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Gerson Stroud papers

Identifier: MS0266

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the personal and professional papers of Gerson Stroud, a teacher and principal in Charlotte, North Carolina. There is only one document, his diploma, from his high school career at Second Ward High School, though there is more information about the Second Ward High School in documents from school reunions. The Second Ward High School Reunion series consists mainly of programs and other paperwork except for the 1986 reunion in which Stroud was the chairman of the planning committee. These folders contain much of the planning material and notes he took. The collection also contains a scrapbook of photos and other material from reunions of the Second Ward classes of ‘36 and ‘37. After completing high school, he attended Johnson C. Smith University. The only item from this period in this collection is his diploma. The collection picks up in 1942 when Stroud was drafted into the military. His military documents include his draft cards and other official paperwork, correspondences, and souvenirs from the places he served. Most of his time in basic training was at Fort Bragg and his service at Camp Atterbury, with a few postcards and items from Cincinnati and Chicago, and one booklet from Spain. There is also a scrapbook with some of his military papers and other items which he collected while in the Army. The collection contains nothing from his teaching career after the military. There is a teacher’s manual from the Philadelphia school system, but it comes from the time after Stroud was already a principal in Charlotte, NC. The collection picks up again in 1956 when he became principal at the newly formed York Road Junior/Senior High. Most of the York Road documents are faculty handbooks, with a few official papers, special event programs, and a couple reunion related items. There is also a collection of ‘thank you’ letters from students and a teacher at Kennedy Junior High (formerly York Road Junior High) for a presentation he gave on the school’s history in 1991. Also in the collection are diplomas he received from other institutions There are few documents from his tenure as principal at West Charlotte High School, they include a faculty manual, newspaper article, and a program from a ceremony in 1986. All of the items relating to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Retired School Personnel date from 1997 and include a directory and other official paperwork. The documents from the Friends of Johnson C. Smith University are mostly official documents, like meeting agendas and promotional flyers. There is some correspondence involving Johnson C. Smith University’s decision to stop supporting the Friend’s SLAM (Smith Linking Adventures and Motivation) program. The Omega Psi Phi fraternity, Pi Phi Chapter documents consist mostly of yearly handbooks and meeting information. There are also several chapter mailings and promotional materials. The Sigma Pi Phi collection is made up of one yearly budget, an official journal, and copies of its letterhead. The only item from the Pan-Hellenic Council is a 1977-1978 chapter handbook. Items from the social group, the Bridgeteers Club, include a copy of the constitution and by-laws from 1990 with a bridge playing rules and tips and a few other official documents. The documents all date from 1996 and 1997, with nothing between them and the 1990 Constitution. The majority of the items in the Swank Social Club series are official documents such as minutes, meeting agenda, and financial statements. Some programs for club events are also included. All of the Swank Social Club items are from the 1980s and 1990s. The series of family papers contains documents relating to Mr. Stroud’s father-in-law, Arthur Spears, Sr., his mother, Jesse Stroud, and his brother, Linwood Stroud. The documents relating to Mr. Spears have mostly to do with his insurance career with North Carolina Mutual Life and span from 1905 to 1981. Several of these papers relate to his “retirement” in 1955 and company honors after his death. Spears was very involved with getting the Mechanics & Farmers Bank to locate a branch in Charlotte. He also worked for the company as a vice-president. Many of the documents are correspondence made during negotiations to start a new branch location. A copy of the Africo-American Presbyterian Vol. LIII, No. 3 (1932) from Spears has been moved to rare books. There are only two documents related to Jesse Stroud. All of the documents relating to Linwood Stroud have to do with his declining health in 1996 and 1997. The majority of the First United Presbyterian Church documents are bulletins and programs from church ceremonies and functions. There is a single bulletin from Ebenezer Baptist Church. All of the materials from the Simpson-Gillespie United Methodist Church are from the 130th Anniversary Celebration, from May 19-26, 1996. The funeral series contains folders with documents from the funerals of friends and relatives. Most contain the program from the funeral ceremony. Many have obituaries and “thank you” cards. Some have eulogies given by Stroud in his own handwriting. In the case of Lionel Newsome, Stroud put together a tribute booklet for his wife, and also kept programs from memorial tributes. All of the funeral material is from the 1980s and 1990s except for a few thank you cards from the late 1970s. In the Celebrations series there is a set of Father’s Day cards Stroud received in 1997, plus a Father’s Day book mark. The other celebration items are programs, invitations, and/or newspaper articles about the events. The newspaper article series contains articles from the Charlotte Observer that do not apply to other series. Many of them are about African-American history in Charlotte, NC or African-American issues. Two articles are about Mr. and Ms. Stroud. Two more are authored by Ms. Stroud. Most articles date from the 1980s and 1990s but several are earlier or later. The insurance/medical folder contains 3 documents from the 1990s. One item is a letter from an insurance company about benefits, another is a prescription drug claim form, and the other is a certificate from an insurance education program. The miscellaneous folder contains many items that are undated and not titled so their information is largely unknown. Many are handwritten notes by Stroud. Other items include songs, a brochure for Homeland Authentics, a few items mailed to Mr. Stroud, a gold picture of the cruise ship Skyward, and a Dalebrook neighborhood association meeting agenda. The majority of the photograph prints collection is from the 1980s and early 1990s with the exception of a few military photos and some photos from the schools where Stroud was the principal. Photographs in the collection cover various class reunions, fraternity/sorority events, SLAM activities, the Links Inc. 1992 national gathering, Swank Social Club events, funerals, family, friends, and trips taken by the Strouds. The collection has oversized photos of A.E. Spears, Sr, Gerson Stroud, Gerson and Daisy Stroud, Elmer Garinger, the York Road School faculty, and 2 of Spear’s military units. The collection of negative strips contains the same types of photos as the prints. There is some overlap in the photographs from the negative strips and the prints, but each has unique images also. In the three-dimensional series there are five plaques, two from Gerson Stroud, and three from A.E. Spears Sr. There is also a small megaphone from the York Road School, a blue flag from the 365th Infantry Division US Army, nine sets of chopsticks, a copy of the Charlotte ballot from 1937, and two photos mounted on foam board. The collection also contains four VHS tapes with school-related material, two 16mm film rolls of commencement activities, three Scotch 111 audio reels of Omega Psi Phi related material, and a 7 inch record of the York Road High School chorus.


  • Creation: 1905 - 2004


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical Note

Gerson Stroud was born on March 1, 1919 to Jesse and Julius Stroud. Gerson grew up in the city of Charlotte and attended the Second Ward High School from which he graduated in 1936. He then attended Johnson C. Smith University where he graduated with a Bachelor or Arts degree in 1942. Immediately after graduating he was drafted into the army and sent to Fort Bragg for basic training. At Fort Bragg he trained with the Sixteenth Battalion in the field artillery unit. Afterwards he was sent to Camp Atterbury, Indiana; Fort Huachuca, Arizona; and eventually Chicago, Illinois. He was a member of the 92nd Infantry Division as a supply sergeant in the 365th regiment. He served overseas in Italy and attended the military’s University Study Center in Florence. On July 24, 1944 Gerson married Daisy Spears and they would later have three children: Gerson Jr. (now Khalid Abdul Salaam), Karita, and Julius. In 1948 he received his Master of Science degree from the University of Illinois. After his service in the military, Stroud taught at Johnson C. Smith University, Carver College, and West Charlotte High School. In 1955 he became principal of the newly established York Road Junior/Senior High School. In 1963 he received a Certificate of Advanced Study in Education from New York University. He served as principal until Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools were desegregated in 1969 and the school was renamed Kennedy Junior High. He then became principal of West Charlotte Senior High in its first year of integration and stayed until 1974. Afterward, he continued to work in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System as an educational advisor. In 1979 he was picked to be in charge of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg summer school program. In 1980, he received a Doctorate in Humanities from Rust College. He retired from the school system in 1981. Stroud was involved in many community service and social groups, including the Second Ward alumni groups. He served on the board of directors for Central Piedmont Community College from 1977 to 1985. He was the chairman of the planning committee for the Golden Anniversary Reunion for the Second Ward High School classes of ‘36 and ‘37 in 1986. Along with Elizabeth Randolph, he formed the “Friends of Johnson C. Smith University” in 1984 to help the university and community interact more. In 1987 the Friends started “SLAM” (Smith Linking Adventures and Motivation) program in partnership with the group, Cities in Schools, to try and combat the growing number of high school drop-outs. He also served on the board of directors for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Senior Centers and Open Door. Mr. Stroud was also very involved in the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Pi Phi Chapter. He served on several different committees and attended regional and national events. He was also a member of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, the Swank Social Club, and the Bridgeteers—a bridge playing social group. He was also involved at his church, First United Presbyterian, where he was an elder.


3.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This collection includes papers of Gerson Stroud, an educator and principal in the public school system in Charlotte, NC, in the second half of the twentieth century. His papers reflect his personal life and career in education, including his attention to assisting African-American youth.


This collection is organized into thirteen different series, five of which (Educational Career, Community Service, Family Papers, Three-dimensional objects and Photographs - Prints) are further divided into subseries. There are also a few files that do not belong to any series. The thirteen series are: Military Service, Educational Career, Community Service, Family Papers, Churches, Funerals, Celebrations, Scrapbooks, Three-dimensional objects, Photographs - Prints, Photographs - Negative Strips (NST) and Oversize Files.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Mrs. Daisy Spears Stroud in 2006, 2007 and 2009.

Related Materials

Swank Social Club Records, mss 267; Andrew P. Haywood Papers, mss 363; Irwin Avenue Open School Papers, mss 356; Louise A. Lawing Papers, mss 122; Mecklenburg Board of Education Papers, mss 2; Margaret Whitton Ray Papers, mss 131; Piedmont Junior High School Papers, mss 355; Richard Vinroot Papers, mss 259.

Processing Information

Processed by Jonathan Eaker, January-March 2006; and Denelle Eads in 2009 and 2010.

Gerson Stroud papers
Jonathan Eaker, January-March 2006; and Denelle Eads in 2009 and 2010.
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Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States

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