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C. W. Rice Family & Negro Labor News Collection

Identifier: MSS 0142

Scope and Contents

The C. W. Rice Family & Negro Labor News Collection contains Mr. Rice's personal and professional correspondence as well as some of his financial records and photographs. Some significant topics represented in these files are black employment and labor activities and local communist activities. Additionally, it contains the most complete run of the Negro Labor News newspaper known to exist. Materials are dated from 1919 to 1976 with the majority of the items from the 1940s to the 1970s.


  • Majority of material found within 1934-1976
  • 1919-1976


Access Restrictions

The original copies of the Negro Labor News cannot be used without the approval of an archivist. Microfilm copies of the newspaper are available and can be used without special permission.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the C. W. Rice Family & Negro Labor News Collection must be obtained from the African American Library at the Gregory School or the appropriate copyright holder.

Biographical Note

C. W. Rice was born into a farming family in Tennessee in 1897. When he was seventeen, he visited an aunt in Texas and the state remained his home for the rest of his life. In 1917, after a brief stint at Samuel Houston College in Austin, Mr. Rice became a field agent for the Texas Department of Agriculture and quickly established over 400 local orgaizations for Black farmers around the state. Two years later, in 1919, he accepted a job with the Texas Department of Labor where he gained additional familiarity with employment patterns and problems. These remained his life-long concerns. In 1925, Mr. Rice was a founder and first vice-president of the Texas Negro Business & Working Man's Association. He later became president of the organization and presided over its headquarters in Houston. Several years later, in 1931, he began the Negro Labor News, a weekly newspaper which he continued to publish in Houston for over three decades.

Mr. Rice, a devotee of Booker T. Washington, received early and continued support from conservative white businessmen and politicians. Well-to-do whites provided most of the operating money for the Texas Negro Business & Working Man's Association as well as the Negro Labor News. These whites found Mr. Rice's views congenial. Rice, for example, viewed challenges to the racial and the class status quo with suspicion. He believed that most labor unions were racist and radical. He also thought that there was a strong communist influence in the civil rights movement, both locally and nationally. While some Black Houstonians agreed wholeheartedly with Rice, many others did not and vigorously opposed him. C. W. Rice was as controversial as much of the news he wrote about.


24 Linear Feet (4 doc boxes, 11 oversized boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged into 5 series according to the type of information. Materials are arranged chronologically except the Subject Files which are arranged alphabetically by file title. The Financial Records series is further arranged in to two subseries: Daily Records and Ledgers which are arranged chronologically.


  1. Subject Files
  2. Correspondence
  3. Financial Records
  4. Photographs
  5. Negro Labor News

Custodial History

These records were formerly housed at the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library as MSS 242 C.W. Rice Family & Negro Labor News Collection and were transferred to the African American Library at the Gregory School, Houston Public Library in March 2019.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Lena B. Rice, 1983

Processing Information

Reprocessed by Sheena Wilson, 2020

MSS 0142 C. W. Rice Family & Negro Labor News Collection
An Inventory of Records at the African American Library at the Gregory School, Houston Public Library
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • 1/7/2020: Reprocessed collection to current standards

Repository Details

Part of the Gregory School Repository


The African American Library at the Gregory School
1300 Victor Street
Houston, Texas 77019
Houston Metropolitan Research Center
Houston Public Library
550 McKinney St.
Houston, Texas 77002