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Mayor James Saxon Smith's Committee on Race Relationships Collection, 1959-1969

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-2022-020

Content Description

This collection contains organizational papers, educational materials, and pamphlets used by the Mayor’s Community Relations Committee to develop awareness of race relationships in the community. Also included is correspondence belonging to Mayor Smith, Committee Chairman Dr. John R. Cunningham, civic leaders, committee members, and ministers. Materials include important information regarding the city’s changing attitudes towards integration and the impact these changes had on the community. Materials are dated 1959-1969, with the bulk of the materials dated 1960-1965.

Materials are arranged in 6 series:

Series 1: Minutes and Organizational Papers, 1959-1965, contains the minutes and member lists of the Mayor's Friendly Relationship Committee and the Mayor's Community Relations Committee.

Series 2: Correspondence-Dr. John R. Cunningham, 1960-1969, contains correspondence to and from the Reverend Dr. John R. Cunningham (1891-1980), Chairman of both mayoral committees. He was appointed in 1960. Dr. Cunningham served as President of Davidson College from 1941-1957, as well as the Executive Director of the President of the Presbyterian Foundation from 1957-1964.

Series 3: Miscellaneous, 1962-1964, contains memorandums, newspaper clippings, and magazine articles.

Series 4: Correspondence-Miscellaneous, 1960-1964, contains letters to and from various committee members, civic leaders, and ministers from around the state.

Series 5: Correspondence-Mayor James Saxon Smith, 1960-1961, contains correspondence of Mayor James Saxon Smith (1908-1982) that relate to the establishment of the committee and how members of the committee were selected.

Series 6: Pamphlets and Booklets, 1960-1965, contains print materials used for program development, updates on national organizations, and happenings in the Civil Rights Movement.

Dates

  • 1959 - 1969
  • Majority of material found within 1960 - 1965

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public without restriction. The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to duplicate or publish material from this collection must be obtained from the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

Biographical / Historical

James Saxon Smith (1909-1982) served as the mayor of Charlotte from 1957-1961. His term coincided with the Charlotte sit-ins that began on February 12, 1960. Mayor Smith is credited with Charlotte’s official approach to integrating public areas in the city by establishing the “Mayor’s Friendly Relationship Committee” (MFRC) in response to sit-ins at various lunch counters in Uptown Charlotte’s department, variety, and drugstores. Smith appointed Dr. John R. Cunningham to chair the committee, who served as President of Davidson College and later served as the Director of the Presbyterian Foundation of Charlotte.

The MFRC was designed as a temporary committee to resolve the integration of the lunch counters, which was successful by the summer of 1960. However, at the urging of Dr. Cunningham and other civic and religious leaders, the work of the committee continued and expanded to explore issues of housing, education, equal opportunities for work, as well as crime and the impact that segregation had in these areas.

In 1961, Mayor Stan Brookshire became the mayor and renamed the organization “Mayor’s Community Relations Committee” (MCRC). Twenty-seven people, both Black and white, served on the committee. These members consisted of newspaper editors, local politicians, ministers, physicians, four women, teachers, and local businessmen.

This collection contains correspondence to and from Dr. John R. Cunningham, memorandums, committee minutes, and pamphlets that were used by the committee to develop community awareness of race relationships. Collection materials include important information regarding the city’s changing attitudes towards integration and the impact these changes had on the community.

Extent

2.22 Cubic Feet

3.47 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

James Saxon Smith (1909-1982) served as the mayor of Charlotte from 1957-1961. His term coincided with the Charlotte sit-ins that began on February 12, 1960. Mayor Smith is credited with Charlotte’s official approach to integrating public areas in the city by establishing the “Mayor’s Friendly Relationship Committee” (MFRC) in response to sit-ins at various lunch counters in Uptown Charlotte’s department, variety, and drugstores. Smith appointed Dr. John R. Cunningham to chair the committee. This collection contains correspondence to and from Dr. John R. Cunningham, memorandums, committee minutes, and pamphlets that were used by the committee to develop community awareness of race relationships. Collection materials are dated 1959-1969, with bulk dates 1960-1965.

Arrangement

Materials are arranged in 6 series:

Series 1: Minutes and Organizational Papers, 1961-1965, contains the minutes and member lists of the Mayor's Friendly Relationship Committee and the Mayor's Community Relations Committee.

Series 2: Correspondence-Dr. John R. Cunningham, 1960-1969, contains correspondence to and from the Reverend Dr. John R. Cunningham (1891-1980), Chairman of both mayoral committees. He was appointed in 1960. Dr. Cunningham served as President of Davidson College from 1941-1957, as well as the Executive Director of the President of the Presbyterian Foundation from 1957-1964.

Series 3: Miscellaneous, 1962-1964, contains memorandums, newspaper clippings, and magazine articles.

Series 4: Correspondence-Miscellaneous, 1960-1964, contains letters to and from various committee members, civic leaders, and ministers from around the state.

Series 5: Correspondence-Mayor James Saxon Smith, 1960-1961, contains correspondence of Mayor James Saxon Smith (1908-1982) that relate to the establishment of the committee and how members of the committee were selected.

Series 6: Pamphlets and Booklets, 1960-1965, contains print materials used for program development, updates on national organizations, and happenings in the Civil Rights Movement.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The immediate source and date of acquisition for this collection is unknown.

Separated Materials

Missing items from Box 4 include 2:220, 2:221, and 2:222.

Missing items from Box 5 include 5:28, 2:29, 2:30, and 5:31.

Condition Description

Materials are in good condition.

Conscious Editing

This collection contains outdated racial terminology in file titles, and may include harmful language in correspondence and other collection materials.

Processing Information

Unknown processor.

Title
Mayor James Saxon Smith's Committee on Race Relationships Collection, 1959-1969
Status
Completed
Author
Unknown
Date
2015
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Repository

Contact:
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library-Main
310 N. Tryon Street
Charlotte NC 28202 USA