This collection contains material for the autobiography of Horace R. Cayton, entitled
Long Old Road and published in 1965. Cayton was
one of the foremost African-American sociologists of his time, chronicling the
experiences of urban black communities in the northern United States. An author and
an educator, he dedicated his life to improving the social conditions of
African-Americans in the earlier half of the twentieth century. The collection is
organized into two series: I. Long Old Road
Manuscripts, 1931-1965, and II. Related Papers, 1955-1965 also pertaining to the
Series I. is arranged according to the chapter titles of the finished book with
background materials and outlines preceding the chapter manuscripts. The background
material includes interviews with and short biographies of friends and family. Also
present is an obituary for Cayton's sister, Madge, and works about his ancestors,
including Hiram Revels, the first African-American person elected to the U.S.
This section has two compiled notebooks of later drafts of the chapters which
parallel the finished work; however, two chapters are missing: “The White Man, Too,
Has Troubles,” and “Blood Makes Good Paint.” They also contain the manuscript of
“Back to the Black Metropolis,” which is not present in an earlier form.
The Related Papers in Series II. are organized by date. Present are correspondence,
including letters by Cayton to his publisher and agent as well as letters from each
of them, all regarding Long Old Road. Also included
are Cayton's résumé, along with his entry for Who’s Who in
America for 1965. There is also a summons for a defamation lawsuit
against Cayton and his publisher, Trident Press, brought by Yvonne Plummer for
implying that she was of dubious morals.
The collection does not contain material relating to any other work by Horace R.
Cayton or directly concerning his personal life outside of what is in the