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Nudie Williams Papers

Identifier: MC 1749

Scope and Content Note

The collection includes materials related to Nudie Williams' academic and professional career at Oklahoma State University and the University of Arkansas. It also includes materials related to the university and local African-American communities in Stillwater and northwest Arkansas. Also included are materials, including course outlines, exams, lectures, and evaluations, for general American history, African-American, and African history courses. The collection includes original research materials on the African-American experience in the American West, focusing on African-American lawmen serving the Western District Court of Arkansas; migration to Oklahoma and Kansas; newspapers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; and the Moses Fleetwood Walker family of Ohio. Other research materials relate to broad themes in African-American and African history.

Materials include correspondence, office papers, note cards, newspapers, newspaper clippings, posters, and other paper documents. Also included are monographs and scholarly journals related to African-American studies. The collection includes photographs, video tapes, and a CD. Artifacts include a fraternity brick and a name plate.


  • Creation: 1804-2004
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1952-2003


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Access Information

Please call (479) 575-8444 or email at least two weeks in advance of your arrival to ensure availability of the materials.

Use Information

All materials related to the promotion of Nudie Williams are restricted until 2020.

No Interlibrary Loan.

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Biographical Note

Nudie Williams was born in Fairfield, Alabama, near Birmingham, on October 16, 1936, the son of Lula Bell and Samuel Ellis Williams. Growing up in the segregated South, he attended the prestigious African-American institution Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia; a General Sciences major, he graduated in 1959. He served as an electronics specialist in the United States Air Force from 1960 to 1968. In 1966 he married Willie Mae Stephens of Youngstown, Ohio; they had one child.

After leaving the military he worked for American Airlines in 1969-1971, based in Tulsa. Afterwards he enrolled in the graduate History program at Oklahoma State University (OSU) in Stillwater. Serving as a teaching fellow and part-time instructor, he was a student of Odie B. Faulk during his tenure at OSU. He completed his master’s degree in 1973, submitting the thesis “A History of the American Southwest: Black United States Deputy Marshals in the Indian Territory, 1875-1907.” He remained at OSU for his doctoral work, completing his Ph.D. in History in 1977; his dissertation was entitled “Black Newspapers and the Exodusters.”

He was hired by the University of Arkansas as an instructor of History in 1976, being promoted to assistant professor in 1977. In 1984 he received a Fulbright Fellowship to West Africa, and in 1988-1989 he was a Ford Foundation Fellow in Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. In 1988 he was promoted to the rank of associate professor. During his career he sought to make the university more responsive to the needs of African-American students, faculty and staff. He served as a minority student advisor and helped to develop the African-American studies curriculum. Beginning in 1979 he served as chairman of the Black Studies Committee. In 1989 he received the Office of Minority Affair’s Martin Luther King Faculty/Staff Leadership Award. In 1993 he was named the Fulbright College Advisor of the Year. He also published numerous articles related to African-American history, and participated in non-university activities including chairing the board of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. Heart surgery curtailed his activities from 1997 to 2002, and he died of heart failure on July 16, 2003.


21 Linear Feet (24 boxes, one folder)

Arrangement of the Papers

Materials are divided into three series.

  1. Series 1. Nudie Williams Personal and Professional Materials
  2. Series 2. Research Materials and Notes
  3. Series 3. Oversize, Audio-Visual, and Other Materials

Acquisition Information

The Nudie Williams Papers were donated to Special Collections by Dr. Charles F. Robinson of Fayetteville in two accessions, the first on February 1, 2005, and the second on February 18, 2008.

Processing Information

Processed by Todd E. Lewis; completed in April 2009.

Nudie Williams Papers
Todd E. Lewis
April 2009
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Department Repository

University of Arkansas Libraries
365 N. McIlroy Avenue
Fayetteville AR 72701 United States
(479) 575-8444