THE THOMAS AND DOROTHY LEAVEY CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF LOS ANGELES RESEARCH COLLECTIONCATHOLIC HUMAN RELATIONS COUNCIL COLLECTION, 1958-1992 (CSLA-27):History and Collection/Series Descriptions
HISTORY: The Catholic Human Relations Council (CHRC) was founded in Los Angeles in 1963 and officially incorporated in January 1964, with the purpose--according to its constitution--to "promote better relations among the people of this community through the practical application of the Christian principles of charity and justice, as expressed by the Catholic bishops of the United States in their joint statements of 1943, 1958, and 1963, and relevant papal encyclicals."
The CHRC was also part of the National Catholic Conference on Inter-Racial Justice. Its first president was Emil J. Seliga, and Horace Williams and William Fitzgerald, Loyola University political science professor, were among its first members (which numbered around 150 persons). Although a Catholic organization, membership was open to non-Catholics as well. An initial major activity was the organization's work against Proposition 14, an initiative on the California ballot spearheaded by California realtors to repeal California's fair housing act, the Rumford Act. This included participation in meetings and demonstrations against the proposition, as well as educational outreach to Catholic churches and officials. In addition, the CHRC worked for school integration in Los Angeles and lobbied against legislation considered harmful to civil rights in California. The CHRC was also a strong supporter of Cesar Chavez and the United Farmworkers' strike against the owners of vineyards in California. In short, the Catholic Human Relations Council participated in some of the major issues of the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
Besides political activities, the CHRC provided practical assistance in the form of money and referral services to indigent persons. By 1966 its work in civil rights was respected enough to receive from the Community Relations Conference of Southern California an award for "distinguished achievements dedicated to the ideals of democracy and the advance of unity." To publicize its work and ideals the CHRC had its own newsletter, The Witness, that, besides articulating the CHRC's philosophy, recorded the activities of Roman Catholic social activism in general in southern California. By 1967, Horace Williams had succeeded Emil Seliga as president of the CHRC. Williams' work for the CHRC, as well as for other Catholic organizations, resulted in his being made a Knight of St. Gregory, an honor bestowed on lay Catholics only by the pope.
SERIES DESCRIPTIONS: The materials in the Catholic Human Relations Council Collection are all textual, consisting of correspondence, newspaper articles, newspapers, magazines, brochures, flyers, pamphlets, board minutes and agendas. The inclusive dates of the collection are from 1958 through 1992, with the bulk dates 1969 through 1971. The majority of the collection's materials, eg, publications and press releases, are related to issues in which the Catholic Human Relations Council (CHRC) was involved but which the organization itself did not produce. These materials often originated with organizations of the "New Left" of the 1960s such as the Los Angeles committee supporting the Berrigan brothers (Series 4, Box 1, Folder 6), and have research value for this reason. Organizational and administrative records of the Catholic Human Relations Council are less in quantity (see especially Series 3 and Series 3, Subseries A).
The arrangement of this collection in series is based on the original order that Horace Williams established. These CHRC materials most likely served a dual purpose, both as organizational and administrative records of the CHRC and as personal resource files for Mr. Williams. One subseries (in Series 3: Subject Files) was set up to account for loose materials. A scrapbook was also transferred to the Research Collection but because of its extremely poor condition its contents had to be separated from the scrapbook. Materials separated from the scrapbook are noted in the content field of the box and folder list.
This collection is arranged in five series based on the original order of Horace Williams' filing system: Series 1: Organization Files; Series 2: Publications; Series 3: Subject Files; Series 4: Issues Files; Series 5: National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice. For a description of each series, consult the accounts below. To view the box and folder lists (indices of series' or subseries' arrangement and content in boxes and folders), select the appropriate series or subseries title below.
SERIES 1: ORGANIZATION FILES back to topInclusive dates: 1969-1973. Series size: 2 archival document boxes.
This series consists of materials related to organizations working for civil rights in the Los Angeles area, both Catholic and non-Catholic, such as the Community Relations Conference of Southern California. Materials include flyers, newsletters, newspaper articles, and organizational records.
To consult the box and folder lists for the holdings of this series, select the following title: Series 1.
SERIES 2: PUBLICATIONS back to topInclusive dates: 1962-1974. Series size: 4 archival document boxes, 2 oversize boxes.
In this series are found publications of civil rights organizations and the Catholic Church. Types of publications include newspapers, newsletters, off-prints of articles, and flyers. Of special interest are the newspapers of such groups as La Raza and the newsletter of the Catholic Human Relations Council (The Witness).
To consult the box and folder lists for the holdings of this series, select the following title: Series 2.
SERIES 3: SUBJECT FILES back to topInclusive dates: 1970-1974. Series size: 1 archival document box.
The materials in this series come from a records group entitled originally by Horace Williams "CHRC BUSINESS", ie, subject files. Materials include, among other things, funding proposals, CHRC by-laws and history, CHRC correspondence, and some CHRC board minutes.
To consult the box and folder lists for the holdings of this series, select the following title: Series 3.
To account for the loose subject files that were not part of Mr. Williams' filing system "Subseries A: Loose Subject Files" was created. This subseries consists of 1 archival document box and its inclusive dates are 1974-1992 This subseries contains the minutes and agendas of the CHRC in its infancy, 1964-1966, as well as financial statements. It also has materials originally stored in a scrapbook but separated for reasons of preservation.
To consult the box and folder lists for the holdings of this subseries, select the following title: Series 3, Subseries A.
SERIES 4: ISSUES FILES back to topInclusive dates: 1958-1974. Series size: 4 archival document boxes, 1 oversize box.
This series consists of materials on important issues related to the work of the CHRC. Types of materials are flyers, brochures, pamphlets, newspaper articles, and reports. The titles assigned by Horace Williams to the issues have been retained, as well as his alphabetical order based on these titles. Materials especially relevant to the politics of the 1960s are those documenting busing to achieve desegregation in Los Angeles and the support of groups in Los Angeles for the Berrigan brothers.
To consult the box and folder lists for the holdings of Series 4, select the following title: Series 4.
SERIES 5. NATIONAL CATHOLIC CONFERENCE FOR INTERRACIAL JUSTICE back to topInclusive dates: 1963-1972. Series size: 3 archival document boxes, 1 oversize folder.
This series contains records of the CHRC's relationship with the National Catholic Conference for Interracial Justice (NCCIJ), of which the CHRC was part. Correspondence between the two groups provides valuable evidence on the activities of both groups. Especially prominent in this series are the materials related to the CHRC's work as host for the national NCCIJ meeting held at Loyola Marymount University in 1970.
To consult the box and folder lists for the holdings of Series 5, select the following title: Series 5.
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