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James Haskins was a social activist, an award winning author of over 100 adult and children's books, and a professor in the University of Florida Department of English. His book The Cotton Club was made into a major film in 1984.
The James S. Haskins Collection contains books and manuscripts written by Haskins, as well as books from his personal collection, including many children's, historical, psychological, and anthropological works used in his research. A substantial number of books from his personal collection are signed first editions, from many respected authors in the field of children's literature and African American Studies. Haskins' personal and professional papers include photographs, research materials, notes, and correspondence with civil rights leaders, social figures and well known African Americans in the fields of music, politics and sports.
The guide to the James Haskins Papers is available online and the papers are open to the public for research. Selected materials have been digitized and are available in the UF Digital Collections. Materials from the collection also have been featured in exhibitions, including James Haskins: Author, Teacher and Social Activist in 2011 and Jim Haskins: The Professor, the Writer, and the Activist in 2008. In 2011, Stephanie Y. Evans and Sharon D. Wright Austin edited Diaries of a Prolific Professor : Undergraduate Research from the James Haskins Manuscript Collection, published jointly by the UF African American Studies Program and the Smathers Libraries.