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Guide to the Jesse W. and Marcella Ford Papers
MS 10  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Access Restrictions
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Bibliography

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Jesse W. and Marcella Ford papers
    Dates: 1907-2002
    Collection number: MS 10
    Creator: Ford, Jesse William, 1890-1972.
    Creator: Ford, Marcella, 1900-2002.
    Collection Size: 6.75 linear feet (6 boxes + 2 oversized boxes)
    Repository: African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)
    Oakland, CA 94612
    Abstract: The Jesse W. and Marcella Ford Papers includes correspondence, clippings, photographs, reports, and artifacts that document the life and activities of Jesse W. and Marcella Ford.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    No access restrictions. Collection is open to the public.

    Access Restrictions

    Materials are for use in-library only, non-circulating.

    Publication Rights

    Permission to publish from the Jesse W. and Marcella Ford Papers must be obtained from the African American Museum & Library at Oakland.

    Preferred Citation

    Jesse W. and Marcella Ford papers, MS 10, African American Museum & Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library. Oakland, California.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Sean Heyliger, January 30, 2013. Edited because of additions, Sean Heyliger, 01/24/2014. Updated by Sean Heyliger to add Acc. #2017-053 on November 14, 2017.Updated by Sean Heyliger to add Acc. #2018-002 on January 13, 2018.

    Biography / Administrative History

    Jesse William Ford
    Jesse William Ford was born on January 9, 1890 in Dobson, Mississippi to David and Mattie Barnes Ford. After graduating from Spring Hill High School in Florence, Mississippi, he moved to Little Rock, Arkansas during World War I and shortly thereafter in 1925 became employed with the Pullman Company as a sleeping car porter, a position he would keep until his retirement in 1960. In 1926, he moved to Oakland, California and was active in numerous clubs, organizations, and churches. He was a co-organizer of the Oakland camp of American Woodmen and served as a member of the Board of Deacons of United Beth Eden Baptist Church in Oakland for over 30 years.
    Marcella Ford
    Marcella Ford was born on August 30, 1900 in Athens Georgia and raised in Chicago, Illinois the daughter of a Baptist minister. She married a minister and began taking seminary classes in Chicago at Northern Baptist Seminary, but following the death of her first husband, she moved to Oakland, California where she married Jesse William Ford in 1934. Upon arriving in Oakland, she became active in in the Beth Eden Christian Education Program and helped to establish the Board of Education at the church. While working on her master's degree in Christian education from American Baptist Seminary of the West, she began teaching classes in the Oakland public schools. Following graduation from the seminary she received an appointment to teach from the Education Ministry at Valley Forge and taught at two American Baptist schools. After a year of teaching at the Mather Boarding School for Girls in Beaufort, South Carolina, she returned to her alma mater, Shaw University, where she worked for ten years as an assistant director and teacher in the School of Christian Education. With fellow Beth Eden member and teacher, Katheryne Favors, Ford developed the first course on teaching African American history to elementary and high school students. In the fall of 1962, Ford taught the first course, History and Culture of the American Negro, at Berkeley Adult Evening School, the first course of its kind in the Bay Area. After two years of teaching, she became an education consultant helping Bay Area schools establish curriculum on black history. For her contributions to education and dedication to African American history, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from her alma mater Shaw University in 1982.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Jesse W. and Marcella Ford Papers includes correspondence, clippings, photographs, reports, and artifacts that document the life and activities of Jesse W. and Marcella Ford. The collection is organized into three series: Marcella Ford, Jesse W. Fords, and photographs. The collection of archival material related to Marcella Ford includes correspondence to Ford organized by subject, her resume, newspaper clippings related to her work as an early educator of African American history, one typescript manuscript on Oakland's history, badges from conventions attended by Ford, a scrapbook of programs and correspondence related to conventions held by the National Council of Negro Women, and proclamations honoring Ford's contributions to education. The Jesse W. Ford series includes assorted correspondence written to Ford; assorted letters, programs, and artifacts related to his involvement in various social clubs and organization in the Oakland area; manuals, brochures, and correspondence related to his employment with the Pullman Company and member of the Union of Sleeping Car Porters; and a scrapbook of funeral programs attended by Ford. The photograph series includes assorted photographs of Jesse W. and Marcella Ford and relatives and friends between 1907-2001.


    Series I. Marcella Ford Series II. Jesse William Ford Series III. Photographs

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Ford, Marcella, 1900-2002.
    Ford, Jesse William, 1890-1972.
    National Council of Negro Women--History--Sources.
    Pullman Company--Employees.
    Oakland (Calif.)--History--20th century.
    Oakland (Calif.)--Social life and customs.

    Atkinson, Nicole. Dr. Marcella Ford: Tireless Crusader. From the Archives: Newsletter of the African American Museum and Library at Oakland Winter 1994: 3, 7.