Thursday, July 7, 2022

Charleston Rotary Club Makes Historic Donation to J.D. Williams Library

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The Charleston chapter of Rotary International has made a historic donation to the Department of Archives and Special Collections at the University of Mississippi’s J.D. Williams Library.

The donation includes documents that detail the chapter’s history, program minutes and correspondence that capture the efforts of this civic-minded organization in Charleston and Tallahatchie County.

rotary_club_007The Charleston chapter was founded in 1923, and the collection of minutes dates to the point of its charter until the early 1980s. These written records include that time period, covering other programming, statements of considered issues, charities and financial records referencing specific members.

Tallahatchie County, is the location of a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement, producing the jury that acquitted the murderers of Emmett Till in 1955.

Five years after the first Rotary Club was organized in Chicago in 1905, branches were created in other cities, including New Orleans and Jackson and the Mississippi towns of Greenwood, Cleveland and then Charleston. Working to help disabled children and adults as well as local Boy Scouts, the Charleston chapter’s affairs and meetings were recorded every week.

Bobby Dailey, one of the chapter’s board members, made it his “personal project” to organize the gift. The preserving and archiving of this significant Charleston treasure was made possible through the generosity of Rotary Club members, who voted to donate the minutes to the library to “provide a slice of history unavailable anywhere else,” Dailey said.

Rotary International is an organization of professional and business leaders that provides humanitarian service around the world since 1905. Approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 32,500 Rotary clubs in 168 countries. Some notable Rotary members include Dr. Charles H. Mayo, co-founder of the Mayo Clinic, and Manny Pacquaio, Filipino world-champion boxer and congressman.

Charleston Rotary Club

Courtesy of J.D. Williams Library Special Collections

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