M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives


Finding Aid for the

RECORDS, 1949-1982

For reference queries contact M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives Reference staff

Finding Aid Compiled by
Jeanne Manton
January 1995

M. E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives 
University Libraries / University at Albany / State University of New York 
1400 Washington Avenue / Albany, New York 12222 / (518) 437-3935

VOLUME: 4 reels of microfilm

ACQUISITION: 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.

ACCESS: Access to this record group is unrestricted.

COPYRIGHT: The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.


Administrative History

Scope and Content Note

Series Descriptions

Box and Folder List:

NAACP, Schenectady, N.Y. Branch
Administrative History

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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.

NAACP, Schenectady, N.Y. Branch
Scope & Content Note

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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.

Many of the files are incomplete or sparse and only through cross referencing several files of the same period can events be fleshed out to a valuable extent.  These conditions make the research value of these records scanty at points.  Unfortunately, the records for the time period between 1964 and 1973 are unavailable.  The later portion of the files are larger but also contain much more in the way of routine correspondence of little research value.

NAACP, Schenectady, N.Y. Branch
Series Descriptions

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Series 1: Executive Committee Minutes, 1949-1982 (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.

Series 2: Membership Meeting Minutes, 1949-1980 (Missing Years: Jan. 1963-1972, 1973 (only one meeting found), 1974, Oct. 1975-Apr. 1976)

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.

Series 3: Membership Lists, 1949-1979

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.

Series 4: Correspondence, 1949-1980

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.

Series 5: Subject Files, 1949-1981

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.

Series 6: Financial Records, 1949-1979

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.

NAACP, Schenectady, N.Y. Branch
Box and Folder List

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Series 1: Executive Committee Minutes, 1949-1982 (Missing Years: Dec. 1959-Jan. 1963, May. 1964-Sept. 1973)

Reel 1

No minutes exist for the period Dec. 1959-Jan. 1963, May 1964- Sept. 1973.
Each folder heading is followed by a list of major topics.

 Executive Committee Minutes, 1949
  - Recognition of Schenectady Branch by State Office
  - Political Action re: execution of Negro prisoners in New Jersey
  - Approach local candidates about housing problems of African-American Schenectady citizens

 Executive Committee Minutes, Dec. 1949-Oct. 1950
  - Segregation: a) legal action, b) branch recommendation that a Negro be appointed to the Municipal Housing Authority, c) public housing placement efforts,d) segregation of public recreational facilities
  - Job Discrimination
  - Political Action: a) petition Senator Kearney for civil rights legislation, b) letter writing campaign supporting FEPC
  - Legal Defense Initiatives

 Executive Committee Minutes, July 1951-Dec. 1954
  - Communist Organizations and the NAACP
  - Segregation: a) housing; community outreach for Negro appointment to the MHA, b) initiative to enlist Federal support in MHA problem
  - Employment: initiative to place Negroes in local companies; a) General Electric
  - Educational Equality, campaign for: a) vocational programs, b) community education program, c) Negro History Week, d) resolution praising Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education
  - Political Action: a) protest to President Eisenhower and New York State Senators against the appointment of Governor Byrne to Ambassador to the United Nations

 Executive Committee Minutes, 1955
  - Political Action: express constituent support of legislative measures addressing a) discrimination in public housing and initiatives to prohibit discrimination in Federal Housing Authority funded housing, b) the need to investigate discrimination in private housing, c) study of area slums, d) enforcement of anti-discrimination measures
  - Communist Organizations and the NAACP: communist organization activities in Schenectady and expulsion of members from Schenectady NAACP
  - Housing: Telephone survey by NAACP members of local landlords re: attitudes toward and willingness to rent to Black tenants
  - Community Outreach: Outreach efforts on race relations

 Executive Committee Minutes, Jan. 1956-Sept. 1958
  - Educational Equality
  - Housing: housing code violations
  - Political Action: constituent support for Metcalfe-Baker Bill Report  from the US South
  - Youth Work

 Executive Committee Minutes, Oct. 1958-Nov. 1959
  - Community Outreach
  - Political Action: a) letter to Gov. Harriman re: discrimination from labor unions,
   b) support efforts for Metcalfe-Baker Bill

Missing Executive Committee Minutes, Dec. 1959-Jan. 1963

 Executive Committee Minutes, Jan. 1963-Apr. 1964
  - Officer and Committee chair list
  - Community Outreach: outreach through local churches
  - Education: a) racial imbalance in area schools, de facto segregation, b) disparate facilities, c) State Conferences call for one day boycott of school
  - Housing : anti-discrimination ordinances for Schenectady housing
  - Political Action: a) committee analysis of pending civil rights legislation, b) letter writing campaign to legislators and news releases in support of the civil rights bill
  - Voter Registration

Missing Executive Committee Minutes, May 1964-Sept. 1973

 Executive Committee Minutes, Sept. 1973-Dec. 1975
  - Education: a) status of Black teachers in the area, b) racial imbalance persists in area schools, c) Boston bussing crisis
  - Employment: discrimination in hiring for Schenectady Police Force
  - Internal branch problems

 Executive Committee Minutes, 1976
  - Employment: minority hiring in civil service
  - Internal branch problems
  - Voter Registration

 Executive Committee Minutes, 1977
  - Internal branch problems

 Executive Committee Minutes, 1978
  - Internal branch business: a) new office space at 214 Broadway, b) relations with National office

 Executive Committee Minutes, 1979
  - Affirmative Action: Schenectady Police Department
  - Campaign for Martin Luther King Jr. legal holiday

 Executive Committee Minutes, 1980
  - Internal branch business
  - Political Action

 Executive Committee Minutes, April 1981-Nov. 1982
  - Community Watch Program
  - Internal branch business
  - Response to Neo-Nazi Activity

NAACP, Schenectady, N.Y. Branch
Box and Folder List

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Series 2:  Membership Meeting Minutes, 1949-1980

Reel 1 (cont)

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.

 Membership Meeting Minutes, 1949
 Membership Meeting Minutes, Dec. 1949-Feb. 1951
 Membership Meeting Minutes, 1951
 Membership Meeting Minutes, Jan. 1952-Nov. 1955
 Membership Meeting Minutes, Jan. 1956-Mar. 1957
 Membership Meeting Minutes, April 1957-May 1959
 Membership Meeting Minutes, 1960
 Membership Meeting Minutes, 1961-1962

Missing Membership Meeting Minutes, 1963-1972

 Membership Meeting Minutes, 1973
  - Only one meeting found

Missing Membership Meeting Minutes, 1974

 Membership Meeting Minutes, 1975
 Membership Meeting Minutes, 1976
 Membership Meeting Minutes, 1977
 Membership Meeting Minutes, 1978
  - Branch reorganization
 Membership Meeting Minutes, 1979
 Membership Meeting Minutes, Jan. 1980

NAACP, Schenectady, N.Y. Branch
Box and Folder List

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Series 3:  Membership Lists, 1949-1980

Reel 2

 Membership Lists, 1952
 Membership Lists, 1954
 Membership Reports, 1949-58
 Membership Reports, 1962
 Membership Reports, 1974-1975
 Membership Reports, 1976
 Membership Lists and Reports, 1977-78
 Membership Lists and Reports, 1979
 Membership List, 1980

NAACP, Schenectady, N.Y. Branch
Box and Folder List

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Series 4:  Correspondence, 1949-1980

Reel 2 (cont)

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.

 Incoming Correspondence, 1949-1964
  - "Blacklisting" of United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers of America; question addressed by Thurgood Marshall, Jan. 10, 1950
  - Employment:  Professional placement campaign
  - Political Action: a) Memo to all Branch offices re: Senator L.B. Johnson civil rights proposal, b) Senator Kenneth B. Keating in support of civil rights legislation

 Outgoing Correspondence, 1949-1964
  - expulsion of communists, memoranda, 1951, 1952

Missing Correspondence for 1964-1974

 Incoming Correspondence, 1975-1976

 Outgoing Correspondence, 1974-1976

 Incoming Correspondence, 1977
  - response to the Schenectady Branch campaign to bar the name "Sambo's"  from an area restaurant. Name change affirmed by Regional Director of Sambo's.

 Outgoing Correspondence, 1977
  - Request of Branch for assistance from National Director Benjamin Hooks in resolving internal branch problems, Nov. 10, 1977

 Incoming Correspondence, 1978
  - Re-organization of Schenectady Branch, Feb. 1, 1978
  - Requests for NAACP inquiries in local grievances, October 1978

 Outgoing Correspondence, 1978
  - Political  Action: mailgram campaign in support of Humphrey-Hawkins Bill HR50, Mar. 3, 1978

Reel 3

 Incoming Correspondence, 1979
  - City of Schenectady Affirmative Action Task Force first meeting Apr. 30, 1979
  - Employment: job postings

 Outgoing Correspondence, 1979

 Incoming Correspondence, 1980

 Outgoing Correspondence, 1980
  - Branch President complaint of harassment by an on-duty police officer

 Executive Committee "Call to Meeting" Announcements, 1980

NAACP, Schenectady, N.Y. Branch
Box and Folder List

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Series 5:  Subject Files, 1949-1981

Reel 3 (Continued)

 Act-So (Afro-American Cultural, Technological Scientific Olympics), 1979
 Affirmative Action Plan, 1979
 Affirmative Action: Schenectady Police Department, 1979
 Allmond v. Workshop discrimination investigation, 1977
 Art Center Theatre of Schenectady, 1980
 Black and Hispanic Political Caucus, 1980
 Chapter Applications (misc. doc. forms)
 Cintron, N.: employment matter, 1978
 Community Outreach (miscellaneous), 1950-1970s
 Conferences of  Branches, New York State, 1979
 Conventions, National, 1959, 1978
 Education (miscellaneous documents, scattered years), 1964-1970s
 Employment, 1970s
 Fair Housing Plan, 1979
 Funding: CETA, 1979
 Fundraising, 1954, 1978, 1979
 Gamarekian, Edward, founding member of the Executive Board of the NAACP Schenectady Branch, 1949-1953
 Grievances Cases, 1978, 1979
 Historical (incomplete), 1949-1975
 Housing, discrimination, surveys (Union College Social Research Center), 1951, 1960, 1973
 Housing, desegregation by the Municipal Housing Authority, 1951, 1952, 1959
 IUE-UE, memorandum, 1951
 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Observances, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979
 Labor and Industry, 1978
 LeFlore, Marzella, resume, 1978
 May 17 Observances, 1979
 Membership Drives, 1959, 1992
 Mississippi Project ,"Freedom Summer", 1964
 Myers, Malinda, first female Schenectady Branch president, resume, 1979
 Newsletter, Branch, 1951, 1952, 1977
 Newspaper clippings (Miscellaneous topics), 1951-1982

Reel 4

 Political Action (incomplete), 1964, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980
 Poverty Program, 1964
 Press Releases, 1977-1980
 Press/Publicity Committee, 1977
 Program Committee, 1958
 Reorganization, 1977
 "Sambo" restaurant demonstration, 1977
 Schenectady Branch, Constitution and By-laws, 1952, 1977
 Speeches; meeting submissions, 1952
 State Association assessments, 1979
 Thomas, Willis, 1975-1978
 Town Meeting Radio Program, 1951
 WAST T.V., 1979
 Youth, Youth Work, 1952, 1964, 1977 (see branch newsletters)
 Zuber, Paul, 1978

NAACP, Schenectady, N.Y. Branch
Box and Folder List

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Series 6:  Financial Records, 1949-1979

Reel 4 (cont)

Missing Financial Records for 1960-1962 and 1966-1976.

 Financial Statements, 1949-1959

Missing Financial Records for 1960-1962

 Reports to the Treasurer, 1963
 Financial Statements, 1964
 Reports to the Treasurer, 1965

Missing Financial Records for 1966-1976.

 Audit, 1976
 Financial Statements, 1976-1978
 Treasurer's Journal, 1977-79
 Audit, 1978
 Financial Statements, March 1979-Jan. 1981

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Last updated December 14, 2005