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John Mitchell Brooks collection of NAACP files

Identifier: M 296

Scope and Contents Information

The John Mitchell Brooks collection of NAACP files, 1957-1960, is a collection of administrative paperwork and correspondence used by John Mitchell Brooks during his initial years as director of the national voter registration and education program of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The materials primarily consist of files regarding the state branches of the NAACP across the United States. These branch files contain correspondence and statistical reports from the officials in charge of each state's voter registration initiative. The files show methods that the different branches incorporated to maximize the effectiveness of their individual voting initiatives. Additionally, some branch files include examples of promotional material created by each branch to ignite public interest. The materials were sent to Brooks for approval and feedback.

The collection also includes correspondence between Brooks and various individuals and groups involved with the NAACP's voter registration program. Individuals with whom he corresponded include the famous civil rights activist Henry Lee Moon, who was operating as the public relations director of the NAACP. Additionally, the collection contains correspondence with Ruby Hurley, often referred to as the "queen of civil rights," who was operating the Atlanta, Georgia NAACP regional office at the time. The collection also consists of administrative correspondence with various branch presidents and members regarding the production of NAACP literature.


  • Creation: 1957-1960, 1978


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Biographical / Historical Information

John Mitchell Brooks was a civil rights activist and director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) voter registration and education program. Born in Braddock, Pennsylvania in 1917, Brooks moved to Richmond in 1931. As a teenager, he became one of the first black Eagle Scouts in Virginia. He attended Virginia Union University and West Virginia State College. Brooks served for three years as a lieutenant in the US Army and received the Bronze Star Medal for combat medical work in World War II. After the war, he became a partner at Millie's Grill and manager at Troy's Department Store in Richmond.

Brooks began his work with the NAACP in 1957 where he was hired as an assistant to W. Lester Banks, Executive Secretary of the NAACP. In 1958, Brooks became the director of the NAACP national voter registration and education program, coordinating the voter registration programs of state branches. The initiative under Brooks created pamphlets and publications to educate voters and promote registration drives. Brooks served as political action director for the NAACP Virginia State Conference. He also assisted in the formation of the Crusade for Voters in Richmond with William S. Thornton and William Ferguson Reid. He remained the director of the voter registration program until 1975. After his retirement, Brooks remained active in state and local politics as a lobbyist for civil rights issues until his death in 1980.


.84 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged in alphabetical order by subject.

The collection was maintained in its original order though a few files of similar materials were combined and miscellaneous materials were given more descriptive labels. Some newspaper clippings were disposed of but the citations to those articles are listed under the entry for Newspaper Clippings and are held by the library on microfilm.

Custodial History

The materials were kept by Brooks during his activities as the NAACP director of voter registration and education in the south. The collection was donated by K. Eanes in May 1992. The materials were found in the basement of 1900 S. Meadow Street, Richmond, Virginia when the house was sold to the donor.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated by K. Eanes in May 1992.

Processing Information

The collection was originally processed in 1992, with the content retaining the original order in which they were found. The finding aid was revised in 2000. In 2019, the collection was rehoused and files were relabeled to bring into accordance with current best practice and to better reflect contents, while also respecting original order.

A Guide to the John Mitchell Brooks collection of NAACP files
A collection in Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library M296
Dillon Thomas
2019 By Virginia Commonwealth University. All rights reserved.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the VCU James Branch Cabell Library Repository

Special Collections and Archives 901 Park Avenue
Richmond Virginia 23284 USA US
(804) 828-1108