African Americans - Civil rights - History - 20th century
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) - History - 20th century
School integration - United States - History - 20th century
Segregation in education - United States - History - 20th century
The papers of attorney and civil rights activist Daniel Ellis Byrd include correspondence, reports, speeches, biographical data, minutes, financial records, resolutions, agendas, lists, and collected items. Many of the documents chronicle Daniel Byrd's involvement in activities related to his employment as an NAACP field secretary for forty years and as assistant director of the Department of Teacher Information and Security of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. Subjects treated in the documents are education and civil rights, including equalization of teachers' salaries and the desegregation of recreational facilities in New Orleans. An item of special interest is a report, written by John W. Davis in 1965, on the LINKS as a contributing organization to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Also of interest are documents pertaining to the merger of the Louisiana Education Association with the Louisiana Teachers Association, and the cases Alexander Pierre Tureaud Jr v. Louisiana State University Board of Supervisorsand Catherine Battise v. Acadia Parish School Board.
Correspondents include John W. Davis, Director of the NAACP Department of Teacher Information and Job Security (1955-1967, 128 items); John Kermit Haynes, Executive Secretary of the Louisiana Education Association (1953-1977, 99 items); Thurgood Marshall, Special Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (1951-1956, 58 items); Robert L. Carter, Assistant Special Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (1953-1956, 36 items); J. Rupert Picott, Executive Secretary of the Virginia Teachers Association (1954-1966, 25 items); and Gloster B. Current, Director of Branches for the NAACP (1950-1970, 14 items). Other important figures who are represented in the collection by a few letters include the following: Roy Wilkins, Executive Secretary of the NAACP (1954-1955, 8 items); Jack Greenberg, Assistant Special Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (1953-1955, 7 items); Medgar W. Evers, Mississippi Field Secretary of the NAACP (1954-1956, 11 items); and the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. (1956, 1 item). Topics covered in the correspondence include the fight of Medgar Evers to gain admittance into the University of Mississippi, the internal organization and functions of the NAACP Department of Teacher Information and Job Secretary, the merger of the Louisiana Education Association with the Louisiana Teachers Association, and the legal cases cited above.
Non-correspondence occupies boxes 4-8. Within the non-correspondence are papers relating to the NAACP, among which are activity reports of Byrd (1951-1973); activity reports of Vernon McDaniel and Loftus C. Carson; NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. monthly reports (1952-1955); and various other NAACP reports, such as "Action Program for Northern Branches: Implementing the Supreme Court Decision" (July 1, 1954), "Special Report on the LINKS as a Sustaining Contributor to the Work of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund" by John W. Davis (October 14, 1965).
Another topic treated in the non-correspondence is racial desegregation of schools. These papers include reports by Byrd on school integration in several parishes in Louisiana; research material for the appellants in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, which consists of reports on the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment and school integration during the Reconstruction period; petitions to public school boards in the various parishes in Louisiana. Following are documents on parish schools throughout the state and collected materials about desegregation in Louisiana and other states.
The non-correspondence also touches upon problems and organizations within the teaching profession. This category of records comprises items concerning the Louisiana Education Association (LEA), including the organization's constitution, LEA reports on the annual convention (1964-1967), "Recommended Policy for Teacher Dismissal," and minutes of the Louisiana Education Association-Louisiana Teachers Association Joint Committee Meetings (1967-1968); items from teacher organizations in other states and from the National Council of Officers of State Teachers Organizations; documents from the National Education Association; and documents from the Louisiana Committee for the Dismantling of a Dual System of Higher Education.
Miscellaneous non-correspondence includes reports and reprinted articles on civil rights questions and on education, Byrd's speeches, news releases and clippings, outlines, resolutions, and biographical documents about Byrd. Despite the amount of material contained in the collection, there are still significant chronological and topical gaps. Missing topics include the Minden lynching in Webster Parish in 1942, Byrd's work in states other than Louisiana, and his work in most of the civil rights cases. Chronologically, the collection is weakest between the years 1958 through 1965. Many of Byrd's papers were lost during Hurricane Betsy in 1965.