Jesse Owens, a four-time Olympic gold medalist, speaking at the Eighth Regiment Armory in Chicago, Illinois, the first armory in the United States built for an African American military unit.
An advertisement signed by Guion S. Buford Jr., the first African American in space.
A checked signed by Alex Haley, author of Roots, for ,000 dated Dec 19, 1988.
A signed letter from Hank Aaron, retired Major League Baseball player, to Mr. Doak Ewing of the Greenwood Braves Baseball Club.
Story and photos by Sarah Norris, staff writer.
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