Charles Anderson Papers Highlight African-American Legacy in U.S. Law and Legislation

A recent summer afternoon in the 4th floor offices of Archives and Special Collections in Ekstrom Library, Archivist Tom Owen dug into two large boxes filled with photos, scrapbooks, legal files, news clippings and other items belonging to one of Louisville’s most important African American leaders of the 20th Century.

The brimming boxes were donated to the UofL Archives by the children of Charles W. Anderson, Jr., the first African American to serve in the Kentucky Legislature, and the first in the South since the Reconstruction era in the late 1800s. A lawyer educated at Kentucky State College and Wilberforce and Howard universities, Anderson was elected as a Republican representative from Louisville in November 1935 at age 28 and served six terms until 1946. He died in a train-car accident in 1960 at the age of 53.


University of Louisville Libraries Archivist Tom Owen reviews stacks of literature and documents belonging to Charles W. Anderson.

While in office he achieved a number of legislative milestones, including the Anderson-Mayer State Aid Act, which offered $7,500 annually to African American students to attend out-of-state colleges. The fund was necessitated by Kentucky’s Day Law, which mandated separate white and black educational facilities, meaning that only one college in the state, Kentucky State College in Frankfort, could accept African American applicants. Because Kentucky State’s curriculum was limited, many African Americans seeking graduate degrees and specialized programs were forced to go out-of-state.

Anderson passed additional legislation aimed at expanding educational opportunities for Kentucky African Americans, including one for improving public school facilities and another providing a $100 education and travel stipend for each black student forced to travel outside his or her county to attend segregated schools.  Most famously, he fought to combat lynching in Kentucky and worked vigorously to successfully repeal the state’s public hanging law.

Anderson passed legislation . . . providing a $100 education and travel stipend for each black student forced to travel outside his or her county to attend segregated schools.

Owen said his expectations for the Anderson papers were far exceeded by the items he discovered in the boxes.

“Often with papers from political leaders we find mostly Who’s Who type publications that can be obtained elsewhere, but here we found mostly one-of-a-kind files, brochures, and photos unique to Anderson. So that’s great.”

His children, Victoria Anderson Pinderhughes, who lives in New York City, and Charles W. Anderson, III, of Detroit, sought a home for preserving their father’s important legacy and memorabilia. Happily, Victoria had maintained contact with childhood friends in Louisville who recommended UofL as the most trusted repository.

What’s next for the Charles W. Anderson Jr. Papers?  Owen noted that before the public can access the collection he will organize the files into “series” such as clipping scrapbooks (eight), manuscripts, photos (dozens), legislative issues, legal records, and condolences sent at the time of Anderson’s death. Then he’ll rebox and refile them in acid-free containers and prepare a finding aide to guide users of the collection. Eventually, the papers will be exhibited in ASC’s galleries in the lower level of Ekstrom Library.

New Films-June 2018

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  • Black Panther
  • Wonderstruck
  • Please Stand By
  • Samson
  • Let There Be Light
  • I Kill Giants
  • Molly’s Game
  • Goodbye Christopher Robin
  • In this Corner of the World
  • Braven
  • 7 Guardians of the Tomb
  • Red Sparrow
  • Den of Thieves
  • Going in Style
  • 12 Strong
  • Missing
  • Princess Jellyfish (complete series)
  • Maximilian and Marie De Bourgogne
  • School Rumble: First Semester
  • Unbreakable
  • The Garden of Words
  • Evil Under the Sun
  • Ray Donovan (Season 2)
  • Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (Complete Series)
  • Funny Games
  • The Raven
  • The Secret of Nimh
  • Princess Mononoke
  • The Boy and the Beast
  • When Marnie was There
  • Beerfest
  • The Act of Killing
  • Scooby Doo Pirates Ahoy!
  • Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
  • Your Name
  • Mary and the Witch’s Flower
  • Annihilation
  • Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle
  • Freakazoid
  • The Florida Project
  • Despicable Me 2
  • Winchester

New Films-May 2018

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  • Lady Bird
  • Hostiles
  • Home Alone 4
  • Hangman’s Curse
  • Cars 3
  • Kidnap
  • Whisper of the Heart
  • Descendants 2
  • All the Money in the World
  • 1864
  • The Belko Experiment
  • Scooby Doo and the Legend of the Vampire
  • Phantom Thread
  • This is Us-season 1
  • Spongebob Movie: Sponge out of Water
  • Ragtime
  • A Bad Moms Christmas
  • Descendants
  • Howl’s Moving Castle
  • Rear Window
  • Wolf Children
  • Anne of Green Gables Trilogy
  • Call Me by Your Name
  • The Post
  • The Best of the New Scooby Doo Movies
  • Outlander- Season 3
  • The Commuter
  • Forever My Girl
  • Norma Rae
  • Spongebob Squarepants Movie
  • Home Alone 2
  • Peter Rabbit
  • Maze Runner: the Death Cure
  • Spirited Away
  • A Pup Named Scooby Doo- Seasons 2-4
  • Paddington 2

New Films – April 2018

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  • Proud Mary
  • Rise of the Guardians
  • Pitch Perfect 3
  • Sherlock-Season 4
  • Ski School
  • Hangman
  • Downsizing
  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
  • Longmire: the complete fourth season
  • Thank You for Your Service
  • Thor: Ragnarok
  • Scooby- Doo 13: Spooky Tales- Holiday Chills and Thrills
  • Jumanji
  • The Shape of Water
  • The Greatest Showman
  • Birth of a Nation
  • 24 Hours to Live

New Films- March 2018

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  • Last Flag Flying
  • The Man who Invented Christmas
  • Roman J. Israel Esq.
  • 8 Mile
  • Geostorm
  • I, Tonya
  • Forgetting Sarah Marshall
  • A Pup Named Scooby Doo season 1
  • Coraline
  • The Secret Scripture
  • Darkest Hour
  • Ferdinand
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Murder on the Orient Express
  • Scooby-Doo! 13 Spooky Tales: Surf’s Up Scooby-Doo
  • Justice League


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  • Victoria and Abdul
  • The Snowman
  • Wonder
  • The Villainess
  • Blazing Saddles
  • Spirited Away
  • Goodbye Christopher Robin
  • Colossal
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • The Limehouse Golem
  • Scooby Doo Shaggy’s Showdown
  • Ray Donovan- season 1
  • Gifted
  • Crooked House
  • Happy Death Day
  • Aloha Scooby Doo
  • Kubo and the Two Strings

New Films- January 2018

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  • My Little Pony: The Movie
  • Everything, Everything
  • The Mountain Between Us
  • The Circle
  • Book of Life
  • Security
  • It
  • A Dogs Purpose
  • Battle of the Sexes
  • Stronger
  • Bonnie and Clyde
  • Mother!
  • The Stolen
  • Marshall
  • Wind River
  • The Foreigner
  • A Ghost Story
  • Ingrid Goes West
  • The Little Hours
  • Tulip Fever