Rayford Estate Items - Baton Rouge, LA

Allene Knighten Clark Rayford, Southern University’s
First Lady, a life many dream about but few are found worthy – Black or
Allene born in the segregated south but move to St. Louis, Missouri,
once wondered in a letter what her life would bring her.
How was she to know her life would find her meeting with famed artists
of the Harlem Renaissance?  Her life would lead her to travel the globe
and receive fellowships to Paris in the 1940’s.  Her life would allow her
to play the organ for some of America’s great churches and cathedrals.  
Her life would take her to the capitol steps of Louisiana to meet
Governors.  Her life would pull her back to the international arena for to
arrange a visit with Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Nelson Mandela.  Her
life would lead her in the 1950’s to marry and assume the role of First
Lady of a historically Black University in Baton Rouge.  Her life would
lead her to become the widow of Dr. Felton G. Clark, Southern
University’s President.  Her life would reward her generously for her and
she later remarried and for the next thirty years, she held fast to the
southern tradition of gracious living with a purpose, education as the
strength of a community and keeping faith with generations who have
passed before.  Besides all the contributions Allene would make as a
community activist, racial bridge, educator, musician and friend, Allene
kept in safe keeping a few historical treasures of Southern University’s
past.  Her estate includes crystal and china more than 50 years old,
artifacts of Dr. Clark’s Presidency and relationship to President Dwight

Eisenhower and Governor McKeithen of Louisiana.
Allene’s treasures are best framed around the history of Southern
“Southern University and A&M College had its beginning in New
Orleans, Louisiana, in 1880.  A significant development in the history
of the University was the passage of the Second Morrill Act of 1890,
which provided for the establishment of an agricultural and mechanical
department for people of color, with support from both the state and
federal governments. The passage of the Second Morrill Act led to the
reorganization of the University as a land-grant institution, with
separate divisions for agriculture and mechanical arts. These
departments were responsible for teaching agricultural and industrial
courses, for the development of scientific and agricultural technologies,
and for subsequent transfer of technology to rural inhabitants, primarily
agriculturalists, in the development of more economical ways of
increasing the productivity of crops and the marketing and utilization of
products…The University remained in New Orleans until 1912, when
Legislative Act 188 authorized its change of location from New Orleans
to Baton Rouge…Southern University was reopened on the new site on
March 9, 1914, under the presidency of Dr. J.S. Clark….In 1938, Dr. J.S.
Clark was succeeded by his son, Dr. Felton G. Clark.”

The items described below are the few items that will be offered for
sale.  The personal effects of Dr. Clark are being prepared for display
in an historical context and venue.