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Bertha Boykin Todd Papers

Identifier: SC-MS-390

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the papers of Bertha Boykin Todd, a long-time New Hanover County educator and community leader. Content focuses on her work with the 1898 Centennial Foundation, biographical information and research for her memoir, "My Restless Journey," speeches and notes for events at which she spoke, recordings of her media appearances, and articles and correspondence related to her community engagement and work with the New Hanover County School system, highlighting her time as the librarian at Williston High School and as an administrator at Hoggard High School. Additional material speaks specifically to local school desegregation, the succeeding school riots, the Wilmington 10 incident, and Bertha's involvement in dampening racial tensions at the time. Also of note are items related to her many awards and accolades at the local and state level, as well as broad newspaper coverage of her work in the community and schools.


  • Creation: 1954-2020


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2021 University of North Carolina at Wilmington, all rights reserved (subject to exceptions). Certain items in this collections were conveyed to UNCW without the accompanying copyright. Where the donor did not convey copyright to UNCW, copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Biographical Note

Bertha Boykin Todd was born in Sampson County, North Carolina on March 30, 1929. Bertha attended North Carolina Central University, majoring in biology, and later obtained her master's in library science, as well as a master's in education administraton from East Carolina University. Following in the footsteps of her educator parents--her father was a principal and her mother taught third grade--she became librarian of Williston High School in Wilmington in 1952, where she worked for 15 years until the school was closed in 1967 due to integration.

From there, she transferred to Hoggard High School, and a year later became the administrative assistant for human relations, helping to facilitate improved student success and learning during desegregation. In 1970, Todd became Assistant Principal of Hoggard High School, a position she held until 1985. She held several other positions throughout her four decade career with the New Hanover County school system, including Director of Staff Development, until she retired in 1992.

Todd served the community in several capacities. Most notably, she co-chaired the 1898 Centennial Foundation for the 100th anniversary of the Wilmington Coup of 1898 in 1998, whose goal was to reexamine and memoralize the events of the 1898 coup, resulting in the creation of 1898 Memorial Park. The committee worked to hold events, panels, and reconcilliation discussions around the events of 1898 and the current state of racial affairs in present day Wilmington. The efforts of the foundation continued in the years after 1998, which led to the creation of the 1898 Foundation and the Partners for Economic Inclusion, who carry on their work.

She helped integrate the local YWCA as part of its planning committee, as well as served on the New Hanover County Human Relations Commission, the N.C. Human Relations Council, and the boards of the Cape Fear Area Red Cross, the New Hanover Department of Social Services, the Cape Fear Museum, and the Cape Fear Community Foundation. Bertha is also a long-time member of Chesnut Street Presbyterian Church and the NAACP.

Bertha was married to Edward "Mack" Todd until his death. They had two children together, Rita and Brian. In 2010, Bertha published her memoirs, My Restless Journey. She continues to make appearances and speaking engagements around the county, in local news, and on national programs, where she shares her experiences and advice.


10 Containers (Contains 6 bankers boxes, 1 VHS box, 1 poster tube, and 1 map case folder)

Language of Materials



These papers are arranged into five series: 1898 Centennial Foundation, Biography, Speeches, School Desegregation, and School and Community Involvement. This is the original arrangement in which the papers were donated. Their sub-series and folders have been maintained in their original order where noted. An additional series exists specifically of Media and Recorded Appearances, which consists of various video formats.

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated by Bertha Boykin Todd on September 10, 2021. An addition was donated by Bertha Boykin Todd on March 08, 2022.

Related Materials

For additional material regarding the 1898 Centennial Foundation, please refer to the 1898 Foundation Papers.

Bertha Boykin Todd Papers
Nicole Yatsonsky
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Randall Library Special Collections Repository