The Amistad Research Center received funding from The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Cataloging Hidden and Special Collections Program to process nine manuscript collections documenting Civil Rights era organizational history. The James H. Hargett papers were processed under the CLIR grant.
Reverend Dr. James Hester Hargett, community advocate and civil rights activist, spent over forty years as a United Church of Christ pastor in churches located in the states of California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York. His ministry focused on the recruitment of African Americans in Christian service and activities in the areas of community advocacy, education, human relations, mental health, and social justice.
Hargett was born on July 24, 1930, in Greensboro, North Carolina, the son of Afro-Christian pastor Reverend Frederick A. Hargett and Florence A. Hargett. He received a bachelor’s degree from Johnson C. Smith University (1952), a master’s degree from Yale Divinity School (1955), and a Doctor of Ministry (1975) from Colgate-Rochester Seminary. His studies at Colgate-Rochester Seminary involved work with the peoples of Ghana, Nigeria, Jamaica, Haiti, and the sea islands of South Carolina. He was ordained to ministry of the Congregational Church in 1955, and served as an associate minister of the predominately Japanese American Church of the Crossroads United Church of Christ (UCC) in Honolulu from 1955 to 1958. He was the first African American minister called to serve a Protestant-established church in Hawaii.
A scrapbook containing correspondence, greeting cards, essays, ephemera, photographs, news clippings, and newsletters is also included. Of particular note in the scrapbook are Hargett’s notes to his congregants published in The Crossroads News (September 1955), which detail his first airplane trip to Hawaii with his wife, Louilyn and infant daughter, Meloni; thank you notes from Roosevelt high school students after his speech on segregation (November 1955); programs for his installation service (December 11, 1955); a birth announcement for his son Darryl published in The Crossword Chimes (May 1957); and a handmade Christmas card and photograph (December 1957) sent to the Hargett family from the Andrew Young family.
Posted by Amber L. Moore
(Images from the James H. Hargett Papers. May not be reproduced without permission.)