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James Haskins: James Haskins Collection

James S. Haskins, professor in the UF Department of English, was a social activist, an educator and an award winning author of over 100 adult and children's books. His book, "The Cotton Club," was made into a major film in 1984.

The Writing of I Am Rosa Parks

When collaborating with Rosa Parks on the book, I Am Rosa Parks, Haskins spent many hours talking to Ms. Parks about her life and experiences in the Civil Rights Movement.  He recorded these frank and often humerous conversations on audiocassettes, which were donated to the Smathers Libraries upon his death. 

A recent oral history digitatization project included the fourteen recorded conversations, placing the audio and written transcripts up for public access in the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC).  while the digitatization project is still in operation, two of the interviews are linked below:

Rosa Parks: Interview 1

Rosa Parks: Interview 2


About the Collection

The James Haskins Collection consists of over 3,000 books, manuscripts and papers.  When searching the collection, you will find copies of Dr. Haskins works such as, African Heroes, The Harlem Renaissance, The Cotton Club, and I Have a Dream : the Life and Words of Martin Luther King, Jr. You will also discover copies of books from Professor Haskins' personal collection, including many children's titles and other historical, psyschological and anthropological works that he used in his research.  A substantial number of books from his personal collection are signed first editions, from many respected authors in the field of children's literature and African American Studies.

Some items of interest are:

  • Copies of Haskins' works (listed in the UF Libraries Catalog)
  • Photographs used in the writing and printing of his biographies
  • Original manuscripts of unpublished works
  • Correspondence with civil rights leaders, social figures and well known African Americans in the fields of music, politics and sports
  • Personal papers

The Special Collections staff and the librarian for African American Studies will be happy to consult with you and help you find the materials that you need for your research.

Special Collections

Most of the Haskins Collection is accessible in the second floor Reading Room of Special and Area Studies Collections, housed in Smathers Library (Library East).


Video Tour of Smathers Library

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