Jack "The Rapper" Gibson was a pioneer in Black radio, as well as an innovator, a leader, and a mentor to many in the radio and music industries. His work as a Black radio deejay spanned the early days of Black radio in the 1940s through the Civil Rights Movement, and included stints at WERD-Atlanta, WLOU-Louisville, WMBM-Miami, WCIN-Cincinnati, and WABQ-Cleveland. After retiring from radio in 1961, he became a successful music industry executive working for Motown, Decca, and Stax Records. In 1976, he launched the industry magazine Jack the Rapper, the oldest Black trade publication targeted to radio, and for the next twenty years organized the annual "Jack the Rapper’s Family Affair," a Black music convention drawing generations of performers and music industry executives. His professionalism, continuous fight for racial equality and justice, and endearing human qualities made him a legend in the industry. This collection documents his long career in radio and music through personal correspondence, clippings, memorabilia, photographs, publicity materials, airchecks, interviews, lecture materials, and over 500 issues of his trade magazine "Jack the Rapper's Mellow Yellow."
1935-1996, bulk 1974-1992
Archives of African American Music and Culture
College or university
19 boxes (13 linear feet)
Two-dimensional moving image, Performed music, Spoken word, Still image, and Text
Analog audiocassette, Open reel tape (unknown material), VHS (including SVHS and VHS-C), Optical disc (Including CD, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD, DVD-R, DVD-RW, VCD), Text document, and Photographic print
Audiocassette, Audiotape reel, Videocassette, Computer disc, and Sheet
This collection is open for research. Audiovisual materials may require the creation of listening and/or viewing copies. Advance notice of your visit is highly recommended to ensure that requested materials will be ready for use upon your arrival. Contact the AAAMC staff for more details.
All requests for copying and publishing materials must be submitted in writing to the Archives of African American Music and Culture. Some publication requests may also require the written permission of the interviewer, interviewees, and/or performers.