EVANS, MARI, 1923-2017.
Mari Evans papers, circa 1900-2012 [bulk 1960-2012]

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322

404-727-6887

rose.library@emory.edu

Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/fhg6r

Collection Stored Off-Site

All or portions of this collection are housed off-site. Materials can still be requested but researchers should expect a delay of up to two business days for retrieval.


Descriptive Summary

Creator: Evans, Mari, 1923-2017.
Title: Mari Evans papers, circa 1900-2012 [bulk 1960-2012]
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 1284
Extent: 49 linear ft. (98 boxes), 1 oversized paper (OP) 5 bound volumes (BV), AV Masters: 9.5 linear feet (10 boxes) 0.5 linear feet (1 box) of born digital material (BD)
Abstract:Papers of African American writer, poet, educator, playwright, musician, and activist Mari Evans, including correspondence, writings, subject files, professional and personal papers, printed material, photographs, audiovisual material, and born digital material.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Special restrictions apply: Collection stored off-site. Researchers must contact the Rose Library in advance to access this collection.

Use copies have not been made for audiovisual material in this collection. Researchers must contact the Rose Library at least two weeks in advance for access to these items. Collection restrictions, copyright limitations, or technical complications may hinder the Rose Library's ability to provide access to audiovisual material.

Researchers must contact the Rose Library in advance for access to unprocessed born digital materials in this collection. Collection restrictions, copyright limitations, or technical complications may hinder the Rose Library's ability to provide access to unprocessed born digital materials.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Special restrictions apply: Printed or manuscript music in this collection that is still under copyright protection and is not in the Public Domain may not be photocopied or photographed. Researchers must provide written authorization from the copyright holder to request copies of these materials.

Separated Material

Separated Materials: The Rose Library holds printed material formerly owned by Mari Evans. These materials may be located in the Emory University online catalog by searching for: Evans, Mari, former owner.

Separated Material

Some items from this collection have been cataloged individually. These materials may be located in the Emory University online catalog by searching for Evans, Mari, former owner.

Source

Purchase, 2013.

Citation

[after identification of item(s)], Mari Evans papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Processing

Arranged and described at the folder level by Charmaine Bonner, August 2017.


Collection Description

Biographical Note

Mari Evans, African American writer, poet, educator, musician, and activist was born in Toledo, Ohio, on July 16, 1919, to William Reed Evans and Mary Jane Jacobs. Evans' mother died when she was seven years old, and Evans was raised by her father with the assistance of several guardians. From 1939-1941, Evans attended the University of Toledo (Toledo, Ohio), majoring in fashion design. Mari Evans married and had two children, Evan and Derek. After leaving the University of Toledo, Evans divorced and moved to the East Coast to pursue a career as a musician. During this time, Evans performed and created music with notable jazz musicians, such as Wes Montgomery. In 1947, Evans moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where she lived for the remainder of her life.

During the 1950s, Evans worked a variety of jobs, including with the Indiana Housing Authority and the United States Civil Service. In the 1960s, Evans became an active figure in the Black Arts Movement. She published in a variety of publications including in the Langston Hughes’ edited volume of New Negro Poets, U.S.A in 1964. She published her first book, Where is All the Music, in 1968, and, in 1970, she published her second and most acclaimed poetry book, I Am a Black Woman. During this period, Evans created, directed, and produced a television show called The Black Experience, which aired on the Indianapolis public access channel. The weekly half hour series featured topics for and about the Black community. The Black Experience was an educational program intended to inform the Black viewer and, at the same time, provide relief from the tense political and social climate through Black musical history.

Evans began her career as an educator in 1969 as a writer in residence at Indiana University. She taught and served as writer in residence at several universities and colleges including Spelman College (Atlanta, Georgia), Cornell University (Ithaca, New York), Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois), and Indiana-Purdue University (Indianapolis, Indiana). Evans also wrote plays during this period including River of My Song and Eyes, which was an adaptation of Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.

In addition to teaching, writing, and criminal justice system advocacy work, Evans volunteered in elementary and secondary schools. She was also involved with nonprofit organizations such as Girls, Inc. of Greater Indianapolis and the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). Outside of academia and teaching, Evans attended the MacDowell Writers Colony in 1975 and Yaddo writers retreat in 1984. Evans continued to write and teach throughout the 1980s through the 2000s. In 2006, she published her last book, Clarity as Concept: A Poet's Perspective, a collection of essays on a myriad of topics such as family, literature, and politics.

Evans died on Friday, March 10, 2017, in Indianapolis, Indiana. She was 97 years old.

Mari Evans, African American writer, poet, educator, musician, and activist was born in Toledo, Ohio, on July 16, 1919, to William Reed Evans and Mary Jane Jacobs. Evans' mother died when she was seven years old, and Evans was raised by her father with the assistance of several guardians. From 1939-1941, Evans attended the University of Toledo (Toledo, Ohio), majoring in fashion design. Mari Evans married and had two children, Evan and Derek. After leaving the University of Toledo, Evans divorced and moved to the East Coast to pursue a career as a musician. During this time, Evans performed and created music with notable jazz musicians, such as Wes Montgomery. In 1947, Evans moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where she lived for the remainder of her life.

During the 1950s, Evans worked a variety of jobs, including with the Indiana Housing Authority and the United States Civil Service. In the 1960s, Evans became an active figure in the Black Arts Movement. She published in a variety of publications including in the Langston Hughes’ edited volume of New Negro Poets, U.S.A in 1964. She published her first book, Where is All the Music, in 1968, and, in 1970, she published her second and most acclaimed poetry book, I Am a Black Woman. During this period, Evans created, directed, and produced a television show called The Black Experience, which aired on the Indianapolis public access channel. The weekly half hour series featured topics for and about the Black community. The Black Experience was an educational program intended to inform the Black viewer and, at the same time, provide relief from the tense political and social climate through Black musical history.

Evans began her career as an educator in 1969 as a writer in residence at Indiana University. She taught and served as writer in residence at several universities and colleges including Spelman College (Atlanta, Georgia), Cornell University (Ithaca, New York), Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois), and Indiana-Purdue University (Indianapolis, Indiana). Evans also wrote plays during this period including River of My Song and Eyes, which was an adaptation of Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.

In addition to teaching, writing, and criminal justice system advocacy work, Evans volunteered in elementary and secondary schools. She was also involved with nonprofit organizations such as Girls, Inc. of Greater Indianapolis and the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). Outside of academia and teaching, Evans attended the MacDowell Writers Colony in 1975 and Yaddo writers retreat in 1984. Evans continued to write and teach throughout the 1980s through the 2000s. In 2006, she published her last book, Clarity as Concept: A Poet's Perspective, a collection of essays on a myriad of topics such as family, literature, and politics.

Evans died on Friday, March 10, 2017, in Indianapolis, Indiana. She was 97 years old.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of the papers of Mari Evans from 1900-2012. The bulk of the materials date from 1960-2012. The collection includes correspondence, writings, subject files, professional and personal papers, printed materials, photographs, audiovisual materials, and born digital materials.

Correspondence reveals the relationships Evans had with notable writers, teachers, musicians, and actors such as Langston Hughes, Pearl Cleage, Nikki Giovanni, and Gwendolyn Brooks, among others. The letters are mostly professional regarding Evans work, upcoming events and teaching, but there are some letters about Evans' family life and current events.

Writings by Evans consist of speeches, essays, novels, poems, and writings by others sent to Evans or concerning Evans. Original drafts of stage plays, poems, books, and musical compositions are also included. Some notable writings includes, Eyes, which was an original screenplay adapted from the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God and The Daybreak Project which was to be a series highlight Black women writers.

Subject files include materials that document Evans involvement in organizations and events that are located in the Professional and Personal papers series. As well as a scarf given to Evans by actor Rosalind Cash and an Oscar Micheaux button.

Professional and personal papers include material relating to Evans' teaching career such as syllabi and student papers. This series also documents professional events that Evans attended, as well as personal financial and household records. The printed materials series contains magazines, newspapers, programs, flyers, and other printed material collected by Evans. Photographs capture professional speaking engagements, conferences, and similar events, as well as family and friends. The audiovisual series contains content that is almost entirely professional in nature. The bulk of the audiovisual material is from Evans' television show, The Black Experience, and the writer Margaret Walker’s segment of the Daybreak Project. The born digital material includes one floppy disk containing files relating to Margaret Walker.

Arrangement Note

Organized into seven series: (1) Correspondence, (2) Writings, (3) Subject files, (4) Professional and personal papers, (5) Printed materials, (6) Photographs, (7) Audiovisual materials.


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Description of Series

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