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James P. Brawley collection

 Collection — Box: 1-188
Identifier: 0000-0000-0000-0108

Scope and contents

The James P. Brawley collection spans the years between 1885 and 1985. The bulk of the collection dates from 1916 to 1984. The collection includes records related to Clark College, the Methodist Church, and Rust College. Also included are correspondences, family papers, writings by Brawley, memorabilia, newsclippings and audio/visual materials. Of note are drafts of his two books, his high school "valedictory oration" and photographs to be used in Clark College fundraising brochures. Also of interest are materials related to the integration of the Methodist Church and several studies of the Central Jurisdiction of the Methodist Church and how/if it should be eliminated.


  • Creation: 1885-1994
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1916-1984


Rights statement

All materials in this collection are either protected by copyright or are the property of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc., and/or the copyright holder as appropriate. For more information, please contact

Biographical note

James P. Brawley was born on September 26, 1894 in Lockhart, Texas. When he was three, he was adopted by a paternal aunt and uncle. In an autobiographical sketch, he notes that his aunt and uncle were not only his "guardians in the usual sense of the word, but they became also the guardians of my spiritual life." He credits his "Christian home" and his "contact with nature" as the "two most dominating influences" in his early life.

While living with his aunt and uncle he attended the local, one-room elementary school. In 1911 he moved to Austin to attend Samuel Huston College. He completed his high school degree in 1916, graduating with honors. In 1920, he received his Bachelor of Arts, again graduating with honors. After graduation Brawley moved to Los Angeles, California where he attended the University of Southern California part time.

After a year in California, Brawley moved to Holly Springs, Mississippi to teach at Rust College. He entered the Masters program Northwestern University in the fall of 1923 to study religious education. After receiving his Masters of Arts in June of 1925, Brawley took a job as head of the Department of Education and Religious Education at Clark University. Brawley quickly moved up the ladder at Clark University becoming the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in the fall of 1926, the Administrative Dean in 1940. In 1941, after attaining his Ph.D in Education from the University of Chicago, Brawley succeeded Dr. M.S. Davage as President of Clark College.

As President of Clark College, Brawley oversaw the moving of the college to its current location within the Atlanta University Center consortium. During his tenure as president, Brawley became a founding member of the United Negro College Fund, created a fundraising culture on campus and saw several new buildings added to the campus. He also led the movement of the pre-centennial decade program. The program turned into a self-study that led to the first full-time development officer being hired and the creation of a development office. The curriculum was restructured and the pharmacy program established. The college also expanded it's land holdings, upon which an athletic field and a new academic building were built, they also secured funds to build a president's residence. By the end of his term as president, the college was operating on a surplus with no "accumulated deficit" (Brawley, The Clark College Legacy, pg. 268)

On August 31, 1965, Brawley resigned as president of Clark College and began his tenure as President Emeritus. As President Emeritus, Brawley served as a fundraiser for the college. He also wrote the a history of Clark College titled The Clark College Legacy: an Interpretive history of Relevant Education 1869-1975. The Clark College history was the second book written by Dr. Brawley, the first was titled Two Centuries of Methodist Concern: Bondage, Freedom and Education of Black People.

Outside of his work with Clark College, Brawley was an active member of the Methodist Church. He served on the President's Council of the Methodist Board of Education as well as several boards, commissions and committees related to social action and concerns. Brawley worked to integrate the church through the elimination of the Central Jurisdiction of the Methodist Church.

On June 20, 1929, James P. Brawley married Georgia Lee Williams. Mrs. Brawley served as an English teacher at Clark College.

James P. Brawley died on December 3, 1985 in Atlanta, Georgia.


72 Linear feet (Collection is comprised of 174 Hollinger boxes and 17 oversized boxes.)

Language of Materials



This collection is divided into nine series: Clark College, Correspondence, Family and personal records, Memorabilia, Methodist Church records, Newsclippings, Rust College, Writings and Audio/visual materials. The series are arranged alphabetically with the exception of the final series, Audio/visual materials.

Processing Information

The Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library acknowledges the generous support of the National Endowment for Humanities - Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Implementation Project Grant in supporting the processing and digitization of a number of its major archival collections as part of the project: Spreading the Word: Expanding Access to African American Religious Archival Collections at the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library

James P. Brawley collection
Finding aid prepared by Allison Galloup, 2012.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc. Repository


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