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Record Group Number: 900000
Series/Collection Number: N2015- 1
Creator: Due, Patricia Stephens.
Title, Dates: Patricia Stephens Due Papers, ca. 1946-2011.
Amount: 14.25 cubic ft.
Medium Included:
Organization/Arrangement: Organized into seven series:
Series 1: Correspondence/Leon County Jail, ca. 1946-2000s
Series 2: CORE/Civil Rights, 1960-2000s
Series 3: Post Civil Rights, 1960-2000s
Series 4: Awards, Appearances and Articles, 1960s-2000s
Series 5: Freedom in the Family, 1990s-2000s
Series 6: Name Files, 1960-2000s
Series 7: Family Files, 1960-2000s.
Roughly chronological within series except for Series 6, Name Files, which is alphabetical by last name.
Terms Governing Use:
Biographical/Historical:     Patricia Stephens Due was a Black educator, public speaker, author, and life-long civil rights proponent. Born in 1939 near Quincy, Florida, she and her older sister, Priscilla, and younger brother, Horace Walter, were raised by their mother and stepfather in Belle Glade, Florida. In 1957, Patricia was accepted into Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) to study sociology and education. During the 1959 summer break before her junior year, she attended a Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) conference that taught her nonviolent protesting strategies and inspired her to start the Tallahassee CORE chapter that fall.

    As a student leader of the Tallahassee CORE chapter, Patricia Stephens led a series of nonviolent sit-in protests at segregated lunch counters in Tallahassee. On February 20, 1960, during one of these sit-ins, Patricia and Priscilla Stephens and a group of fellow students were arrested. After refusing to pay the $300 fine, the Stephens sisters and six other students participated in one of the first jail-ins in the student protest movement, spending 49 days of their 60-day sentence in jail. As a result of their absence from school, the students were asked to withdraw from their universities and were placed on academic probation when they reapplied. That same spring, while participating in a march on the Capitol in Tallahassee, Patricia Stephens was hit in the face with tear gas at point blank range, leaving her with a permanent sensitivity to light. Although her education was continuously interrupted by protests, arrests, and speaking tours, Stephens eventually received her degree in 1965.

    In 1963, she married fellow civil rights activist John Dorsey Due Jr., who was studying law at FAMU and later became a civil rights attorney. The Dues moved to Miami to raise their three daughters, Tananarive, Johnita, and Lydia. In Miami, Patricia Stephens Due held various positions with education and social service organizations, including the University of Miami. She and her oldest daughter, Tananarive, a novelist, co-wrote "Freedom in the Family: A Mother-Daughter Memoir of the Fight for Civil Rights," published in 2003.

    Throughout her life, Patricia Stephens Due remained active in the Civil Rights Movement, making appearances, accepting awards, giving speeches, and as a member and leader in many organizations, including CORE, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Among her awards and honors were the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Outstanding Leadership, the Gandhi Award for Outstanding Work in Human Relations, the Florida Freedom Award from the NAACP, and an honorary doctorate from FAMU.

    In 2012, Patricia Stephens Due died of thyroid cancer at the age of 72.

Summary:     This collection documents the personal life and public activities of Patricia Stephens Due and her relationships with family and friends throughout her life. Most prominent in the collection are letters between Due and her sister, brother, parents, and other family members, friends, fellow civil rights activists, and supporters and opponents of her civil rights efforts. The collection also includes programs and itineraries from public appearances and events; Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) newsletters, field reports, and promotional materials; and articles regarding Due's activities, other civil rights activities, and issues of importance or interest to Due. She maintained her papers in seven series that she designated in her files as Correspondence/Leon County Jail; CORE/Civil Rights; Post Civil Rights; Awards, Appearances, and Articles; Freedom in the Family; Name Files; and Family Files.

    Series 1: Correspondence/Leon County Jail, ca. 1946-2000s. This series contains incoming correspondence, positive and negative, from friends, relatives, and strangers writing to Patricia Stephens Due while she was in jail in the spring of 1960 after her arrest for nonviolent protest at a segregated lunch counter. It also contains newspaper articles about the jail-in, CORE, and related civil rights protests. This series contains information about conferences, events, programs that Patricia Stephens Due participated in, and civil rights history materials. The series also contains some family correspondence from the 1950s and earlier; some items of note in this are strongly worded letters of support or opposition from strangers to Patricia Stephens Due while she was in the Leon County Jail and a letter Due wrote to her parents while she was in jail describing the events of her arrest.

    Series 2: CORE/Civil Rights, 1960-2000s. This series includes CORE publications and promotional leaflets, the administrative records and reports of CORE, newspapers with articles about general civil rights issues and events, and printouts of internet articles.

    Series 3: Post Civil Rights, 1960-2000s. This series contains programs, schedules, agendas, and announcements about civil rights remembrance events. This series contains many printed articles about civil rights issues, leaders, organizations, and the Barack Obama presidential election. The series also contains personal and professional correspondence, copies of speeches delivered by Patricia Stephens Due, and education related professional records.

    Series 4: Awards, Appearances and Articles, 1960s-2000s. This series documents some of the awards that Patricia Stephens Due and/or John D. Due were nominated for or won. This section also contains invitations, agendas, programs and itineraries of events for which Patricia Stephens Due gave speeches. The majority of this series is copies of articles relating to Patricia Stephens Due, the Civil Rights Movement, or miscellaneous subjects of interest. The series also contains funeral programs and civil rights or cultural publications.

    Series 5: Freedom in the Family, 1990s-2000s. This series contains notes and information about the proposal, writing, publishing, and promotion of Tananarive and Patricia Stephens Due's co-authored book, Freedom of the Family: A Mother-Daughter Memoir on the Fight for Civil Rights. The records include interviews with fellow civil rights activists from Patricia's association with CORE, book reviews, advertisements for book signings, book proposals, chapter drafts, photos, and release forms. While the majority of the series spans from the 1990s to the 2000s, many of the photos considered for inclusion in the book were taken in the 1960s. Of note in this series are photographs of civil rights protests.

    Series 6: Name Files, 1960-2000s. This series contains correspondence, organization records, event programs, newspaper and website articles, academic theses and dissertations, miscellaneous professional reports, and records relating to Patricia Stephens Due's friends, associates, and public figures of interest to her. These files are alphabetical by each individual's last name. Of note in this series are a letter from former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt announcing a speaking engagement by Patricia Stephens Due, and a personal letter to John Due from Brooklyn Dodgers baseball player and civil rights leader Jackie Robinson. Other items of note in this series are drafts of university graduate students' theses and dissertations about the Civil Rights Movement including extensive interviews with Patricia Stephens Due.

    Series 7: Family Files, 1960-2000s. This small series contains personal documents of the Due family including drafts of Patricia Stephens Due's resume; a copy of her Bachelor's Degree; a transcript of Priscilla Stephens Kruize's 1960 jail diary; and miscellaneous fliers, articles, and records about social, civil, and professional organizations and activities.

Finding Aids: Folder listing available. 0
Additional Physical Form: A portion of this collection has been digitized and is available on the Florida Memory web site:
Reproduction Note:
Location of Originals/Duplicates:
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Electronic Records Access:
Subject Access Fields: Due, Patricia Stephens.
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Congress of Racial Equality.
Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (U.S.)
African Americans Florida.
African American women.
African American civic leaders Florida.
Civil rights Florida
Discrimination Florida
Segregation Florida
Race discrimination Florida
Race relations.
Women Awards
Women History 20th century Florida
Women Social conditions and status Florida
Women Societies and clubs Florida
Women authors, American Florida
Women in education Florida.
Women political activists Florida
Women's rights Florida
Photographs. aat
Clippings. aat
Programs. aat
Electronic mail. aat
Invitations. aat
Minutes. aat
Newsletters. aat
Reports. aat
Articles. aat
Transcripts. aat
Interviews. aat
Added Entries