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The Rev. Charles E. Becknell, Sr. Collection

Identifier: MSS-2022-08-18

Scope and Contents

The collection contains documents, newspaper clippings, publications, photographs, and other indicia relating to various aspects of Dr. Becknell, Sr.’s life and interests. So far, the collection goes back as far as 1967 with magazine articles about race and society and newspaper clippings from 1968 about the Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy assassinations. Newspaper clippings compose most of the collection so far, including articles written by and about him, many addressing topics regarding race and society nationally and locally, and national political topics.

The collection also contains numerous items relating to his activities and topics of interest in various communities around New Mexico. There are obituaries of colleagues as well as programs from events that he participated in or attended. There are also documents and clippings from Dr. Becknell’s time serving in the New Mexico State Cabinet under both Governors Jerry Apodaca and Bruce King. There are also several documents, correspondences, and publications from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, in which he is founder of the New Mexico chapter and served as a member of the national board.

The rest of the collection so far contains items pertaining to Dr. Becknell’s life as a pastor, educator, and entrepreneur and his family history.

This collection is currently unprocessed. Please consult with CSWR reference staff with questions regarding access.


  • Majority of material found within 1966 - 2018

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publications or distribution.

Biographical / Historical

Charles E. Becknell, Sr. was born in Levelland, Texas in 1941. He moved to Hobbs, New Mexico in 1942 with his mother and sister. He was a high school basketball athlete at Booker T. Washington School and Hobbs High School. He also played basketball at College of St. Joseph on the Rio Grande where he received his BS in Education. He also has education degrees and experience from Pepperdine University, Duke University, Columbia University, and the University of New Mexico. He is the founder of the Africana Studies Department at the University of New Mexico (1968). He also served as president of the New Mexico Black Leadership Conference, New Mexico Black Political Action Committee, and the Albuquerque Black Coalition. Governor Jerry Apodaca appointed him as Secretary of Criminal Justice Planning and he continued to serve under Governor Bruce King until his resignation in January 1980. He founded the New Mexico Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 2009 and was appointed to its national board in 2010. He served as president of the New Mexico chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference until January 2023. He founded Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church in Rio Rancho, New Mexico in 2009 and served as its pastor until 2015. He is also a poet and author. Some of his works include No Challenge, No Change: Growing Up Black in New Mexico; Black Culture in America: An Educator’s Perspective; Expressions: A Collection of Poems; and Voices from the African American Village.


8 boxes

Language of Materials


Physical Location

Finding Aid of the
In Progress
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131