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Junius Griffin papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS-0622
Junius Griffin was an African-American journalist born in Stonega, Virginia on January 13th, 1929. The papers contain news clippings, photographs, and documents spanning 1955-1977.

Dates

  • 1955-1977

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Extent

0.78 Cubic Feet (1 legal size document box, 1 flat box (21 x 17 x 1.5 inches))

Biographical / Historical

Junius Griffin was born in Stonega, Virginia on January 13th, 1929 (although various Army documents state his date of birth as 1926). Griffin enrolled at Bluefield College in West Virginia at age 16. A year later he joined the Army Air Corps Reserves and, eventually, joined the United States Marine Corps where he served for several years.

During his military career, Griffin was employed as a staff writer and photographer for the “Pacific Stars and Stripes,” a newspaper that reported on matters related to the United States Armed Forces. He worked as a reporter in Tokyo and the Philippines, and was later promoted to Bureau Chief in Taipei, Taiwan.

In 1962 Griffin left the armed services alleging financial difficulties and moved to New York City, where he was hired as a reporter for The Associated Press. He wrote for the series "The Deepening Crisis," which documented racial inequalities and a growing Civil Rights movement in the United States. The series was published from July 28 to August 9, 1963, and was subsequently nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in Journalism. Griffin later worked as a general assignment reporter for The New York Times.

Since many of Griffin's assignments for The Associated Press and The New York Times included Martin Luther King, Jr.’s marches and conventions, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference asked him to serve as a public relations aide to the organization from 1965 to 1967. Griffin’s job was to write press statements, help create monthly newsletters and aid in writing King's speeches. After King’s death Griffin worked for Motown Records producing recordings of King's speeches. The recording “Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam” won a Grammy Award in 1970.

Griffin retired from Motown Records in 1982 as vice-president of public relations. He returned to school to earn a Bachelor of Science in English Literature, a Master of Science in American Studies and a Ph.D. in English. Griffin taught for a while in Michigan before becoming Virginia’s Emory and Henry College Scholar in Residence until 2001. He died of heart problems on June 1st, 2005, in St. Helena Island, South Carolina.

Scope and Contents

The Junius Griffin papers contain news clippings, photographs, and documents spanning 1955-1977. A portion of the material documents his time as reporter for the United States Army in Asia; while the other charts his work within the United States covering the Civil Rights movement for The Associated Press. The collection also includes a small amount of family photographs, personal letters, and personal documents dated from 1962 to 1977.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was purchased from McBlain Books in 2013.

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Carla Ruas on April 08, 2014.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Contact:
The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA