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John and Lugenia Burns Hope Papers
15 linear feet (21 reels - University Publications of America)Research use restricted to microfilm only
NOTE: A paper copy of the finding aid, with container list, is available at the Woodruff Library Archives & Special Collections Department for in-house consultation and may be available via Interlibrary Loan.
John Hope (b. 1868 d. 1936) was born and raised in Augusta, Georgia. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University in 1894, he returned to the South to begin his lifelong fight for social equality among the races. In agreement with W.E.B. DuBois' educational philosophy (although he curried the favor of Booker T. Washington to gain necessary philanthropic assistance), Hope spent his career furthering liberal education for African Americans. He married Lugenia Burns (b. 1871 d. 1947) of Chicago in 1896. Mrs. Hope, active in social work in Chicago, continued her calling in Atlanta and founded the Neighborhood Union to improve the living conditions in Atlanta's African American community. Her leadership in the Neighborhood Union pushed her to national recognition as a social reformer and community leader. Lugenia Hope was active in numerous other organizations including the National Council of Negro Women and the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching. She was the first Vice-president of the Atlanta Branch, NAACP where she created the citizenship schools to encourage voting and she led the successful campaign to create African American YWCA branches in the South.
In 1898 John Hope joined the faculty of Atlanta Baptist College (now Morehouse College) and became the first African American president of that institution in 1906, a position he held for twenty-five years. In 1929, the Atlanta University Center was launched. Under this cooperative plan Atlanta University maintained the curriculum for graduate and professional schools, while Morehouse and Spelman Colleges administered the undergraduate programs. Dr. Hope was unanimously selected as president of Atlanta University and remained such until his death in 1936. John Hope's civic activities extended his influence beyond the college campus. He was active in local and national organizations such as the NAACP, the National Urban League, the YMCA, and was president of both the Commission on Interracial Cooperation and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History.
The bulk of the John and Lugenia Burns Hope Papers is the couple's personal and professional correspondence. The personal correspondence contains letters between the Hopes while they were still courting, and letters with family and friends. The professional correspondence gives insight into the many organizations the Hopes were affiliated with and the numerous activities in which they were involved. Notable among the correspondents are Mary McLeod Bethune, Nannie Helen Burroughs, W.E.B. DuBois, E. Franklin Frazier, Mordecai Johnson, Lucy Laney, Robert Moton, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Booker T. Washington, Walter White, and Carter G. Woodson. Topics discussed include education, civil rights, economics, the black press, social service, politics, the two World Wars, and social activities and attitudes. In addition to the correspondence there are minutes, financial papers, membership lists, newsletters, and other printed materials about some of the organizations. The papers also contain manuscripts, notes, and printed copies of speeches, essays, articles by John and Lugenia Hope, and some of their personal financial papers dating 1931-1940. This collection comprises the Hopes' personal papers and there are very few official records (three folders) about Morehouse College and Atlanta University.
Commission on Interracial Cooperation
John Hope Records
Neighborhood Union Collection