Matthew T. Lewis Papers

1944-1998, undated
Manuscript Collection #766
Lewis, Matthew T., 1910-2009
Physical description
0.58 Cubic Feet, 1 archival box; 1 oversized folder; 117 items, Papers, photographs, school handbooks, letters, announcements, newspaper clippings, programs, reports, and photo albums.
Preferred Citation
Matthew T. Lewis Papers (#766), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1944-1998, undated) of Matthew T. Lewis, educator and principal of Stokes Elementary School, a segregated, predominantly African American public school in Stokes, Pitt County, North Carolina, including correspondence with the Pitt County Superintendent Arthur S. Alford, announcements of retirement, newspaper clippings, programs from the dedication of Matthew Lewis Field and Picnic Shelter, reports, photographic prints and photograph albums.

Biographical/historical information

Matthew T. Lewis served as the principal of Stokes Elementary School between 1952 and 1977. During his tenure as an educator, he was a beloved part of the Pitt County School system and proved to be a pioneer for desegregation and racial equality. He also served on the deacon board of Sycamore Hill Baptist Church. In 1998, the Parks Department for the City of Greenville renamed the park in Lewis' neighborhood, Meadowbrook, the Matthew Lewis Field and Picnic Shelter in his honor.

Scope and arrangement

The Matthew T. Lewis Papers (1944-1998, undated) are arranged in original order. The papers document the life and career of teacher and school administrator, Matthew T. Lewis, who served at Stokes Elementary School, in the town of Stokes, Pitt County, North Carolina. Lewis was a teacher at Stokes Elementary School, a segregated, primarily African American school in the Pitt County school system, from 1944 to 1952; he was principal of the school from 1952 until his retirement in 1977. The papers include correspondence with the Pitt County Schools superintendent, Arthur S. Alford, minutes from meetings of the Pitt County Board of Education, evaluations, and the announcements of his retirement.

The Matthew T. Lewis Papers also documents his post-retirement years, 1977-1998. These papers include newsletters from Sycamore Hill Baptist Church, a blank petition to the Recreation Department of the City of Greenville to name the park in West Meadowbrook in honor of Matthew Lewis, a program for a 1994 appreciation banquet in Lewis' honor, programs for the 1998 dedication ceremony for the Matthew Lewis Field and Picnic Shelter.

In addition to the various documents, there are numerous photographic prints of Stokes Elementary School students, faculty, staff, and parents, 1944-1977. These photographs are in primarily in black and white but also include a few color photographs. Some photographs are mounted on scrapbook pages.

The collection includes printed materials relating to Stokes Elementary School and to the Pitt County public schools, 1956-1976.

The collection also includes an oversized folder containing a photocopy of the first issue of the school newspaper, The Stokes Pilot, from April 1965.

Administrative information
Custodial History

May 22, 1998, 47 items; Papers of Pitt County, N.C. educator, principal of Stokes Elementary School from 1952 to 1977, consisting of correspondence, photo album, school handbooks, yearbooks, self-evaluation, reports, newsletter, school newspaper, commencement program, and photographs. Donor: Mr. Matthew T. Lewis.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mr. Matthew T. Lewis

Processing information

Encoded by Apex Data Services, March 2002; Processed, Inventory, and Finding Aid by: Stephanie Hardy, May 2011; Finding Aid revised by Jonathan Dembo, June 26, 2012; Encoded by Jonathan Dembo, June 20, 2012; Encoding revised by Jonathan Dembo, July 20, 2012.

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Key terms
Personal Names
Alford, Arthur S., 1929-1982--Correspondence
Lewis, Matthew T., 1910-2009
Corporate Names
Pitt County Schools
Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church (Greenville, N.C.)
African American school principals--North Carolina--Pitt County
African American schools--North Carolina--Pitt County
African American students--North Carolina--Pitt County--Photographs
African American teachers--North Carolina--Pitt County
Education--North Carolina--Pitt County

Container list
Box 1 Folder a Documents (1970-1998, undated) concerning Matthew T. Lewis's career as an educator for Pitt County Schools, including a contract, 1973; correspondence with superintendent Arthur S. Alford (1970), retirement announcements, 1977; and blank petitions for the naming of the "Matthew Lewis Park", undated. 12 items. 16 p
Box 1 Folder b Pitt County Board of Education correspondence (1970-1976) including a 1972 Pitt Co. Schools principal evaluation form, 1972 copy of sick leave and substitute teacher regulations, correspondence with Arthur S. Alford, and a message from the Board of Education granting tenure in 1973. 8 items. 24 p
Box 1 Folder c Stokes Elementary school file (1992, 1998) including Stokes Elementary School Historical Reflections, 1932-1992, an announcement of Lewis's retirement in the Bethel Herald, and newspaper clippings, announcements, and invitations, 1992, 1998. 6 items. 6 p
Box 1 Folder d Stokes Elementary school information (1977-1992) including Stokes Elem. School Historical Reflections, 1932-1992; a Stokes Elem. School announcement of Lewis's retirement, 1977; a drawing of the school, 1992; and a "Message from the Principal" from Lewis concerning school growth and appreciation of the superintendent, ca. 1977. 4 items. 4 p
Box 1 Folder e The Stokes Pilot, vol. 1, no. 1 (April 1965). School newspaper (photocopied) 1 item. 2 p. Note: reduced to 8.5" x 11"; see also oversized folder no. 1
Box 1 Folder h Printed Materials (1957-1976, undated), including commencement program, 1966; "School Talk" newsletter, school handbook, 1956-1957, 1967; Stokes Elementary School Newsletter, 1975; "The Torch Newsletter, Vol. 1, no 3, April 1957; The Torch Newsletter, 1960; Self-Study Evaluation by Stokes Elementary School, March 1976; and Visiting Committee Report System-Wide and Stokes Elementary School Prepared for Pitt County Schools, March 1976. 9 items. 206 p
Box 1 Folder i Printed materials (1960, 1967) 2 items. 31 p
Folder os1 The Stokes Pilot, vol. 1, no. 1 (April 1965). School newspaper (photocopied) 1 item. 2 p. Note: reduced to 8.5" x 11"; see also #766.1.e