NAACP Schenectady Branch Records, 1949-1982

Descriptive Identification

Unit ID
apap028
Repository
M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives
Extent
4 Reels
creator
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Schenectady Branch.
Location
The materials are located onsite in the department.
Language
English
Abstract
Records document concerns for discrimination in housing and employment and for the recruitment of black professionals from colleges and universities to the area. The records also show the Branch's involvement with area social service providers, labor unions, and other community organizations, as well as with General Electric, as the area's major employer.

Administrative Information

Processing Information

Processed in 1995 by Jeanne Manton.

Acquisition Information

The records were received from Joseph Allen, President of the NAACP Schenectady (New York) Branch. These records were lent to Dr. Gerald Zahavi as part of the Schenectady General Electric in the Twentieth Century Project with the understanding that the records would be microfilmed for addition to the Archives of Public Affairs and Policy of the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives. The records were received by the University Libraries in October 1994. The records were organized with funding support from the Schenectady General Electric in the Twentieth Century Project and microfilmed with funding support from the Capital District Black History Project. The original records were returned to Joseph Allen after microfilming was completed.1994 October

Access

Access to this record group is unrestricted.

Copyright

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Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, NAACP Schenectady (New York) Branch Records, 1949-1982. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the NAACP Schenectady Branch Records]).

Administrative History

The Schenectady Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded in 1949 by an interracial group of men and women committed to the task of improving the status of Blacks in the Schenectady community. The first ten years of the Branch's activity were characterized by strong committee work in the areas of housing and employment. Committee work was focused on ameliorating discrimination in housing and hiring practices. At the National conventions of 1952 and 1953, the Branch was honored with the Thalheimer Award for outstanding performance in the elimination of discrimination in public housing.

The NAACP Schenectady (New York) Branch worked to eliminate discrimination against workers in local industry in a variety of ways, notably functioning as a clearinghouse for applicants and employers during the 1950s when many areas of employment were effectively closed to Blacks in Schenectady. At the same time, the Branch reached out to colleges and universities to recruit young Black professionals to the area. The 1970s saw the Branch reaching out into the community in new ways in order to keep interest in the group high. This activity included close contact with area social service providers and other community organizations. Internal branch problems surfaced at this time also, resulting in some dissipation of energies.

As a research source for investigating the status of race relations in a medium sized northern city, the records of the Schenectady Branch of the NAACP will be of some value. The presence of General Electric as a major employer in the city and a strong union presence sheds some light on race matters in labor as well as NAACP relations with socialist influenced groups. Systematic initiatives in housing and employment emanated from the local Branch from the time of its inception. Executive Committee files from the 1950s detail these initiatives.

The role of women in activist organizations and in civil rights work can be explored in these records through qualitative analysis of duties performed, often in membership drives and other outreach initiatives, fundraising events and organizational support. The Branch elected its first female President in 1959, Mrs. Malinda Myers.

Scope and Contents

Records include Executive Committee minutes, 1949-1982 (missing December 1959-January 1963); membership meeting minutes, 1949-1980 (missing January 1963-1972, 1973 [only one meeting found], 1974, October 1975-April 1976); membership lists, 1949-1980; correspondence, 1949-1980; financial records, 1949-1979 (missing 1960-1962, 1966-1976).

The role of women in activist organizations and in civil rights work can be explored in these records through qualitative analysis of duties performed, often in membership drives and other outreach initiatives, fundraising events and organizational support. The Branch elected its first female President in 1959, Mrs. Malinda Myers.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into 6 topical series.

Components List

  • Executive Committee Minutes, 1949-1982

    Unit ID
    1
    Scope and Contents

    Missing Years: Dec. 1959-Jan. 1963, May. 1964-Sept. 1973

    The Executive Committee minutes document the proceedings of the Branch's Executive Committee meetings and include Board member and officer lists, committee reports, motions and resolutions and program and budget proposals. The Branch represented the interests of African Americans in social, political and legal issues. Members of the Executive Committee directed the Branch activities under the influences of local constraints and immediate community needs and the direction of the National office and National campaigns. Discrimination in public housing and in municipal hiring practices were early targets for legalistic attacks. Community outreach and interaction with area civic, labor and religious groups provided local support for the broadest social and educational aims including non discriminatory hiring by local private businesses.

    • Executive Committee Minutes, 1949
      Reel
      1
    • Executive Committee Minutes, 1949 December-1950 October
      Reel
      1
    • Executive Committee Minutes, 1951 July-1954 December
      Reel
      1
    • Executive Committee Minutes, 1955
      Reel
      1
    • Executive Committee Minutes, 1956 January-1958 September
      Reel
      1
    • Executive Committee Minutes, 1958 October-1959 November
      Reel
      1
    • Executive Committee Minutes, 1963 January-1964 April
      Reel
      1
    • Executive Committee Minutes, 1973 September-1975 December
      Reel
      1
    • Executive Committee Minutes, 1976
      Reel
      1
    • Executive Committee Minutes, 1977
      Reel
      1
    • Executive Committee Minutes, 1978
      Reel
      1
    • Executive Committee Minutes, 1979
      Reel
      1
    • Executive Committee Minutes, 1980
      Reel
      1
    • Executive Committee Minutes, 1981 April-1982 November
      Reel
      1
  • Membership Meeting Minutes, 1949-1980

    Unit ID
    2
    Scope and Contents

    No Minutes exist for Jan. 1963-1972, 1973 (only one meeting found), 1974 and Oct. 1975-Apr. 1976.

    Much of the content of the Members Meeting minutes closely parallels the initiatives reported in the Executive Committee meeting minutes, therefore, detailed contents notes are omitted. Reports presented as part of a meeting's minutes and provided as paper copy are included in the file with those minutes.

    The Membership Meeting Minutes document the proceedings of the members' meetings including committee reports, outreach proposals and motions and resolutions from the rank and file membership of the Branch. The Branch presented a speakers' series and planned and executed special community events for outreach and fundraising. Women often managed fundraising functions. Close adherence to the campaigns of NAACP National and to its organizational procedure characterized the direction of the membership's activities. Affiliation of members with local, professional, religious and educational organizations is evident in the proceedings and programs followed.

    • Membership Meeting Minutes, 1949
      Reel
      1
    • Membership Meeting Minutes, 1949 December-1951 February
      Reel
      1
    • Membership Meeting Minutes, 1951
      Reel
      1
    • Membership Meeting Minutes, 1952 January-1955 November
      Reel
      1
    • Membership Meeting Minutes, 1956 January -1957 March
      Reel
      1
    • Membership Meeting Minutes, 1957 April-1959 May
      Reel
      1
    • Membership Meeting Minutes, 1960
      Reel
      1
    • Membership Meeting Minutes, 1961-1962
      Reel
      1
    • Membership Meeting Minutes, 1973
      Reel
      1
    • Membership Meeting Minutes, 1974
      Reel
      1
    • Membership Meeting Minutes, 1975
      Reel
      1
    • Membership Meeting Minutes, 1976
      Reel
      1
    • Membership Meeting Minutes, 1977
      Reel
      1
    • Membership Meeting Minutes, 1978
      Reel
      1
    • Membership Meeting Minutes, 1979
      Reel
      1
    • Membership Meeting Minutes, 1980 January
      Reel
      1
  • Membership Lists, 1949-1980

    Unit ID
    3
    Scope and Contents

    These files contain the names, addresses, and dues paid by Branch members. Also included in the file are routine correspondence and membership reports to the National Membership Secretary in New York, New York.

    • Membership Lists, 1952
      Reel
      2
    • Membership Lists, 1954
      Reel
      2
    • Membership Reports, 1949-1958
      Reel
      2
    • Membership Reports, 1962
      Reel
      2
    • Membership Reports, 1974-1975
      Reel
      2
    • Membership Reports, 1976
      Reel
      2
    • Membership Lists and Reports, 1977-1978
      Reel
      2
    • Membership Lists and Reports, 1979
      Reel
      2
    • Membership List, 1980
      Reel
      2
  • Correspondence, 1949-1980

    Unit ID
    4
    Scope and Contents

    Missing Correspondence for years, 1964-1974.

    For miscellaneous correspondence of Edward Gamarekian, founding member of the Executive Board, see Series V: Subject Files under Gamarekian.

    The Branch correspondence reflects interaction with local labor organizations, elected officials, and church and civic groups. Correspondence with NAACP National included routine business as well as the Branch's requests for guidance regarding, administration, leadership, organizational solidarity and Branch activities. Correspondence from Thurgood Marshall is notable. Local businesses corresponded with the Branch to inform members of equal opportunity employment. Public and private human services providers also corresponded frequently with the Branch, especially in the latter years of the 1970s. Correspondence of Edward Gamarekian, a founding member of the Executive Committee, is found under Gamarekian in Series 5: Subject Files.

    • Incoming Correspondence, 1949-1964
      Reel
      2
    • Outgoing Correspondence, 1949-1964
      Reel
      2
    • Incoming Correspondence, 1975-1976
      Reel
      2
    • Outgoing Correspondence, 1974-1976
      Reel
      2
    • Incoming Correspondence, 1977
      Reel
      2
    • Outgoing Correspondence, 1977
      Reel
      2
    • Incoming Correspondence, 1978
      Reel
      2
    • Outgoing Correspondence, 1978
      Reel
      2
    • Incoming Correspondence, 1979
      Reel
      3
    • Outgoing Correspondence, 1979
      Reel
      3
    • Incoming Correspondence, 1980
      Reel
      3
    • Outgoing Correspondence, 1980
      Reel
      3
    • Executive Committee "Call to Meeting" Announcements, 1980
      Reel
      3
  • Subject Files, 1949-1981

    Unit ID
    5
    Scope and Contents

    The Subject Files contain records of Branch programs, committee work, news clippings and files on the careers of certain Branch members and officers. The Subject Files are organized alphabetically and span the entire period of 1949 through 1981 though the period of the 1970s is more heavily represented. The files include research on local housing conditions among Schenectady's black population in 1960. Local discrimination grievance cases are included.

    • Act-So (Afro-American Cultural, Technological Scientific Olympics), 1979
      Reel
      3
    • Affirmative Action Plan, 1979
      Reel
      3
    • Affirmative Action: Schenectady Police Department, 1979
      Reel
      3
    • Allmond v. Workshop discrimination investigation, 1977
      Reel
      3
    • Art Center Theatre of Schenectady, 1980
      Reel
      3
    • Black and Hispanic Political Caucus, 1980
      Reel
      3
    • Chapter Applications (misc. doc. forms), Undated
      Reel
      3
    • Cintron, N.: employment matter, 1978
      Reel
      3
    • Community Outreach (miscellaneous), 1950-1970s
      Reel
      3
    • Conferences of Branches, New York State, 1979
      Reel
      3
    • Conventions, National, 1959 1978
      Reel
      3
    • Education (miscellaneous documents, scattered years), ca. 1964-1970s
      Reel
      3
    • Employment, ca. 1970s
      Reel
      3
    • Fair Housing Plan, 1979
      Reel
      3
    • Funding: CETA, 1979
      Reel
      3
    • Fundraising, 1954 1978 1979
      Reel
      3
    • Gamarekian, Edward, founding member of the Executive Board of the NAACP Schenectady Branch, 1949-1953
      Reel
      3
    • Grievances Cases, 1978 1979
      Reel
      3
    • Historical (incomplete), 1949-1975
      Reel
      3
    • Housing, discrimination, surveys (Union College Social Research Center), 1951 1960 1973
      Reel
      3
    • Housing, desegregation by the Municipal Housing Authority, 1951 1952 1959
      Reel
      3
    • IUE-UE, memorandum, 1951
      Reel
      3
    • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Observances, 1975 1977 1978 1979
      Reel
      3
    • Labor and Industry, 1978
      Reel
      3
    • LeFlore, Marzella, resume, 1978
      Reel
      3
    • May 17 Observances, 1979
      Reel
      3
    • Membership Drives, 1959 1992
      Reel
      3
    • Mississippi Project, Freedom Summer, 1964
      Reel
      3
    • Myers, Malinda, first female Schenectady Branch president, resume, 1979
      Reel
      3
    • Newsletter, Branch, 1951 1952 1977
      Reel
      3
    • Newspaper clippings (Miscellaneous topics), 1951-1982
      Reel
      3
    • Political Action (incomplete), 1964 1977 1978 1979 1980
      Reel
      4
    • Poverty Program, 1964
      Reel
      4
    • Press Releases, 1977-1980
      Reel
      4
    • Press/Publicity Committee, 1977
      Reel
      4
    • Program Committee, 1958
      Reel
      4
    • Reorganization, 1977
      Reel
      4
    • "Sambo" restaurant demonstration, 1977
      Reel
      4
    • Schenectady Branch, Constitution and By-laws, 1952 1977
      Reel
      4
    • Speeches; meeting submissions, 1952
      Reel
      4
    • State Association assessments, 1979
      Reel
      4
    • Thomas, Willis, 1975-1978
      Reel
      4
    • Town Meeting Radio Program, 1951
      Reel
      4
    • WAST T.V., 1979
      Reel
      4
    • Youth, Youth Work (see branch newsletters), 1952 1964 1977
      Reel
      4
    • Zuber, Paul, 1978
      Reel
      4
  • Financial Records, 1949-1979

    Unit ID
    6
    Scope and Contents

    Missing Years: 1960-1962, 1966-1976

    The Financial Records include proposed budgets, financial statements, audits (1976 and 1978), revenue and fundraising reports, and records of membership dues paid.

    • Financial Statements, 1949-1959
      Reel
      4
    • Reports to the Treasurer, 1963
      Reel
      4
    • Financial Statements, 1964
      Reel
      4
    • Reports to the Treasurer, 1965
      Reel
      4
    • Audit, 1976
      Reel
      4
    • Financial Statements, 1976-1978
      Reel
      4
    • Treasurer's Journal, 1977-1979
      Reel
      4
    • Audit, 1978
      Reel
      4
    • Financial Statements, 1979 March-1981 January
      Reel
      4