Pruitt (Earle E.), 1902-1955; Papers
University Archives and Records CenterLouisville, Kentucky 40292
Open to researchers
[Identification of item], Earle E. Pruitt Papers, ca. 1925-1956, University Archives and Records Center, University of Louisville, Louisville.
3.50 linear ft.
Earle E. Pruitt, a prominent Louisville black, was employed for many years as a pullman car porter for the L & N railroad. From 1927 to 1940 he and his wife Della lived in a home they owned at 305 S. 28th Street. Pruitt received a L.L.B. degree from Simmons University's law department in 1931 and attended Louisville Municipal College (formerly Simmons University) during 1934 and 1935. While at LMC he was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. During the 1930s and 1940s, Pruitt was active in charitable causes in Louisville, among them the War Fund, Red Cross, and March of Dimes. He was also active in the Colored Democratic Party, serving as chair in 1936.
About 1939 (the Housing authority cannot verify a date) Earle Pruitt was employed by the Louisville Municipal Housing Commission as manager at Beecher Terrace. That experience helped him secure a position with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) in 1944 and 1945. He was sent to London in 1944 and in April, 1945 spoke the issue of public housing over the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), with two copies of his script found in the collection. As an UNRRA finance officer, he made temporary duty trips to Europe - Grenville and Jullonville, France and Frankfort, Germany. In 1945 Pruitt returned to Louisville and resumed his duties with the housing commission.
Numerous certificates and awards in the collection testify to Pruitt's public life. In 1937 the Commonwealth of Kentucky honored him as a member of the Colored Welfare Board and in 1949 he was appointed to the Veterans Reemployment Rights Committee for Kentucky. His interest in education is mirrored by a 1952 appointment to the Board of Regents of Kentucky State College, a seat on the Governor's Commission on Education Desegregation and to the Advisory Commission of the Division of Library Extension and in 1956 he received an honorary L.L.B. from Monrovia, Liberia College and Industrial Institute.
The Earle E. Pruitt Papers, ca.1925-1956 came to the attention of the donor at a yard sale, where first saw several photographs contained in the collection. Further investigation revealed additional materials, all purchased by the seller during an auction at a house that presumably belonged to a Pruitt heir. The donor purchased the entire collection and in turn it was purchased by the University Archives.
The papers include a number of routine personal andfinancial documents and give a glimpse of Pruitt's entire life. The bulk of the collection illustrates his wartime service with UNNRA. The variety of letters, telegrams, UNRRA bulletins, requisition forms, displaced persons registration forms and temporary duty (TDY) orders provide an excellent overview of that experience.
Other materials give an insight into Pruitt's experiences with local public housing, particularly Beecher Terrace, where he served as manager. A Beecher Terrace clipping scrapbook is found. There are also a number of family photographs, ca.1930s and a group photo, ca.1934-1935, of the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity taken at the University of Louisville before integration. There are also brochures from Pruitt's A.M.E. Zion Church. The collection ends with 15 certificates from the late 1940s and 1950s, several from the Commonwealth of Kentucky which certify Pruitt as a member of such boards and commissions as the Governors Commission on Education Desegregation, the Kentucky State College Board of Regents and the State Veterans Reemployment Rights Committee for Kentucky.
includes 11/7/44 note from Mayor Wilson Wyatt and items relating to talk on public housing given over BBC, April, 1945
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