The University of Southern Mississippi -- McCain Library and Archives
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Collection Title: Wade (Daisy Harris) Papers
Collection Number: M 334
Dates: ca. 1939-1998
Volume: .70 cu.ft.
Provenance: Donated by Mrs. Daisy Harris Wade in the names of Mrs. Daisy Harris Wade, Mr. J.C. Fairley, Rev. J.C. Killingsworth, and Mrs. Wade's sons -- Mr. James Harris, Dr. Anthony Harris, and Mr. Harold Harris.
Daisy Griffin Harris Wade has spent much of her adult life in efforts designed to secure the civil rights of local African American citizens. She was particularly active in the local civil rights movement between 1963 and 1968. In January 1964, she housed four white ministers who were in Hattiesburg in connection with a voter registration project. During Mississippi Freedom Summer (1964), she opened her home to two Freedom Summer volunteers. Though retired, Mrs. Wade continues to be active in the area of civil rights. Most recently, she has participated in panel discussions at The University of Southern Mississippi, designed to communicate the history of the local civil rights movement to the present generation.
Mrs. Wade was born on April 22, 1931, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the fifth of eleven children born to Joseph and Annie B. Griffin. Her father was employed by Hercules Powder Company. He retired in 1967 after 41 years of service. Daisy Griffin married her first husband, James Harris, on April 7, 1951, and three sons were born of the union - James, Jr., Anthony, and Harold (At this writing, Anthony [Dr. Anthony Harris] is serving as Executive Assistant to the President of The University of Southern Mississippi). Daisy Harris and her second husband, Willie Wade, were married on April 8, 1978. No children were born of the second marriage.
Mrs. Wade graduated from Eureka High School on June 4, 1949, and completed the Secretarial Cluster Course at Pearl River Junior College on November 7, 1975. Her work experiences include: 1) secretary/receptionist at WDAM-TV; 2) disc jockey and secretary at WORV Radio ; and 3) office work for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In addition, she served as secretary of the Forrest County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Forrest County Action Committee, and the Fifth District Loyalist Democratic Party; did volunteer work for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC); was active in the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP); and at one time, held a third class FCC radio license.
While employed at WORV Radio, Mrs. Wade was chosen Most Popular Disc Jockey, and since approximately 1975, her biography has appeared in Who's Who Among African Americans. On June 23, 1991, Star Light Missionary Baptist Church held an Appreciation Service honoring Mrs. Wade for her work in the areas of civil rights and community service.
Additional honors and awards accorded Mrs. Wade are:
Vernon Dahmer Community Service Award, presented by the Hub City Business
and Professional Men's Club (January 22, 1978).
The bulk of this collection consists of materials that document civil rights activities in Hattiesburg and Forrest County during the 1960s. Of particular interest is a series of materials relating to the Forrest County Branch of the NAACP (ca. 1958-1968), which includes minutes of meetings, membership rolls, correspondence, and documents pertaining to the 1967 bus and business boycott in Hattiesburg. Also of interest are items regarding the Forrest County Action Committee for 1967 and 1974, and Mrs. Daisy Harris Wade's personal reminiscences.
Also in the collection are newspaper clippings, publications, magazine articles, and other documents that pertain to civil rights leaders and civil rights issues in Mississippi, and elsewhere in the South. The collection also includes items of local history, such as a file regarding Ensign Jesse L. Brown, a Hattiesburg native who became the first African American naval pilot in 1948. A particularly unique item is a souvenir booklet prepared in honor of the East Sixth Street U.S.O., an organization established in Hattiesburg, in 1942, to serve African American men and women in the military services.
The Daisy Harris Wade Papers should be of special interest to anyone researching the civil rights movement in Hattiesburg and Forrest County.