By Laura Laugle
Now that the physical processing of the Berry collection is complete and I’ve begun arranging materials, I’ve come across some items which, when I processed them months and months ago, I was too ignorant of their context to fully appreciate. Chief among those items are three copies of The New Horizon. I had no idea when I pulled out the rusty staples, pried off the bits of rapidly disintegrating paperclips and filed them temporarily (read: labeled with a removable sticky note) as “Misc. Copies of New Horizon” how incredibly important these school papers really are.
I’ve briefly written about The New Horizon in another blog post entitled Civil Rights in Ohio but for those who may not know, The New Horizon was a student magazine produced for and by the African American students of the University of Cincinnati beginning in the late 1920s. But you might ask why I am so thrilled to have found three additional copies. The answer is simple – this quadruples the number of previously held issues to four. Just like African American fraternities and sororities, other African American clubs and publications were ignored by the University administration, a situation which was described in the June 1928 “The Negro here has never before held a particular position of importance, he has never taken part in any extra-curricular activities – hence why should he – there is no place for him.” The result is that related materials simply weren’t preserved as they should have been making these paper a rarity. A bonus to finding issues of this particular publication is that The New Horizon had a policy of “openness” and accepted all types of submissions so each issue is a mix of university news, book and play reviews, histories, poems and essays with a focus on black life in Cincinnati. Now, researchers can use these wonderful resources to get a much clearer look into how black students of the University of Cincinnati lived during that time and how their circumstances affected their lives on and off campus.
In the May 1928 issue the editor marked in Editor Theodore M. Berry’s handwriting as “my first journalistic effort,” the paper discusses its purpose.
“Within the last few years the number of Negro students attending the day session of the University has increased from a mere handful to forty-five. Forty five students eagerly seeking the knowledge and training offer by the various courses and types of work of this institution. But mere academic work is not the sole interest of college students. Hence this group of students isolated by prejudices, yet to be overcome, has decided to unite in an effort to supply for itself some of the extra curricula activities which broaden human life.”
Later in his career Berry submitted an excerpt of the following essay (marked in brackets) as part of a list of quotations representing him and his career:
In 2010, the University of Cincinnati Libraries received a $61,287 grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission of the Archives and Records Administration to fully process the Theodore M. Berry Collection in the Archives & Rare Books Library. All information and opinions published on the Berry project website and in the blog entries are those of the individuals involved in the grant project and do not reflect those of the National Archives and Records Administration. We gratefully acknowledge the support of NARA.