Skip to main content

NAACP Detroit Branch Records

Identifier: UR000244

Scope and Content

Part 1: Most of the records in this part of the collection pertain to the period 1960-1968. There are some records concerning the Detroit race riot of 1943 and a few records for the years 1967 and 1968.

Series 1: Detroit Race Riot, 1943 Civil rights complaint forms, legal affidavits, reports, speeches and newspaper clippings.

Series 2: Correspondence, 1962-1965 Letters received, copies of letters sent, telegrams, press releases, reports and newspaper clippings attached to incoming correspondence.

Series 3: Alphabetical File, 1960 1961 Correspondence, reports, press releases, minutes, newspaper, and published bills.

Series 4: Alphabetical File, 1962 Correspondence, reports, press releases, minutes, newspaper clippings and published announcements.

Series 5: Alphabetical File, 1963 Correspondence, reports, press releases, newspaper clippings and published announcements.

Series 6, Alphabetical File, 1964 Correspondence, reports, press releases, minutes, newspaper clippings and publicity material.

Series 7: Alphabetical File, 1965-66 Correspondence, reports, press releases, minutes, newspaper clippings and published announcements.

Series 8: Published Material

Series 9: Civil Rights Complaints, 1963-1966

Index to Correspondents for Part I: Ardrey, W.C., 1-1, 1-2, 14-3; Barbour, Al, 6-25, 15-19, 16-2; Bell, Edward F., 7-8, 14-3, 14-4; Black, Lucille, 5-11, 5-13, 5-14, 5-17; Bond, Mildred, 5-4, 5-12, 5-13, 5-14, 5-15, 5-16, 5-18; Bork, L.S., 4-19; Bradley, James, 5-3; Brand, Mary, 4-16, 4-17, 11-15; Broomfield, William S., 4-8; Brown, Ernest L. Jr., 22-17; Brownell, S., 11-14; Carey, Ed, 11-1; Carper, Jack 20-3; Carter, Robert L., 5-4, 5-5, 22-8; Cavanagh, Jerome P., 4-14, 4-15, 5-20; Cheng, Charles W., 20-11; Cleage, Albert B. Jr., 3-8, 6-11, 7-12; Clevenger, Raymond Jr., 4-8; Conyers, John Jr., 4-9; Coomes, Francis J., 19-13; Cox, Windell, 4-10, 7-4, 7-16; Current, Gloster, 1-16, 5-6, 5-7, 5-8, 5-9, 5-10, 9-20; Cushman, Edward L., 4-17, 7-12; Diggs, Charles C. Jr., 4-8, 5-3; Dingell, John D., 4-8, 18-27; Drachler, Norman, 4-16, 13-1; Emrich, Richard S. (Rt. Rev.), 2-24, 9-6, 9-8; Farnum, Billie S., 4-8; Feikens, John, 4-23, 19-18, 19-20; Ford, Henry 11, 17-8; Girardin, Ray, 5-20, 5-21, 17-18, 17-19, 24-3, 24-10; Gordin, Burton I., 19-18, 19-19, 19-20; Gordon, Leonard, 1-6, 1-7, 7-1; Hart, Philip A., 6-5; Harvey, James, 4-8; Hodges, Edward N. 111, 24-10; Holmes, David S. Jr., 5-3, 22-8; Holt, Edgar B., 20-11; Hood, Nicholas, 4-13, 9-10, 11-1, 16-2; Jeffrey, Mildred, 6-4, 10-2, 13-8; Johnson, Arthur L., 4-17, 4-23, 5-1, 14-3, 19-17, 27-9; Johnson, Edgar J., 4-10; Keith, Damon J., 4-21, 4-23, 6-10, 15-14, 19-18, 27-17; Kornegay, Francis A., 13-16, 13-17, 13-18; Lenox, G. Merrill, 4-19; Levin, Sander M., 4-21, 5-2; Locke, Hubert, 6-7, 21-7; Lockwood, Emil, 26-19; Lyles, Fred D. Jr., 27-20; McClain, Richard W., 5-5, 5-13, 5-14; McClendon, James, 4-20; McGhee, Richard S., 19-7, 19-8, 19-9; McGowan, Jimmy R., 10-6, 24-10; McNamara, Pat, 6-5; Mackie, John C., 4-8; Madar, Olga M., 27-10; Marks, Richard V., 9-20, 10-6, 10-8, 10-9, 10-10, 10-19, 10-20, 10-21,17-17, 22-17; Miller, Bruce A., 1-16, 4-10, 4-12, 9-9, 17-15, 17-17, 17-18, 17-19, 18-22; Moon, Henry Lee, 5-4; Morris, William R., 5-5, 21-6; Morsell, John A., 5-4, 5-5; Muse, Edward B., 5-5; Odom, Edward J. Jr., 5-4; O'Hara, James G., 4-8; Oliver, William H. 16-2, 27-10; Penn, Robert E., 27-10, 28-24; Potts, Robert L., 2-24, 4-2, 7-7; Ravitz, Mel, 3-3, 4-13, 11-1; Reuther, Walter P., 6-4, 27-10, 28-3; Robinson, Remus G., 11-14; Romney, George, 5-2; Sheehan, James J. (Rev.), 1-13; Simmons, Althea T.L., 5-4, 5-5, 22-8; Spivak, Peter B., 3-17, 4-10, 5-1, 9-7, 9-8, 16-2; Stephens, Roy, 3-7, 6-24; Straus, Kathleen, 12-3; Strobel, Eugene, 13-8; Tate, Jane, 4-17, 11-16, 12-3; Vaughn, Jackie 111, 5-3, 18-27; Vivian, Weston E., 4-8, 18-27; Waters, Nancy, 20-11, 20-13; Wattenberg, William W., 4-17, 14-3; White, George E., 16-2; Wilkins, Roy, 5-18; Woodcock, Leonard, 3-7, 6-24, 11-14, 28-9; Woods, Willis F., 19-8, 19-9; Young, Coleman A., 5-2, 26-18, 26-19; Zwerdling, Abe, 14-3
Part 2: The records in Part 2 of the collection are primarily the files of Executive Secretary Robert Tindal.

Series 10: General File, 1964-1968 Correspondence, minutes and reports of various community organizations as well as the Detroit Branch and Michigan State Conference of NAACP branches. Material covering the Northern and Northwestern High School student protest movements is also included.

Series 11: Pamphlets, Reports, Speeches, 1965-1968 Detroit Public Schools publications and others on various topics, including education and housing.

Series 12: Complaints, 1963-1967 Complaints about discrimination in the courts, education, hiring, housing, jobs, the police and public accommodations.
Part 3: The records in Part 3 extend from 1912-2016, though the majority are from the 1970s to about 2007. Series include Administrative files (Series 13), Events, programming, and community (Series 14), Subject files (Series 15), Complaints, court cases, and legal redress (Series 16), Publications (Series 17), Audio-visual and oversize (Series 18), and materials in the Reuther Digital Repository (Series 19).

The Administrative files series (Series 13) contains files of the Detroit Branch office, Executive Committee and Board of Director meetings, finances, national and regional NAACP conventions and meetings, and staff files.

The Events, programming, and community series (Series 14) contains documents relating to the various events the Detroit Branch orchestrates from the annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner to candidate forums. A large portion of these files relate to youth programming including Youth Entrepreneurship Institute, Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO), back to school rallies Art and Essay Contests, Youth Fashions for Freedom, and a Youth Council.

The Subject files series (Series 15) contains files maintained by the Detroit Branch on various informational topics, organizations, and individuals. In these files documents include correspondence, brochures, background information. Topics include affirmative action, civil rights, Detroit, education, health, insurance, prisons, and Southwest Detroit Hospital, among many others.

The NAACP Detroit Branch collects complaints of civil rights violations form its members and also will fight these violations in court when the need arises. The series (Series 16) Complaints, court cases, and legal redress contain documents pertaining these issues. Bradley v Milliken, Dearborn parks case, MGM discrimination are a few of the more prominent cases addressed in this series.

Publications (Series 17) in this collection include NAACP Detroit Branch publication The Reporter, National NAACP publication The Crisis, souvenir books from events like Fight For Freedom Dinners and Youth Fashion for Freedom events, as well as a select number of publications from other branches and miscellaneous publications.

Audio-visual and oversize materials in Series 18 include photographs, video, and audio PSAs from Detroit Branch events, resolutions from the city of Detroit, larger size publications, and a Soles to the Polls voting yard sign.

Series 19 includes all of the digital material in the collection transfered from its original form on from CDs, DVDs, and floppy disks. These files include photographs, video, and audio PSAs from Detroit Branch events.


  • 1912 - 2016
  • Majority of material found within 1956 - 2007



Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


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.
Part 3: Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Additionally, To use complaint files in Part 3, Series XVI, researchers must sign a Restricted Use Statement.


The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was established in 1910 to help African-American citizens secure their rights, obtain legal justice and gain equal political, economic and social opportunity.

The activities of the NAACP depend largely upon the organization of its 1,110 senior branches, which are established in most of the states and major cities. Each branch is chartered by a local community upon application to the Board of Directors of the national association and each enjoys a large degree of autonomy. It elects its own officers, holds regular and special meetings and has the right to carry out its own programs to improve local conditions. Its charter, however, may be revoked by the Board of Directors of the national association.

The Detroit Branch was established in 1912. In the 1920's it had a membership of only 2,000, but by 1943, its membership had increased to 25,000. Since 1952, except for two years, it has led all NAACP branches in total membership.

Since 1950, the Detroit branch has worked to improve conditions in housing, employment, education and police community relations. As a result of its success in the achievement of these goals, the Detroit Branch has received community wide and national recognition.

In recent decades the Detroit Branch has continued to focus on these important issues and also expanded programs and events for its members. Youth programming in particular has grown to include Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO), back to school rallies, college tours, an art and essay contest, and Youth Fashions for Freedom events. The proceeds of the branch’s annual Fight For Freedom Fund Dinner helps support youth focused programs. The Detroit Branch has also held events to support Black-owned and Detroit businesses, commemorative events for Martin Luther King’s Detroit Freedom March of 1963, as well as many other events to support its members and community.


65 Linear Feet (27 SB, 70 MB, 1 OS)

12.7 Gigabytes (72 disc image files)


The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was established in 1910 to help African-American citizens secure their rights, obtain legal justice and gain equal political, economic and social opportunity. The Detroit Branch was established in 1912 and has worked to improve conditions in housing, employment, education, and police-community relations and in doing so has received community-wide and national recognition. Their records reflect these accomplishments, including material on the Detroit race riot of 1943, scattered records concerning police brutality and discrimination in housing, employment, and education, civil rights complaints, membership campaigns, events and programming, and administrative materials.


Part 1: Arranged in 9 series- Series 1 (Box 1), Series 2 (Boxes 2-9), Series 3 (Boxes 10-12), Series 4 (Boxes 13-20), Series 5 (Boxes 20-24), Series 6 (Boxes 25-27), Series 7 (Boxes 28-31), Series 8 (Boxes 32-33), and Series 9 (Box 34). Folders are arranged alphabetically within each series unless otherwise noted

Series 2: The records are arranged chronologically by month. The correspondence of each month is divided into three sections—incoming, outgoing and national office.
Part 2: Arranged in 3 series - Series 10 (Boxes 35-62), Series 11 (Boxes 63-64), and Series 12 (Box 65). Folders are arranged alphabetically within each series unless otherwise noted.

Series 11: Folders are not arranged.
Part 3: Arranged in 7 series - Series 13 (Boxes 66-79), Series 14 (Boxes 79-85), Series 15 (Boxes 85-89), Series 16 (Boxes 89-90), Series 17 (Boxes 92-96), Series 18 (Boxes 90-91 and 97-98), Series 19 - Reuther Digital Repository. Folders are arranged within each series alphabetically.


The records of the Detroit Branch of the NAACP were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in August of 1967 and opened for research in April of 1968. Additions to the records were received in April 1971, June 2012, July 2012, October 2012, November 2012, and April 2015.

Other Copies

Parts 1 and 2 are digitized and are available as PDFs in the Reuther Library’s digital repository.


Part 2: One cubic foot of photographs, primarily depicting Freedom Fund Dinners, has been placed in the Archives Audiovisual Collection.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in 1968, 1971, and on January 25, 2018.
NAACP Detroit Branch Records
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA