Valerie Cunningham Papers, 1984-2010

Collection number: MC 321
Size: (6 boxes) (6 cu.ft.)

About Valerie Cunningham

Valerie Cunningham, award-winning historic preservationist and Portsmouth native, has spent more than forty years researching and writing about northern New England’s Black history. An energetic community activist, she is the founder of the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail, Inc., and directs the African American Resource Center. For more information, see Cunningham's biography at the Discover Portsmouth Center.

About the Valerie Cunningham Papers (1984-2010)

Materials show the activites Valerie was involved in: including Blues Bank Collective, Black Heritage Trail, Black Heritage Blues Festival, NH Circle of Friends, NAACP, MLK Holidays in NH, being part of the Seacoast African-American Cultural Center, creating sister city for Portsmouth in Acca, Ghana, her research on Black History here in New Hampshire and other New England States.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open.

Copyright Notice

Contents of this collection are governed by U.S. copyright law. For questions about publication or reproduction rights, contact Special Collections staff.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], [Folder], [Box], Valerie Cunningham Papers, 1984-2010, MC 321, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Donation of Valerie Cunningham, 2010

  • MC 216 The Sinclair Family Papers / Rock Rest Papers (Milne Special Collections and Archives)
  • MC 217 The Friends of the Pearl Collection (Milne Special Collections and Archives)
  • MC 218 The Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail Papers (Milne Special Collections and Archives)

Separated Material

Duplicates and unrelated material were removed.

Collection Arrangement

Original order was not discernable upon acquisition. An artifical order was imposed by subject and then chronologically within that.

Collection Contents

Box 1
Blues & Black Heritage Festivals; Clippings & Photos

Materials regarding: Blues Bank Collective; Blues Festivals, 1984 – 2004; Portsmouth Black Heritage Festivals, 1985 – 2005; TJ Wheeler: Hope, Hero and Blues Program, 1999 and miscellaneous papers showing TJ Wheeler’s activities; Newspaper Articles and Clippings; Misc. and undated photos; Master copy of “Black Heritage Trail Resource Book” and a published copy.

Box 2
Sister City; Seacoast African–American Cultural Center; Publications

Materials concerning the creation of a Sister City of Portsmouth in Ghana; materials pertaining to Seacoast African–American Cultural Center (SAACC); copies of Valerie Cunningham publications and a folder of Award Certificates.

Box 3
NAACP Materials

Materials concerning the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), 1965 – 2010; including a Brief History of Seacoast NAACP, National NAACP By-laws and NAACP Newsletters, 1965 – 2010.

Box 4
Volunteering; Awards

Materials related to the volunteer group called the “New Hampshire Circle Of Friends” from 2003 – 2010. There folders containing administrative paperwork, Scholarships, projects and events. Also there are 3 award plaques: 1991 from Martin Luther King Jr. Coalition, 1992 UNH Presidental award of excellence, 2001 Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society.

Box 5
Black History in New England: Research Materials

Research materials of Black history for New England States: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Rhode Island. Also a 1923 "Pageant of Portsmouth" panoramic photo

Box 6
Black History in the Broader US: Research Materials

Research materials for Black history in the United States including the subjects of churches, KKK, underground railroad, etc.



Genealogical Papers
Newspapers & Publications
Photographs, Slides & Negatives