HomeFinding Aid to the Collection

Finding Aid to the Collection

Birmingham Black Radio Museum Archives

A finding aid to the Collection 


Birmingham, Alabama



Collection Summary

Title: Birmingham Black Radio Museum Archives

Span dates: 1935-1989

Bulk dates: (bulk 1950-1980)

Creator: Bob Friedman

Lindsey Reynolds

Extent: 500 items; 10 containers plus 1 oversize container.

Language: Collection materials are in English

Location: Birmingham Black Radio Museum, Carver Theater, Birmingham, AL.

Summary: Ephemera and photographs documenting African American life in Birmingham through the lens of radio broadcasting, news clippings, and sponsored events. Concentration of materials related to disc jockeys, program schedules, and local stations.

Administrative Information


The archive of the Birmingham Black Radio Museum was collected by museum founder Bob Friedman.

Copyright Status

The status of copyright in the unpublished archives of the Birmingham Black Radio Museum is reserved. Consult museum staff for further information.

Access and restrictions

Restrictions apply governing the use, duplication, or publication of items in this collection. Consult museum staff for information concerning these restrictions. 

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: [Box number], [folder number], Birmingham Black Radio Museum Archive, Birmingham, Alabama.

Scope and Content Note

The archive collection of the Birmingham Black Radio Museum spans the years 1936-1989, with the bulk of the material dating from 1950-1979. The archives contain photographs, news clippings, stationary, technical specs and operating manuals, radio logs, engineering reports and schematics, financial and legal records, promotional materials and ephemera, and correspondence with the Federal Communications Commission. The collection is in English and is arranged in one series. 

Arrangement of the Papers

This collection is arranged chronologically at the item level.

Container List

BOX 1: 1936-1949

62 folders 

Radio logs from local newspapers, sheet music, technical schematics for radios and microphones, engineering contracts and sales reports, WJLD letterhead, photographs of local gospel groups such as The Heavenly Four, the Sterling Jubilee Singers, and the Kelly Choral Singers. Copies of photographs of local radio disc jockeys including Joe Rumore and Bob Umbach, WJLD engineer Ben Franklin, copies of photographs of buildings and blocks in Birmingham and Bessemer where radio stations were located, promotional material for regional black radio stations, record companies, and local social clubs, news clippings of stories reporting new radio stations, sales of stations, etc.

Box 2: 1950-1953

54 folders

Copies of radio logs focusing on three black radio stations: WJLD, WBCO, and WEDR, photographs of local gospel groups from Morrow studios, photographs of disc jockeys Honey Brown, Bob Umbach, Shelley Stewart, Truman Puckett, Eddie Castleberry, William McKinstry, Erskine Faush, Walter Anglin, and Gatemouth Moore from the collection of A.G. Gaston, Instructional manuals and technical specs for radio equipment. Clippings from the Birmingham News, Birmingham World, and Birmingham Weekly Review, photographs, and ephemera illustrating African American life and community at the time including the Birmingham Black Barons, the Madison Night Spot in Bessemer, Elk’s Hall, and images of spelling bees and beauty contests hosted by various radio stations. Also included is a copy of the Rhythm and Blues Jazz Scrapbook by Thurston Moore, published in 1952.

Box 3: 1954-1959

48 folders

Radio logs, photographs of local groups including the Gospel Five and the Ensley Jubilees, photographs and promo cards of local disc jockeys Tiger Thompson, Andrew “Sugardaddy” Dawkins, Duke Rumore, RJ Pope, Bruce Payne, Ed “Johnny Jive” McClure, Alma Johnson, and WJ Allen, some from the scrapbooks of Ed McClure. Ephemera and news clippings of African American life at the time including the Gray Stone Club in Fairfield, beauty contests, advertisements for black-owned businesses, telephone bills, promotional items for music shows and radio stations, business cards, photographs of the WJLD radio station building and tower, invitations, clippings from Ebony magazine, and civil rights related clippings from Birmingham newspapers.

Box 4: 1960-1966

 56 folders

Radio logs, technical specs and operating manuals, broadcast maps, material from the WJLD radio station including contracts, receipts, copy sheets, and contracts, and photographs of the station, photographs from the Chris McNair Studios including radio personalities Roy Wood, Tall Paul White, Larry Hargrove, Son Rose Rutledge aka “Gay Poppa”, Papa Rock, Shelley Stewart, Erskine Faush, Walter Anglin, Johnny Jackson, Johnny Jive, Sam “00” Moore, and the general manager of WJLD at the time, Otis Dodge. Photographs and ephemera including radio-sponsored Platter Queen beauty contests, station softball teams, church fans, and clippings from the Birmingham Post Herald and Jet Magazine.

Box 5: 1967-1969

40 folders

Photographs and negatives from Chris McNair photography studios of Black radio disc jockeys Andrew Fields, Walter Anglin, Jimmy Lawson, Ed McClure, Lewis White, Willie McKinstry, and Ronald Jaye aka “Doc Lee”, ephemera from the WJLD radio station including copy sheets, engineering reports, advertisements and ratings, stationary, and audience data reports. Radio buyer’s guides, WENN program logs, photographs from WJLD sponsored basketball teams and Platter Queen beauty contests, correspondence to the FCC from WJLD asking for increased frequency and from WENN to create an FM station.

Box 6: 1970-1974

39 folders

Letterhead from the WJLD and WZZK stations, photographs of the WJLD studio including disc jockeys at the board, photographs of disc jockeys Rick Upshaw, Jimmy Lawson, William McKinstry, Tall Paul White, and Shelley Stewart. Sales contracts from the WBUL station, ratings books, correspondence with the FCC including job descriptions, permits to change location, radio tower construction at Red Mountain, and an equal employment opportunity investigation at the WJLD and WENN radio stations including allegations by traffic manager Beverly Brazier and an application by the Hertz Broadcasting Company which owned the two stations to renew their broadcast licenses.

Box 7: 1975-1979

45 folders

Photographs from Chris McNair Studios of radio disc jockeys Erskine Faush, Al Isaacs, Ron January, Pat WIlliams,  Paul White, Shelley Pope aka “the Black Pope”, Weldon Clark, Maurice “Thin Man” King, Shelley Stewart, Lester Young, Gary Richardson, and John Streeter. Stationary from WENN, news clippings announcing the renewal of broadcast licenses for WENN by the Booker T. Washington Broadcast Company which was owned by A.G. Gaston, photographs by Lucious Washington of disc jockeys Al Bell, Stan “the Man” Granger, Leo Taylor, Lee “Brown Sugar” Sherman, Victor Boykin aka “Spider Man”, Paul White, Jimmy Lawson, Shelley Pope, and Tony Brown.

Box 8: 1980-1989

63 folders

Ephemera from the WJLD station including maintenance logs, rate cards, continuity sheets, operator’s permits, and photographs of disc jockeys. Ephemera from the gospel station WAYE including stationary, sign-off sheets, certificates of merit, program logs, and news clippings. Ephemera from the BUL station including contracts and sign-on logs. Photographs of disc jockeys and events by Chris McNair Studios, Lucious Washington and others. News clippings and flyers for radio sponsored events like dance marathons, live concerts, car giveaways, and beauty pageants. Memorabilia from WJLD including bumper stickers, ballpoint pens, and keychains.

Box 9: Oversized material

Box 10: Material relating to the BBRM collection