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Joel Buchanan Papers

Identifier: MSS 0629

Scope and Content

The Joel Buchanan Collection houses papers, photographs, and community honors related to Joseph Buchanan and his work in Gainesville and Alachua County, as well as specifically at the University of Florida. This collection, which dates from 2000 to 2019, is evidence of how embedded Buchanan was within the community, so much so that he was recognized for his “support and dedication” to the Azalea Chapter #104 Order of the Eastern Star (O.E.S.), and a central collaborator in establishing the African American History Project (AAHP) and the Fifth Avenue Blacks collection (FAB), among other oral history archives housed in the Joel Buchanan Archive of African American Oral History, run by UF’s Samuel Proctor Oral History Program. These nearly 700 oral histories document Black life in Florida and the Gulf South, mostly from the perspectives of elder or long-time community members. Researchers focusing on local African American leaders, Black historians, social and civic organizations, or Alachua County history will benefit from viewing this collection.


  • Creation: 2000 - 2019



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Joseph “Joel” Marcus Buchanan was born to Joe Buchanan and Gussy M. William Buchanan on July 31, 1948, in Gainesville Florida. He had two brothers, Broward and Gregory, and a sister, Uneeda L. Buchanan. Known to ask others, “Who are your people?” Buchanan was active in the community, cultivating relationships, teaching, and organizing social events recognizing Black people’s history and contributions in Gainesville and Alachua County. As a youth, Buchanan was the first Black male student to attend and integrate Gainesville High School in 1964, along with two other Black female students, Sandra Williams Cummings and LaVon Wright Bracy. Buchanan graduated from GHS with honors two years later in 1966 and went on to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Florida. Across his professional career, he was a teacher at Howard Bishop Middle School and Santa Fe College, a worker in UF’s financial aid office, as well as a civil rights activist and history liaison in UF Smathers Library Special & Area Studies Collections Department, where he retired in 2010. Buchanan died May 25, 2014, leaving a legacy as a “historian extraordinaire” for the many students, friends, and colleagues he met and worked with in his lifetime.



.21 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



Papers, photographs, and community honors related to Joseph Buchanan and his work in Gainesville and Alachua County, as well as specifically at the University of Florida.


This collection is arranged chronologically.


University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

Donated by Joel Buchanan.

A Guide to the Joel Buchanan Collection
Finding aid created by Tiffany Pennamon
August 2023
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America