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Wade H. McCree, Jr. Papers

 Collection
Identifier: UP000822
The Wade H. McCree, Jr. Collection contains his personal and professional correspondence, speeches and writings, voluminous case files, including his notes and opinions, meeting minutes, publications and other material relating to Judge McCree’s service on the bench and as the federal government’s chief lawyer as well as his work on professional committees and his involvement with a wide range of civic, fraternal and charitable organizations.

Important subjects in the collection: African American judges African American law students African American lawyers African American Unitarian Universalists African Americans--Education--Michigan--Detroit Appellate procedure--United States Bakke, Allan Paul--Trials, litigation, etc. Bradley, et al. v. Milliken Carter, Billy Chavis, et al. v. North Carolina (Wilmington 10) Court administration--United States Davis et al. v. School District of the City of Pontiac (Michigan) Federal Judicial Center Fisk University Free press and fair trial--United States Harris v. McRae, et al. Harvard University Afro-American Studies Department Higher Education Opportunities Committee Kelley, et al. v. Nashville and Davidson County Board of Education Mapp, et al. v. Chattanooga Board of Education Massachusetts v. Feeney National Bar Association Newburg Area Council, et al. v. Board of Education of Jefferson County (Kentucky) Nixon v. GSA (Nixon tapes) Race relations--United States Reverse discrimination--Law and legislation--United States School integration--Law and legislation--United States United States. Circuit Court (6th Circuit) United States. District Court (Michigan: Eastern District) United States. Solicitor General United States. Supreme Court U.S. v. Feodor Fedorenko Alexander, Raymond Pace Baker, Oscar and James Bell, Griffin Bok, Derek C. Brown, Bailey Burger, Warren E. Buttenwieser, Benjamin Coleman, William T., Jr. Diggs, Charles C., Jr. Edwards, George C., Jr. Edwards, Harry T. Ford, Geraldine Bledsoe Gilmore, Horace Gould, William B. IV Kaplan, Kivie Kelman, Maurice

Important correspondents (cont'd): Kennedy, Cornelia Lawson, James R. Levin, Theodore Lively, Pierce McAllister, Thomas Meador, Daniel Neef, Arthur Norris, Harold Peck, John W. Phillips, Harry T. Reed, A. Lachlan Richardson, Scovel Smith, Otis M. Tate, Albert, Jr. Vanderbilt, Helen C. Webster, William H. Weick, Paul Williams, G. Mennen

Series Description: Series I, Wayne County Circuit Court, 1954-1959, Box 1

Series II, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, 1960-1968, Boxes 1-6

Series III, U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, 1965-1978, Boxes 7-23

Series IV, U.S. Solicitor General’s Office, 1975-1981, Boxes 24-34

Series V, University of Michigan Law School, Special Master and Consulting, 1981-1987, Boxes 35-40

Series VI, Organizations, 1937-1987, Boxes 41-51 Files reflect Judge McCree's involvement in numerous professional, civic, fraternal and charitable organizations.

Series VII, Subject Files, 1954-1987, Boxes 52-54

Series VIII, Personal Correspondence, 1953-1987, Boxes 54-63

Series IX, Speeches, Writings, Honors, Publicity, 1954-2003, Boxes 63-68 In addition to Judge McCree’s speeches and articles, series includes his poetry, honorary degrees and other awards he received, biographical information and publicity about him, his FBI file and memorial tributes and obituaries.

Series X, Invitations Accepted, 1952-1987, Boxes 68-71 Series includes correspondence, programs, etc. related to speaking engagements, but not texts of speeches.

Series XI, Appointment Calendars, 1955-1977, Boxes 71-76 Series includes correspondence, programs, etc. related to the events attended.

Series XII, Family and Early Career, 1943-2005, Box 76 Series includes family correspondence and files related to his military service and his job with the Michigan Workmen's Compensation Commission.

2014 Addition, Boxes 77-80 An accrual of 3 SB and 1 OS box of unprocessed material was added to the collection in 2014. The accrual also included audiovisual materials that were transferred to the AV department (see non-manuscript material).

Dates

  • 1937 - 2000
  • Majority of material found within 1954 - 1987

Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.

Access

Collection is open for research.

Use

Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.

Extent

88 Linear Feet (84 SB, 4 OS)

Abstract

Wade Hampton McCree, Jr. began his career as a lawyer in the Detroit law firm of Harold E. Bledsoe and Hobart Taylor. He later served on the state’s Workmen’s Compensation Commission and as a judge in the county and U.S. court system. During his tenure on the bench, McCree took part in a number of school desegregation cases iand as the government’s lawyer, he argued a number of significant cases before the Supreme Court. He resigned in 1977 to accept appointment as U.S. Solicitor General in the Carter administration. In the last few years of his life, McCree taught law at the University of Michigan, and consulted on various cases and served as Special Master for the U.S. Supreme Court in cases in which it exercised original jurisdiction. Judge McCree’s professional, educational, civic and charitable activities were many and he was the recipient of numerous honors and awards.

His papers contain his personal and professional correspondence, speeches and writings, voluminous case files, including his notes and opinions, meeting minutes, publications and other material relating to his service on the bench and as the federal government’s chief lawyer as well as his work on professional committees and his involvement with a wide range of civic, fraternal and charitable organizations.

History

Wade Hampton McCree, Jr. was born in Des Moines on July 3, 1920, the second child of the first black proprietors of a pharmacy in the state of Iowa. In the 1920's, his father went to work for the federal government as a narcotics inspector. His assignments took the family first to Hilo, Hawaii, then to Chicago, and finally to Boston, where Wade, Jr. attended Boston Latin School, America’s oldest public school. He worked his way through Fisk University, his parents’ alma mater, but his studies at Harvard Law School, which he had entered on scholarship after graduating from Fisk in 1941, were interrupted by World War II. During the war he served with the 92nd Infantry Division in Italy and after his discharge as a captain in 1946, he married Dores McCrary, a library science student at Simmons College in Boston and a native of Ecorse, Michigan. Two years later he earned his law degree and moved his family to Detroit to join the firm of Harold E. Bledsoe and Hobart Taylor.

In 1952, Wade McCree was appointed by Michigan Governor G. Mennen Williams to the state’s Workmen’s Compensation Commission and in 1954 to a vacancy on the Wayne County Circuit Court. He won election to the unexpired term in 1955, the first African American elected to a court of record in Michigan, and to a full six-year term in 1959. In 1961 President Kennedy appointed Judge McCree to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, where he served until his appointment in 1966 to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. He resigned from that court in 1977 to accept appointment as U.S. Solicitor General in the Carter administration.

As an appeals court judge, McCree took part in a number of school desegregation cases in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, the states in his circuit, and issued important opinions in Stifel v. Hopkins (1973), Environmental Defense Fund v. Tennessee Valley Authority (1972) and U.S. v. Griffin (1970). As the government’s lawyer, he argued a number of significant cases before the Supreme Court, most notably the Bakke reverse discrimination lawsuit against the University of California at Davis. In 1981 he accepted appointment as Lewis M. Simes Professor of Law at the University of Michigan, where he taught until his death on August 30, 1987. During these years he also consulted on various cases and served as Special Master for the U.S. Supreme Court in cases in which it exercised original jurisdiction.

Judge McCree’s professional, educational, civic and charitable activities were legion. To name a few: He was a Trustee of Fisk University and a Harvard University Overseer, Chairman and co-founder of the Higher Education Opportunities Committee for financially-disadvantaged Michigan high school students, a founding Trustee of the Friends School in Detroit, a founding member of the UAW Public Review Board, Vice Moderator of the Unitarian Universalist Association, Board member of the Community Health Association of Detroit, founding member of the Federal Judicial Center Board, member of the American Bar Association Advisory Council on Appellate Justice, Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and Director of the American Judicature Society. He was the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Fordham-Stein Award for his “talent, professionalism and nobility of spirit” and honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania and Howard University, among many others.

Arrangement

Arranged in 12 series – Series 1 (Box 1), Series 2 (Boxes 1-6), Series 3 (Boxes 7-23), Series 4 (Boxes 24-34), Series 5 (Boxes 35-40), Series 6 (Boxes 41-51), Series 7 (Boxes 52-54), Series 8 (Boxes 54-63), Series 9 (Boxes 63-68), Series 10 (Boxes 68-71), Series 11 (Boxes 71-76), Series 12 (Box 76), and 2014 Addition (Boxes 76-80).

Acquisition

The papers of Wade H. McCree, Jr. were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs between 1977 and 1989 by Judge McCree and his wife, Dores McCrary McCree, and were opened for research in July of 1998. Additional papers were placed in the Archives in December of 2004 and additional material was donated to the Reuther Library by Sarah Lewis on September 6, 2013.

Transfers

A number of photographs, Judge McCree’s Goodfellows badge, a videotape of his 1985 Northern Michigan University commencement address and audio tapes of a symposium on the Bakke case in which he participated and the University of Michigan Law School Fund's memorial tribute to him have been placed in the Archives Audiovisual Collection. A 3-volume work by Harold Norris, Some Reflections on Law, Lawyers, and the Bill of Rights, has been transferred to the Archives Library.

Audiocassette tapes and a film roll from a 2013 acquisition were also sent to the AV department (Box 81).

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in July 1998, with updates made in May 2005 and 2014.
Title
Guide to the Wade H. McCree, Jr. Papers
Status
completed
Author
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Date
1998-07
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

Contact:
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Detroit MI 48202 USA