By Charles D. Johnson
Creator: Feild, John G. (1922-2006)
Extent: 2.4 Linear Feet
Date Acquired: 01/01/1973
The papers of John G. Feild comprise 2.4 linear feet and date from 1952-1963. They include correspondence, memoranda, notes, legislative materials, and documents pertaining to Feild's work in the area of intergroup relations, the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity, and as a legislative aid to U.S. Senator Philip A. Hart.
The correspondence documents Feild's role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. He was successively head of a large city's community relations commission, director of a major state's fair employment practices commission, legislative secretary to a U.S. Senator, and director of the federal agency charged with enforcing equality of opportunity in government employment. His letters provide an understanding of governmental efforts at the local, state, and federal levels to promote equality of opportunity. Correspondents include: Thomas L. Ashley, John W. Bricker, Herbert Brownell, Arthur J. Goldberg, Philip A. Hart, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Hobart Taylor Jr., and W. Willard Wirtz.
Throughout the period documented in these papers, Feild was active in the National Association of Intergroup Relations Officials (NAIRO). NAIRO materials in the collection include minutes of the board of directors meetings during Feild's tenure on that body. Reports, newsletters, and conference materials cover the late 1950s and early 1960s. Prominent among NAIRO correspondents are: Marshall Bragdon, Herman Long, Galen Martin, Frederick Routh, and George Schermer.
Materials from Feild's tenure as a legislative aid in Washington show the important part he and Senator Philip A. Hart played in the attempts to pass civil rights legislation in the late 1950s. The collection includes extensive materials on the 1960 presidential campaign, during which Feild served on John Kennedy’s staff. Of particular interest are items on Kennedy's and the Democratic Party's stand on civil rights issues and collected materials on anti-Catholic semtiment during the campaign.
Feild's work on the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity is represented by memoranda and minutes of meetings, which show the decision-making processes of the agency. Reports, including 1962's "Plans for Progress," reveal the official goals and actions of the Committee. Also included in the Committee materials are financial and budget records, newsletters, pamphlets, and press clippings.
Collected materials are arranged chronologically, followed by press clippings.
John G. Field, intergroup relations and equal opportunity activist, served with local, state, and national organizations to help promote equality in the workplace for minorities and women. He served as executive director of the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity under John F. Kennedy.
Born on December 4, 1922, in Little Rock, Arkansas, to Joseph L. and Jessie V. Feild, John G. Feild grew up in Detroit. Michigan. He graduated from Wayne State University in 1943, and served in India and China during World War II. Following his military service, he returned to Detroit and worked as a field secretary for the American Veterans Committee and as the field director for the Detroit Commission on Community Relations. Beginning in 1951, Feild was a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Intergroup Relations Officials (NAIRO), which later became the National Association of Human Rights Workers (NAHRW). He also served as secretary and president of that organization. In 1952, Feild became executive secretary of the Toledo Board of Community Relations, and worked toward the passage of the nation's first fair employment practices law by the Toledo City Council. In 1956, he became the first director of the Michigan Fair Employment Practices Commission.
From 1959-1961, Field served as legislative secretary to U.S. Senator Philip A. Hart. He assisted with John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign in 1960, and served as executive director of the President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity from 1961-1963. He left the White House in 1963 to work for the Defense Department, where he set up an in-house equal opportunities and affirmative action plan for civilian employees of the Department. After working for the U.S. Conference of Mayors from 1964-1968, Feild became a lobbyist for eight cities. In 1987, he joined the policy staff of the assistant secretary of the former Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he worked until his retirement in 1995.
Upon his retirement, Feild moved to North Carolina, where he resided until his death in 2006. He married his wife, Marilyn Smith, in 1943; the couple had three children: David, Tracey, and Thomas.
Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research.
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: John G. Feild
Acquisition Method: Gift
Related Materials: Related collections at the Amistad Research Center include the personal papers of Marshall Bragdon and Herman Long, as well as the records of the National Association of Human Rights Workers. Additional papers related to Feild's work are housed at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. For more information please see http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JGFPP.aspx.
Preferred Citation: John G. Feild papers, Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA
Processing Information: Collection processed in February 1985.
Other Note: Correspondence Index attached as PDF.