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Finding Aid of the Thomas Kilgore, Jr. papers

Finding aid prepared by Rebecca Hirsch and Sarah Guidas, 2011 January

The processing of this collection and the creation of this finding aid was funded by the generous support of the National Historic Publications and Records Commission.

Summary Information

Repository
USC Libraries Special Collections
Creator
Kilgore, Thomas, 1913-1998
Title
Thomas Kilgore, Jr. papers
Collection no.
0381
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1962-1998
Date [inclusive]
1900-2000
Extent
12.0 linear ft., 10 banker's boxes
Language
English
Abstract
The collection consists of manuscripts, drafts of sermons, church and personal correspondence and photographs of Dr. Thomas Kilgore, pastor of the Second Baptist Church of Los Angeles from 1963-1985 and a noted civil rights and civic leader.

Preferred Citation

[Box/folder# or item name], Thomas Kilgore papers, Collection no. 0381, Regional History Collection, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California

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Biographical Note

Dr. Thomas Kilgore, Jr. was born February 20, 1913 in Woodruff, South Carolina to Thomas and Eugenia Kilgore. He graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta in 1935, did some graduate work at Howard University's School of Religion in 1944 and 1945, and received a Master's of Divinity degree from the Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1957. He held pastorates in North Carolina from 1936 to 1947 and at the Friendship Baptist Church in Harlem from 1947 to 1963, where he rose to prominence in the civil rights movement.

Kilgore began his efforts for equality in the 1940's registering voters and organizing tobacco workers in North and South Carolina. In Harlem, he worked to end segregation in the schools and in housing. In the 1950's and 1960's, he worked closely with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and played a significant role in his Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the South and on both coasts. He was a primary organizer of the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom to Washington in 1957 and of the civil rights March on Washington of 1963.

In 1963, Kilgore moved to Los Angeles to become the pastor at the Second Baptist Church. He was the first African-American president of the American Baptist Convention (1969-1970) and also served two terms as the president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention (1976-1978). Locally, Kilgore served as a special advisor on community affairs to the University of Southern California president, spent many years on Los Angeles's Community Redevelopment Agency, and worked toward ecumenism and, particularly after the 1992 riots, for dialogue across racial lines.

Kilgore retired in 1985 and passed away in 1998. He married his wife, Jeannetta, in 1936, and they had two daughters, Lynn Elda and Jini Medina.

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Scope and Content

This collection contains the papers of Dr. Thomas Kilgore, Jr. These papers include his correspondence, manuscript and typescript drafts of his sermons, awards and citations he received, drafts of his speeches and lectures, outlines of workshops in which Kilgore participated, photographs, printed ephemera and two scrapbooks. Also included in this collection is a small amount of material documenting Kilgore's involvement with the civil rights movement, including the program from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s funeral and two planning documents for the 1963 march on Washington, D.C.

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Organization

The Thomas Kilgore, Jr. papers are organized into eight series: Series 1: Pastoral Duties; Series 2: Correspondence; Series 3: Celebrations; Series 4: Addresses, Workshops, Publications, and Lectures; Series 5: Baptist Organizations; Series 6: Civil Rights Movement; Series 7: Ephemera, Photographs & Clippings; Series 8: Plaques, Awards & Citations.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

USC Libraries Special Collections
2011 January
Doheny Memorial Library 206
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles, California, 90089-0189
213-740-5900
specol@usc.edu

Conditions Governing Access

COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. Advance notice required for access.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Manuscripts Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Acquisition

Gift of Jini Kilgore Cockroft, 2010.

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Related Materials

Separated Materials

Thomas Kilgore, Jr.'s memoir, A Servant's Journey: The Life and Work of Thomas Kilgore (Judson Press, 1998), was removed from this collection and cataloged into USC's Special Collections book holdings.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A.. -- Archives
  • Progressive National Baptist Convention. -- Archives
  • Second Baptist Church (Los Angeles, Calif.). -- Archives

Family Name(s)

  • Kilgore family -- Archives

Genre(s)

  • Clippings
  • Correspondence
  • Photographs
  • Printed ephemera
  • Programs (documents)
  • Realia
  • Typescripts

Geographic Name(s)

  • Los Angeles (Calif.)--History--Archival resources
  • Los Angeles (Calif.)--Photographs

Personal Name(s)

  • Kilgore, Thomas, 1913-1998 -- Archives
  • Kilgore, Thomas, 1913-1998 -- Correspondence
  • King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968 -- Archives

Subject(s)

  • African American authors--California--Los Angeles--20th century--Archival resources
  • African American churches--California--Los Angeles--20th century--Archival resources
  • African American civic leaders--California--Los Angeles--20th century--Archival resources
  • African American civil rights workers--20th century--Archival resources
  • African American clergy--20th century--Archival resources
  • African Americans--20th century--History
  • Baptists--Clergy--Archival resources
  • Civic leaders--California--Los Angeles--20th century--Archival resources
  • Civil rights--United States--20th century--Archival resources
  • March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Washington, D.C., 1963--Archival resources
  • Sermons, American--20th century--Archival resources
  • Sermons, American--African American authors--Archival resources
  • Speeches, addresses, etc., American--20th century--Archival resources

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Collection Inventory

Series 1:  Pastoral Duties 1943-1997 

Scope and Content

This series contains the files created and maintained by Kilgore while acting in his capacity as a pastor, including officiating at weddings and funerals, writing letters of recommendation for members of his church and delivering sermons.

 Sermons 

Scope and Content

This sub-series contains manuscript and typescript drafts of Kilgore's sermons.

Box Folder

 Notepad Sermons Undated 

1 1

 Incompletes Undated 

1 2

 Separated Pages Undated 

1 3

 Undated and/or Incomplete Undated 

1 4-9

 1940s - 1960s 1943-1969 

1 10

 Sunday School Notes and Sermons 1960-1995 

1 11

 1970s 1970-1979 

1 12-16

 1970s and 1980s 1979-1980 

1 17

 1980s 1980-1989 


    Box Folder
Textual materials   2 1-2
    Box Folder
Textual materials   1 18-22

Box Folder

 1990s 1990-1996 

2 3-5

 Miscellaneous Sermons (mostly photocopies) 1960-1985 

2 6

 Photocopies 1960-1996 

2 7-10

 Undated/Incomplete Undated 

6 8

 1960s 1961 

6 9

 1970s 1970-1978 

6 10

 1980s 1980-1981 

6 11
Box

 1/4" Recording of "Watergate--Who is Our God" 3 June 1973 

6

 Funeral Programs 

Scope and Content

This sub-series contains funeral programs, mostly from funerals at which Kilgore was either the officiant or an attendee. Also included in this series are Kilgore's notes for and drafts of eulogies.

Box Folder

 Correspondence, Programs and Eulogies 1952-1965 

2 14-15

 Programs 1966-1967 

2 16

 Correspondence, Programs and Eulogies 1970-1997 


    Box Folder
Textual materials   3 1-13
    Box Folder
Textual materials   2 17-29

 Recommendations 

Scope and Content

This sub-series contains resumes and correspondence pertaining letters of recommendation Kilgore wrote, predominantly for members of his congregation.

Box Folder

 Resumes and Letters 1980-1995 

2 11-12

 Letters 1992-1995 

2 13

 Weddings 

Box Folder

 Ephemera and Correspondence 1976-1991 

6 7

 Marriage Licenses [RESTRICTED] 1975-1995 

6 15

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Series 2:  Correspondence 1962-2000 

Scope and Content

This series contains the correspondence files maintained by Thomas Kilgore, Jr.

Box Folder

 Gems 1979-1989 

5 1-2

 Letters 1989-1997 

5 3

 Congratulations on Ebony and Community Redevelopment Agency Appointment 1984 

5 4

 Condolences for Thomas Kilgore, Jr. 1998 

5 5

 Gems 1964-1997 

5 6-7

 Letters 1962-1998 

5 8

 Correspondence with Martin Luther King, Jr. (photocopies) 1954-1992 

5 9

 Dates Cancelled and/or Filled 1980 

5 10

 Inventories of Thomas Kilgore, Jr.'s Papers and Effects 2000 

5 11

 Miscellaneous 1932 - 1999 

5 12
Box

 Tribute from Gladys C. Kennedy 1993 

9

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Series 3:  Celebrations 1965-1996 

Scope and Content

This series contains correspondence, ephemera and planning documents pertaining to various celebrations organized by or honoring Thomas Kilgore, Jr, including his wedding and pastoral anniversaries and the biennial Kilgore family reunion.

 Pastoral Anniversaries 

Box Folder

 10th Anniversary at Second Baptist Church 1973 

3 28

 90th Anniversary of the Second Baptist Church 1975 

3 29

 15th Anniversary at Second Baptist Church 1978 

4 1

 Los Angeles Tribute Dinner to Thomas Kilgore, Jr. 1980 

4 2-3
Box

 Los Angeles Tribute Dinner to Thomas Kilgore, Jr. (Mailgrams) 1980 

9
Box Folder

 50th Ministerial Anniversary 1980 

4 4

 20th Anniversary at Second Baptist Church 1983 

4 5

 Retirement and Centennial of Second Baptist Church 1985 

4 6

 Family Gatherings 

Box Folder

 Kilgore Family Reunions 1974-1990 

3 14-23

 Miscellaneous Kilgore Family Celebrations 1965-1988 

3 24

 Kilgores' 45th Wedding Anniversary 1968 

3 25

 50th Wedding Anniversary 1986 

3 26

 Kilgore Family Funeral Programs 1971-1996 

3 27

 High School Reunions 

Box Folder

 50th Reunion of Stephen Lee High School Class of 1930 1979-1980 

4 7

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Series 4:  Addresses, Workshops, Publications and Lectures 1958-1998 

Scope and Content

This series documents the addresses, lectures and workshops given by Kilgore over the course of his career. It also includes drafts of his memoir, A Servant's Journey.

Box Folder

 Stewardship Workshops 1983-1990 

4 8-9

 Bible Workshops 1971-1987 

4 10-11

 Winter Workshop on Evangelism 1978-1984 

4 12

 Miscellaneous Workshop Material 1973-1993 

4 13

 Miscellaneous Workshops and Conferences 1977-1993 

4 14-15

 Book of Acts 1983 

4 16

 Poems 1997-1998 

4 17

 Typescript Draft of A Servant's Journey 1996 

4 18

 Rough Draft of Autobiography [ A Servant's Journey] Undated 

4 19-20

 Partial Typescript Draft of A Servant's Journey and 3.5" Floppy Disk 1996 

4 21

 Memoir Drafts and Notes 1988-1997 

4 22

 Addresses 1972-1995 

4 23

 Lectures, Addresses and Poems 1966-1994 

4 24-25

 Addresses and Lectures 1960-1992 

4 26-27

 Lectures 1960-1988 

4 28

 Lectures and Speeches about Martin Luther King, Jr. 1962-1987 

4 29

 Addresses and Lectures (photocopies) 1958-1992 

4 30

 Speeches 1958-1973 

6 12
Box

 Scrapbook Commemorating 1972 USC Commencement 1972 

9

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Series 5:  Baptist Organizations 1945-1997 

Scope and Content

This series contains ephemera, notes, scrapbooks, and correspondence documenting Kilgore's involvement with various Baptist organizations in the United States, including the national organizations the Progressive National Baptist Convention, the American Baptist Convention, the Second Baptist Church in Los Angeles and the Friendship Baptist Church in New York City.

 Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC) 

Box Folder

 Alliance of Baptists 1992-1996 

5 33-34

 Constitution 1959-1997 

5 35

 Photographs Undated 

6 1-2

 Constitution 1959-1997 

6 3

 Miscellaneous 1977-1986 

6 4
Box

 The Atlanta Inquirer 1977 6 August 

9

 American Baptist Convention 

Box Folder

 Kilgore Fund 1989 

6 5

 Itinerary of Travels as President 1969-1970 

6 6
Box

 Scrapbook 1970 

9

 Scrapbook 1969-1970 

9

 The American Baptist Convention News 1970 

9

 Second Baptist Church 

Box Folder

 Second Baptist Church 1963-1997 

5 29-30

 Position Papers for Second Baptist Church Members 1990 

5 31

 "Church Administration in Black Perspective" by Floyd Massey, Jr. and Samuel B. McKinney 1975 

5 32

 Friendship Baptist Church (New York) 

Box Folder

 Friendship Baptist Church 1945-1963 

5 28

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Series 6:  Civil Rights Movement 1900-1978 

Scope and Content

This series contains papers of Kilgore's that pertain directly to the civil rights movement, including planning documents for the 1963 march on Washington, D.C. and a program from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s funeral in 1968.

Box Folder

 Emancipation Speech 1900 

5 23

 Program for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Funeral 9 April 1968 

5 24

 Miscellaneous 1957-1976 

5 25

 Benjamin Elijah Mays 1978 

5 26

 1963 March on Washington Planning Documents 1963 

5 27

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Series 7:  Ephemera, Clippings & Photographs 1935-1999 

Scope and Content

This series contains printed ephemera, Kilgore's clippings files and his photographs.

Box Folder

 Photographs Undated 

5 14-15

 Thomas Kilgore Jr. Children's Computer Learning Center 1999 

5 16

 Biographical Information 1985 

5 17

 Ephemera 1935-1998 

5 18

 Clippings 1961-1999 

5 19

 Newspaper and Periodical Clippings 1964-1998 

5 20-21

 Periodicals 1963-1992 

5 22

 USC Baccalaureate Program 7 June 1972 

6 14

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Series 8:  Plaques, Awards & Citations 1964-1999 

Scope and Content

This series contains the awards, plaques and citations received by Thomas Kilgore, Jr. over the course of his career as a Baptist minister in Los Angeles.

Box Folder

 Awards and Citations 1964-1999 

5 13

 Citation from NAACP 1998 

6 13
Box

 Awards & Plaques 1974-1983 

7

 Awards & Plaques 1969-1989 

8

 Awards & Plaques 1985 

Scope and Content

Plaque awarded to Kilgore as founder of the USC Ebonics Support Group by the Adolph Coors Company, 1985.

12

 Awards & Citations 1972-1993 

9

 Awards & Citations 1980-1983 

10

 Awards & Citations from USC 

11

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