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Jasper Alston Atkins papers

Call Number: MS 1811

Scope and Contents

The papers document the career of Jasper Alston Atkins, particularly his more notable court cases. The papers consist largely of legal documents and clippings relating to those cases.

The Jasper Alston Atkins Papers were processed as part of a collaborative effort between Manuscripts and Archives and the Yale Law School to document the careers and accomplishments of law school faculty and alumni.


  • 1922-1997


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Original audiovisual materials, as well as preservation and duplicating masters, may not be played. Researchers must consult use copies, or if none exist must pay for a use copy, which is retained by the repository. Researchers wishing to obtain an additional copy for their personal use should consult Copying Services information on the Manuscripts and Archives web site.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by Jasper Alston Atkins has been transferred to Yale University. These materials may be used for non-commercial purposes without seeking permission from Yale University as the copyright holder. For other uses of these materials, please contact

Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Simona Atkins Allen and Anna Atkins Simkins, 2002-2003.


Arranged in two series and one addition: I. Legal Papers, 1925-1973. II. Personal Papers and Photographs, 1922-1997.


2 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The papers consist of legal documents, writings, clippings, correspondence, and photographs that document the career of Jasper Alston Atkins. The papers emphasize Atkins' civil rights court cases.

Biographical / Historical

Jasper Alston Atkins was born August 8, 1898, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He attended Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, and graduated magna cum laude in 1919. He then entered Yale Law School and received an LL.B. degree in 1922. While at Yale, he served as editor of the Yale Law Journal and, upon graduation, was elected to the national honor society, the Order of the Coif.

Atkins started practicing law in 1922 in Muskogee, Oklahoma, with the firm Wesley & Atkins. From 1927 to 1936, he lived in Houston, Texas, and was a partner in the firms Wesley & Atkins and Nabrit, Atkins & Wesley. While in Houston, he also worked as the editor of the Houston Informer and Texas Freeman. Atkins returned to Winston-Salem in 1936 to work for Winston-Salem Teachers College, a school founded by his father. He held the position of executive secretary at the college from 1936 to 1960. He returned to newspaper editing upon retirement from the college, serving as an executive editor for the Freedmen's Publishing Company.

Throughout his career, Jasper Alston Atkins fought for civil rights. In 1935, he appeared before the Supreme Court in the case of Grovey v. Townsend, arguing against a Texas state law that prohibited African-Americans from voting in primary elections. He returned to the Supreme Court in 1959 to argue against the segregation of public golf courses in Wolfe v. State of North Carolina. A suit he filed in 1968, Atkins, Pro Se v. State Board of Education of North Carolina, continuing as Allen v. State Board of Education of North Carolina in 1970, is credited with instigating the discontinuation of the separate but equal policy concerning educational facilities in Winston-Salem and the state of North Carolina.

Jasper Alston Atkins died on June 28, 1982, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Guide to the Jasper Alston Atkins Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Mike Strom
February 2003
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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