Arthur W. Mitchell papers

Descriptive Summary

Arthur W. Mitchell papers
Predominant Dates
bulk 1934-1942
Mitchell, Arthur Wergs, 1883-1968
De Priest, Oscar, 1871-1951
31 linear ft.
3 oversize folders.
1 microfilm reel.
(Copy of scrapbook)
Material is in English unless otherwise noted.

Scope and Content

Correspondence, speeches, newsclippings, and other papers of Mitchell, who served as U.S. Congressman from the First Congressional District, Chicago (Ill.), 1935-1943. Mitchell was the first African American Democrat to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, and his papers contain many incoming letters from throughout the country on racial issues. Additional topics include Mitchell's election campaigns against Oscar DePriest and others, service in Congress and on the Post Office and Post Roads Committee, anti-lynching legislation, Mitchell's U.S. Supreme Court case concerning racial discrimination against him as a railroad passenger, and his work for the Democratic National Campaign Committee during the 1936 Presidential election. Early materials deal with Armstrong Agricultural School, Mutual Housing Company, personal and family matters; later topics include African Americans at U.S. military and naval academies; African American migration from the South to the North; U.S. Civil Service reform; the establishment of old age and soldiers' pensions; the government of the Virgin Islands in the West Indies; Jake Guzik, one of Mitchell's law clients; and the entry of the United States into World War II. Due to the chronological arrangement of the collection, materials about particular topics often are intermingled throughout the collection.

Conditions for Access

An advance appointment with special permission is required to view a small portion of the collection. Photocopies will be available for research use for many of these items.

Conditions Governing Use

Contact the archives for more information on licensing and permissions for use and reproduction.

Preferred Citation

A common citation for archives is as follows: Item, Folder number and/or title, Box number, Collection title, ID number, Repository name, location.

Custodial History

Gift of Arthur W. Mitchell in 1967 and by his widow Clara in 1968 (M1967.0694, M1968.0749).


Organized chronologically.

Related Material

Related materials at Chicago History Museum, Research Center, include the Arthur W. Mitchell photograph collection (1980.0144) and the Dennis Nordin interviews about Arthur W. Mitchell.

Alternate Format Available

This material has been digitized by ProQuest and is available to subscribers to the History Vault collection, Black Freedom Struggle in the 20th Century, Part 2.

Container list of boxes by date is available online with a detailed description of contents.

Indexed Terms