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Guide to the Virna M. Canson Papers
MS 29  
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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
  • Other Finding Aids

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Virna M. Canson papers
    Dates: circa 1900s-2003
    Collection number: MS 29
    Creator: Canson, Virna M., 1921-
    Collection Size: .5 linear feet (1 box + 1 oversized box)
    Repository: African American Museum and Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)
    Oakland, CA 94612
    Abstract: The Virna M. Canson papers include photographs, correspondence, programs, certificates, and newspaper clippings documenting Canson’s activities with the NAACP and credit unions, politics, and her personal and family history.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

    Access

    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 Virna M. Canson Papers must be obtained from the African American Museum and Library at Oakland.

    Preferred Citation

    Virna M. Canson papers, MS 29, African American Museum and Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library. Oakland, California.

    Processing Information

    Sean Heyliger, 05/02/2013.

    Biography / Administrative History

    Virna Mae Canson (1921-2003) was born on June 10, 1921 in Bridgeport, Oklahoma to William Augustus Dobson and Eula Mae Gross Dobson. Her father was a veteran of World War I and a graduate of Langston University, the only historically black university in Oklahoma. Both her parents worked as school teachers, and her father served as mayor of the all-black town of Lima, Oklahoma. The Dobson family was politically active and participated in the federation of Colored Women’s Clubs, Women’s, Oklahoma Association of Negro Teachers, and the National Unity of Colored Women.
    After graduating from Douglass High School in Wewoka, Oklahoma, Canson attended the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama as a home economics major. At Tuskegee, she met her husband Clarence Canson, a tailoring major, and the two wed on August 7, 1940. The following year their son, Clarence Jr., was born and Clarence Canson enlisted in the Air Force with the outbreak of World War II. After the war, Virna and Clarence became active in the NAACP, Clarence as a legal advisor after earning a law degree from the University of the Pacific in 1954, and Virna served as treasurer and manager of the Sacramento Branch NAACP Credit Union (1953-1989), Credit Union & Consumer Education Specialist for State Office of Economic Opportunity (1965-1967), West Coast Field Director and Legislative Advocate (1967-1974), and West Coast Regional Director (1974-1988). He work was instrumental in many landmark civil rights and affirmative action cases including two important equal housing cases, Ming v. Horgan and NAACP v. City and County of Sacramento, which fought to limit racial segregation in housing, and Bakke v. Board of Regents of the University of California which targeted affirmative action programs.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Virna M. Canson papers include photographs, correspondence, programs, certificates, and newspaper clippings documenting Canson’s activities with the NAACP and credit unions, politics, and her personal and family history. The papers are arranged into two sub-groups, Virna M. Canson and Clarence Canson. The bulk of the papers are photographs related to Canson’s family history in Oklahoma and her participation in politics, civil rights, and credit unions. The papers include some general correspondence and awards related to her work at the NAACP, her service on various advisory boards, and the NAACP’s Federal Credit Union annual meetings. The Clarence Canson sub-group includes two certificates from the Tuskegee Institute and his law degree from the University of the Pacific.

    Arrangement

    Sub-group 1.Virna M. Canson Series I. Photographs Series II. NAACP Series III. Political activities Series IV. Credit Unions Series V. Biographical Series VI. Newspaper clippings Sub-group 2. Clarence Canson Series I. Clarence Canson

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Canson, Virna M., 1921-.
    Civil rights--United States--History--20th century--Sources.
    Credit unions--California--History.

    Other Finding Aids

    National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Region I, Records, BANC MSS 78/180 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.