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Ramon S. Scruggs, Sr. Papers

 Collection
Identifier: UP002428
The Ramon S. Scruggs Papers are comprised of materials relating to Scruggs' social advocacy and business dealings. The largest section of the collection belongs to the Correspondence series, which contains official and personal messages related to his numerous daily activities. The Political and Social Activism series encompasses materials from the social causes he participated in, such as transcripts of the numerous speeches he gave around the country in the 1960s. Records related to his various employers, the Professional Affiliations series includes publications on racial issues he helped create for Michigan Bell and AT&T. Finally, the Audiovisual and Oversize series mostly contains photographs of special events attended by Scruggs, notably a testimonial luncheon held in his honor in 1963.

Series Description: Series 1: Correspondence, 1935-1977 The series contains mostly incoming and some outgoing messages from Scruggs’ daily business and humanitarian activities.

Series 2: Political and Social Activism, 1950-1985 The series includes materials from the social causes Scruggs participated in, notably the Detroit Urban League and NAACP. Transcripts of speeches given by Scruggs in the 1960s comprise the bulk of the series.

Series 3: Professional Affiliations, 1939-1974 The series contains records related to Scruggs’ work at the Michigan Bell Telephone Company, AT&T, and the Rumford Baking Company.

Series 4: Audiovisual and Oversize Materials, 1940-1973 The series mostly contains photographs of special events and meetings attended by Scruggs, notably a testimonial luncheon held in his honor in 1963.

Dates

  • 1935 - 1985
  • Majority of material found within 1960 - 1974

Creator

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.

Extent

12 Linear Feet (19 MB, 2 OS, 1 film reel)

Abstract

Best known as the first African-American member of management at both Michigan Bell Telephone Company and AT&T, Ramon S. Scruggs, Sr. served as an influential civil rights figure in the American business community. Scruggs' career began at the Rumford Baking Company as a National Sales Representative in 1932, the first African-American to hold such a prominent position in the food industry. He left the company to join the Detroit Urban League and local YMCA branch, starting a relationship with community organizations, which he maintained even after his return to the business world. 1939 saw Scruggs become the first African-American white-collar employee at Michigan Bell, and he continued to integrate higher levels of management at the telephone company. By 1963, Scruggs had been promoted to AT&T's headquarters staff where he led projects regarding race and business practices from a national platform until his retirement ten years later. Scruggs' community work included serving on the Board of Trustees at Fisk University, the NAACP Special Contribution Fund, and the Children's Hospital of Michigan. The Ramon S. Scruggs Papers are comprised of materials relating to Scruggs' social advocacy and business dealings. The largest section of the collection belongs to the Correspondence series, which contains official and personal messages related to his numerous daily activities. The Political and Social Activism series encompasses materials from the social causes he participated in. Records related to his various employers, the Professional Affiliations series includes publications on racial issues he helped create for Michigan Bell and AT&T. Finally, the Audiovisual and Oversize series mostly contains photographs of special events attended by Scruggs.

History

Best known as the first African-American member of management at both Michigan Bell Telephone Company and AT&T, Ramon S. Scruggs, Sr. served as an influential civil rights figure in the American business community. Scruggs' career began at the Rumford Baking Company as a National Sales Representative in 1932, the first African-American to hold such a prominent position in the food industry. He left the company to join the Detroit Urban League and local YMCA branch, starting a relationship with community organizations, which he maintained even after his return to the business world. 1939 saw Scruggs become the first African-American white-collar employee at Michigan Bell, and he continued to integrate higher levels of management at the telephone company. In the following years, Scruggs' pioneering successes brought him national attention and he traveled the country speaking on behalf of African-American professionals. He also became involved politically, campaigning for and meeting with figures such as Richard Nixon and Hubert H. Humphrey. By 1963, Scruggs had been promoted to AT&T's headquarters staff where he led projects regarding race and business practices from a national platform until his retirement ten years later. Scruggs' community work included serving on the Board of Trustees at Fisk University, the NAACP Special Contribution Fund, and the Children's Hospital of Michigan.

Scruggs grew up in Nashville and stayed in Tennessee to attend college at Fisk University. After retiring he moved to Los Angeles. In 1984, he was slain there during a home invasion. Through the example of his business acumen and advocating spirit, Scruggs is credited for opening up numerous managerial-level opportunities to African-Americans in corporate America.

Arrangement of the Papers

Arranged in 4 series - Series 1 (Boxes 1-11), Series 2 (Boxes 11-16), Series 3 (Boxes 16-18), and Series 4 (Boxes 19-22). Series 1 is arranged chronologicially. Series 2-4 are each arranged by subject or record type, and secondarily arranged chronologically.

Location

4W-Q-2(1-3); 4S-C-7(10); 1V-C-2(2)

Acquisition

The collection was donated by Marie Scruggs Inniss on May 23, 2014.

Related Material

Originals of the following items have been moved to the vault and photocopies left in corresponding boxes: Letters from Richard M. Nixon (Boxes 1 and 8), Nelson A. Rockefeller (Box 2), and Hubert H. Humphrey (Box 8).

Originals of items specified by the donor were returned to them and photocopies left in the corresponding box.

Transfers

A video reel was transferred to the Reuther Library's Audiovisual Department.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Gavin Strassel on July 11, 2012.
Title
Guide to the Ramon S. Scruggs, Sr. Papers
Status
completed
Author
Processed by Gavin Strassel; encoded by Gavin Strassel.
Date
2014-07-11
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

Contact:
5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA