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The new picture (of William Leroy Blake and members of the Jenkins Orphanage Band) and blog title (“Not Just in February”) of the Avery Research Center’s blog represents the fact that we at the Avery  Research Center promote and document African-American history all-year around. Our collections demonstrate that the African-American experience cannot be limited to just one month. The individuals and organizations within the repository signify the fact that our legacies need to be celebrated and remembered not only so we do not forget them, but also to empower and encourage us to continue onward.

The Jenkins Orphanage was created in 1891 by Rev. Daniel Jenkins because he saw that there was a need for one in the African-American community. The band was created by Jenkins to raise money for the land for the orphanage due to the lack of support from the city and limited public will. It was eventually built at 20 Magazine Street in Charleston, South Carolina. Jenkins sought instruments for them to play and hired P.M. “Hastie” Logan and Francis Eugene Mikell to tutor the children. It is reported that the uniforms worn by the youth were hammy-downs from the

Lonnie Hamilton. Obtained from

Citadel. The band was composed of the children from the orphanage and they were given the opportunity to play around world such as at the London Expo and the St. Louis World Fair. The profits from the shows went to the upkeep of the orphanage.  Mo

Cat Anderson. Obtained from

re about the Jenkins Orphanage can be found in John Chilton’s book A Jazz Nursery: The Story of the Jenkins’ Orphanage Bands. 

Some well-known band players are Lonnie Hamilton (we have his papers), Jabbo Smith (hear him play), Cat Anderson, and Freddie Green.

The band reflects the fact that Charleston, South Carolina played an important role in the creation of Jazz music as we know it today.

Additional Resources

Aaisha Haykal: An Introduction

The Avery Research Center is excited to welcome the newest member of our archives team, Aaisha Haykal!  Her profound interest in Avery’s materials and the archival profession in general have already brought a much-appreciated aura of inspiration and enthusiasm to our archives!

Aaisha Haykal

Photo by L. Barry Hetherington


Hello, my name is Aaisha Haykal, and I have been placed at the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture for the next nine months as a part of an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant initiative that aims to diversify the archival profession. While at Avery I will be processing archival collections and maintaining the Avery blog, as well as re-imagining and updating Avery’s social media presence. One of the goals that I hope to achieve during my time here is to make connections with local African American community organizations to talk with them about the importance of keeping records and possibly donating their records to an institution like Avery. If you know of any organization(s) that need(s) assistance in this area please contact me at haykalan at cofc dot com.

Below is an excerpt from my fellowship application about why I chose Avery and the value that both the collections and the institution has to the community.

I am interested in the Avery Research Center because of its emphasis on preserving the documents that detail the life and organizations of the Black Charleston community and beyond; one can obtain an authentic feel of this history in the city not just in the past, but also in its present state. Furthermore, the exhibits and lectures at the center note that the institution is actively connecting the past and the present, which I find necessary in order to maintain relevancy and to make an impact. From the center’s blog posts I can see that they have recognized the need to open the archive up to the public and I want to continue this endeavor by creating online exhibits and having lectures and workshops that would further increase access to the archival resources. Moreover, to continue the legacy of community advocacy of the center I would be an advocate for community members to preserve their own materials for their personal empowerment and history; the archive and the archivist would be seen as a resource and advisor in this process.

Thus, from this small part of my application one can see that I fully believe in the fact that communities have to be in control of telling their own stories and histories because otherwise what is remembered can be the product of other people’s imaginations. I will be expanding on what I mean about this in my upcoming blog posts, so if you are interested and want to learn more, please come back!

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