Frank O. Sherrill papers
Scope and Contents
This collection primarily consists of newspaper clippings and correspondence collected by Frank O. Sherrill in 1963. Letters in this collection are mainly written to Sherrill or his colleagues from members of the public, and either support S&W Cafeteria's segregation policy or ask the restaurant to serve black patrons alongside whites. The bulk of clippings relate to the issue of segregation or integration of public accommodations, and come from newspapers or magazines including the Roanoke World News (of Roanoke VA), The Greensboro Daily News, the Charlotte Observer, the Durham Morning Herald, the Daily Advance (of Lynchburg, VA) and the US News S&W World Report. The collection also includes a selective patronage list published by the Christian Inter-Racial Witness Association that lists businesses boycotted by the NAACP, petitions in favor of segregation, and a telegram sent by President John F. Kennedy, inviting Sherrill to the White House to attend a conference on racial integration.
- Sherrill, Frank O. (Frank Odell) (Person)
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.
Biographical / Historical
Frank O. Sherrill, a Shelby, North Carolina native, co-founded S&W Cafeteria in the 1920s, a chain of restaurants that operated in in North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, Virginia and Washington, DC during the 1960s. The S&W chain had a reputation both for fine food as well as a pleasing, upscale atmosphere, and by the 1970s had grown to twenty-two cafeterias. By 1963, civil rights supporters pushed for desegregation of public accommodations throughout the South, and S&W faced pressure from the public and from civil rights organizations to desegregate their restaurants. Like so many other public facilities, the S&W Cafeterias excluded minorities until African-Americans began asserting their civil rights and demanded an end to segregation. Petitions in May of 1963 and a newspaper article dated June 5 indicate that Sherrill initially resisted desegregation of his restaurant chain, though he eventually bowed to public pressure to desegregate. During those months of protest in the spring and summer of 1963, Sherrill accumulated newspaper clippings on the issue of desegregation in the South as it affected him and his business. He also received letters from patrons on both sides of the issue (including those who had been his customers for many years), either to encourage him to resist desegregation or to ask that he extend equal treatment to African-Americans. By the end of June of 1963, S&W Cafeterias opened their doors to all customers regardless of race. [Sources: Frank O. Sherrill papers, UNC Charlotte Library, Mss 405 ; DePreist, Joe, “A Life on the Serving Line,” Charlotte Observer, Friday, December 29, 1995.]
1.25 Linear Feet
The collection primarily consists of newspaper clippings and letters collected by Frank O. Sherrill. Sherrill was the co-founder of the S&W Cafeteria chain, which, like many other restaurants in the South during the time, denied service to black patrons through the early 1960s. By 1963, civil rights supporters pushed for desegregation of public accommodations throughout the South. S&W faced pressure from the public and from civil rights organizations to desegregate their restaurants, which they ultimately did.
The collection is arranged into the following two series, one of which (Clippings) is further divided into subseries. The two series are: Correspondence (1963) and Clippings (1963). There are also two files (Christian Inter-Racial Witness Association: Selective Patronage List and Petitions in favor of segregation) that do not belong to any series
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Obtained from Rufus Dalton, in January of 2009.
Processed by Robert A. McInnes
- Frank O. Sherrill papers
- Robert A. McInnes
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