NEW YORK, NY.- Swann Galleries
Thursday, March 24 sale Printed Manuscript & African Americana sale will feature important material, from slavery through the civil rights era and into the current period.
Featured is a run of items from the collection of the late Jack Greenberg. After succeeding founder and mentor Thurgood Marshall, Greenberg served as the Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund from 1961 to 1984. While working under Marshall, he helped argue numerous civil rights cases before the Supreme Court and elsewhere, most notably Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. After 1984, Greenberg served as a dean and professor at Columbia.
Highlights from the offering include a first edition of Martin Luther Kings 1964 book Why We Cant Wait, in which King reflects on his 1963 Birmingham campaign. The present copy comes to auction warmly inscribed to Greenberg in appreciation for tremendous legal ability, your genuine humanitarian concern, and your unswerving devotion to the principles of freedom and justice, Martin." Greenberg and the LDF had represented King while he was in the Birmingham jail and helped secure his release. The book is expected to bring $20,000 to $30,000. Also of note is a signed and inscribed photograph of Thurgood Marshall ($5,000-7,500); and a 1955 letter signed by J. Edgar Hoover as the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to Thurgood Marshall written in the wake of the murder of Emmett Till ($2,000-3,000).
Noteworthy literature includes iconic cornerstone pieces such as Benjamin Bannekers first almanac from 1792 ($15,000-25,000); Anna Julia Coopers A Voice from the South, by a Black Woman of the South, 1892 ($4,000-6,000); and the important third edition, second state of Frederick Douglasss Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himselfbound and issued by Douglass at his North Star press ($20,000-30,000).
A substantial archive of Louis Armstrong, with material dating from 1950 to 1970, including signed contracts, travel itineraries ($6,000-9,000), is on offer alongside additional groundbreaking musicians, including a 1911 original copy of Scott Joplins score for Treemonisha: Opera in Three Acts ($4,000-6,000), and various flyers for musical acts from the 1980s to 1990s including Salt-N-Pepa ($1,000-1,500) and OutKast ($1,200-1,800).
Several important lots relating to Black baseball, both from the Negro Leagues and much earlier, feature. Of note is the earliest known photographs of Black ballplayers in action, from circa 1871 ($3,000-4,000); and a scarce complete offering of Our Sports, five issues from 1953, which saw Jackie Robinson as the editor ($800-1,200).