Origin of the Collection

This collection was formed by Jack Rabin, mainly between 1973 and 1975. While teaching public administration in Montgomery, Alabama, Rabin assembled most of the collection through contacts with public administration students who were then working for the Alabama Department of Public Safety and through the active pursuit of primary-source materials from white activists and African-American civil rights leaders, several of whom he photographed. He also toured the area, taking color slides of historically significant African-American churches and of the Selma-to-Montgomery march route, and he acquired three documentary films on civil rights topics. The resulting collection formed the core of his Center for the Study of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Rabin brought the collection north when he took a faculty position in New Jersey in 1980. Having joined the faculty of Penn State Harrisburg in 1988, he donated nearly all of the collection to Special Collections at the University Park campus of Penn State on October 10, 2002, including several items acquired after 1975. Rabin donated a few additional items in 2005.


sign on church in Montgomery, Alabama, October 1974
African American church in Montgomery, Alabama, October 1974



Plaque on the side of the brick church
Day Street Baptist Church


Sign outside the church
First Christian Methodist Episcopal Church