By David L. Legendre
Creator: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Office of Field Director of Louisiana
Extent: 21.0 Linear Feet
Date Acquired: 01/01/1977. More info below under Accruals.
The records of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) Louisiana State Field Office consist of 21 linear feet of documents. The largest portion of the collection is comprised of correspondence; the remainder of the collection consists of reports, press releases, minutes, newsletters, complaints, newspaper clippings, and photographs. The correspondence in the collection is arranged chronologically and consists primarily of letters written to and by the NAACP Field Director of Louisiana. During the period of the collection (1964-1976), the Field Director position was held by two people: Mary Jamison (1966-1967) and Harvey Ronald H. Britton (1967-1976).
The remaining 13 linear feet of this collection is arranged according to the origin of the document and placed within series, which correspond to this origin. This arrangement begins with documents from the Louisiana Field Director’s Office, followed by documents from the Louisiana NAACP Branches, the Louisiana State Office, the Washington Bureau, the National Office and other documents from outside the NAACP organization. Among the documents that can be found in these series are monthly reports of the Field Director, press releases and newsletters from all levels of the NAACP and other organizations, civil rights complaints made to the Louisiana Office, branch files, Executive Committee and Board of Director’s minutes of the Louisiana State Conference, documents from the State Conventions, monthly summary reports from the National Office, and documents from other organizations such as the Human Relations Committee of New Orleans, the Urban League, the American Jewish Committee, and the Amistad Research Center.
The Louisiana Field Office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) worked to coordinate activities and programs throughout the state in the areas of voter registration, as well as racial discrimination in education, economics, employment, and housing. The Field Office also worked in the areas of justice for violence based on race, as well as inequality and treatment of prisoners in the Louisiana State Prison system.
Early in 1966, Mary Jamieson, originally from Long Island, New York, and the first White student at Grambling College became Field Director for the NAACP in Louisiana. She was replaced in October that same year by Harvey Ronald H. Britton, a native of New York City, a posting he held for nine years. The Louisiana Field Office first organized a voter registration drive in advance of the 1966 Louisiana State Primary in August and supported the NAACP’s economic boycott against businesses in Ferriday, Louisiana, to end racial discrimination.
Programs to force compliance with the Louisiana State Compulsory School Attendance Law started in 1967 and Harvey Britton arrived in Louisiana to take up the post of Field Director. Under Britton’s leadership the Office intensified its efforts in the areas of voter registration, housing, and education in northern Louisiana and supported the appointment of Arthur J. Chapital, Sr., of the NAACP New Orleans branch to the Equal Employment Opportunity’s “watch dog” committee by the National Alliance of Postal and Federal Employees. In 1968, the Director demanded the suspension of all policemen involved in an incident that resulted in the biting of four Black youths by a police dog. In 1969, the Field Office organized an inquiry into the sanitary conditions in the Leesville City Jail. From 1970 to 1976, the office supported the NAACP’s challenge to the Louisiana state law that provide aid to private schools; aided a boycott by Black students to end racial discrimination in the Iberville Parish Public Schools; investigated the treatment of inmates in the Louisiana State Prison at Angola; and supported the Baton Rouge branch’s investigation into a shootout involving a splinter group of the Black Muslims and the Baton Rouge Police.
In 1963, the Field Office Director called for a statewide leadership conference to discuss the shootings of Blacks by law enforcement officials. From 1974-1976, the Field Office worked for equality in higher education by assisting the Ad Hoc Committee to gain participation of Black colleges and universities in the Mid-Winter Sports Association. Though the NAACP and Field Office supported a plan to dismantle the dual system of higher education in Louisiana, the NAACP opposed any plan that would close Grambling and Southern Universities.
In May 1976, the Louisiana Field Office closed and all records and files of the Office were transferred to the Amistad Research Center.
Access Restrictions: The NAACP Office of Field Director of Louisiana records are open and available for research use.
Use Restrictions: Copyright to these papers has not been assigned to the Amistad Research Center. It is the responsibility of an author to secure permission for publication from the holder of the copyright to any material contained in this collection.
Acquisition Source: Harvey Britton, NAACP, Field Director of Louisiana
Acquisition Method: Gift
The Amistad Research Center holds the records of related civil rights organizations including the NAACP Memphis Branch, National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing, the National Association of Human Rights Workers, the Urban League of Greater New Orleans, the Catholic Council on Human Relations, and the Community Relations Council of Greater New Orleans.
Personal papers related to civil rights and education in Louisiana include the A.P. Tureaud Papers, John P. Nelson Papers, the Alan Weider Collection, and Nils R. Douglass Papers.
Preferred Citation: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Office of the Field Director of Louisiana records, Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA.
Processing Information: The records of the NAACP Office of the Field Director of Louisiana were completed in 1979.