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Daniel Ellis Byrd papers

Overview

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

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Daniel Ellis Byrd papers, 1940-1984 | Amistad Research Center

By David Legendre

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Collection Overview

Title: Daniel Ellis Byrd papers, 1940-1984Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1947-1977

Primary Creator: Byrd, Daniel Ellis (1910-1984)

Extent: 3.2 Linear Feet

Arrangement: Collection is arranged by format or topic and chronologically within.

Date Acquired: 11/01/1977. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: African American lawyers, 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

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

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.

Biographical Note

Deeply involved with the NAACP for a number of years, Daniel Ellis Byrd served in various positions within the organization, including President and Organizer of the NAACP State Conference of Branches, Assistant Director of the Department of Teacher Information and Job Security, and Field Secretary of the Legal Defense and Educational Fund.  Byrd assisted in many desegregation cases throughout the south and in Illinois.

Daniel Ellis Byrd was born January 3, 1910, in Phillips County, Arkansas. The Byrd family moved to Gary, Indiana, in 1920, and Daniel graduated from the city's Froebel High School nine years later. Byrd attended Crane College and Northwestern University between 1929 and 1935, graduating from Northwestern with a Bachelors of Arts degree.

Byrd played professional basketball with the Harlem Globetrotters from 1935-1936 before moving to New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1937. He served as President and Organizer of the NAACP State Conference of Branches from 1939-1947. Byrd aided in the suit of Joseph McKelpin v. Orleans Parish School Board (1941-1948), which equalized teachers' salaries in the parish public schools; in Wiley Butler McMillan v. Iberville Parish School Board, which brought about equal teachers' salaries in that parish; and worked with A.P. Tureaud in the voter registration case of Edward Hall v. T.J. Nagel, Registrar of Voters of St. John the Baptist Parish.

In 1946, Byrd served on a three-man NAACP team that investigated the "blow torch" lynching of John C. Jones in Minden, Louisiana, and supplied the names of the lynchers to the United States Department of Justice. The following year, he joined the professional staff of the NAACP as a Regional Coordinator. From 1948-1960, Byrd served on the First Citizens' Advisory Committee of New Orleans during the tenor of Mayor deLessup S. Morrison.

During 1949-1950, Byrd worked on desegregation cases in Cairo and Alton, Illinois. In 1950, he was appointed Field Secretary of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. The following year, he served as a conciliator during the St. Louis riots.

Byrd aided the cases of Autherine Lucy and Pollyanna Myers in their 1950-1952 suit against the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. From 1951-1967, he assisted in the school integration case of Oliver Bush v. Orleans Parish School Board. In 1952, he investigated the charges of discrimination in the United Packinghouse Workers of America union in Atlanta and worked on Georgia school desegregation. The following year, Byrd assisted with research on the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment and segregation during the Reconstruction era for the appellants in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.

Byrd provided technical assistance in the desegregation suit of Clara Dell Constantine v. Southwestern Louisiana Institute (1953-1956) and in the Alexander Pierre Tureaud Jr v. Louisiana State University case to desegregate the undergraduate school at that university (1953-1963). Between 1953 and 1963, he aided in the litigation of Priscilla Angel v. Louisiana State Board of Education, a suit aimed at desegregating the state's trade schools.

In 1954, Byrd assisted in the suit to desegregate Louisiana State University of Law, Roy Wilson v. Louisiana State University Board of Supervisor. He was appointed the Assistant Director of the NAACP Department of Teacher Information and Job Security the following year. From 1954-1970, he aided the plaintiff in Clifford Eugene Davis v. East Baton Rouge Parish School Board, which integrated the parish public schools. In Arnease Ludley v. Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors (1956-1962), Byrd aided in the challenge of the state law that required students to get a certificate of "good moral character" from their high school principals while at the same time prohibited principals from signing such a certificate if it disrupted the pattern of segregation.

Between 1956 and 1970, Byrd gave technical assistance in school desegregation cases in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, and Illinois. From 1967-1974, he served on the Louisiana Education Association-Louisiana Teacher Association Joint Committee, which negotiated the merger of the two organizations. In 1974, he served on the Louisiana Committee for the Dismantling of a Dual System of Higher Education. Byrd retired from the NAACP in 1977. He passed away in 1984.

Subject/Index Terms

African American lawyers
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

Administrative Information

Repository: Amistad Research Center

Accruals: 1982 addition received from Ida Larson at the University of New Orleans and included in the microfilm edition of the Daniel E. Byrd Papers. These materials housed in Box 8, Folder 9.

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: Daniel Ellis Byrd

Acquisition Method: Gift

Appraisal Information: Collection documents the legal career of Louisiana attorney Daniel E. Byrd, primarily his work with the NAACP and Louisiana Education Association.

Original/Copies Note: Microfilm copies are available for research use. For more information please see http://www.amistadresearchcenter.org/pdfs/Archon/Daniel Ellis Byrd Papers - Microfilm Guide.pdf.

Related Materials: A.P. Tureaud papers, NAACP Office of the Field Director of Louisiana records

Preferred Citation: Daniel Ellis Byrd papers, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana

Processing Information: Processed in November 1978 by David L. Legendre

Other Note: Correspondence index included in the guide to the microfilm edition, which is available under the "Administrative Information" section of this finding aid.


Box and Folder Listing


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Box 6Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Documents from civil rights cases in Louisiana, 1969-1975, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 1: Joyce Marie Moore v. Tangipahoa Parish School Board: Defendents' pretial memoranda; Notice of change of address; Partial settlement agreement, 1971-1975Add to your cart.
Item 2: Donald Jarome Thomas v. West Baton Rouge Parish School Board: Plaintiffs' response to motion submitted critisisms and objections to desegregation plan recommended by HEW and request for operations under freedom of choice; order and desegregation plan for public schools under the jurisdication of the West Baton Rouge Parish School Board, 1969Add to your cart.
Item 3: Oless Blumfield v. William J. Dodd: Order, finding of fact, 1975Add to your cart.
Item 4: Dana Hubbard v. Fred Tannehill: Complaint, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 5: Complaint re: Discrimination against Negro employees in the oil refining industry in violation of contractural agreements with the United States government, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Documents from civil rights cases in other states, 1950-1976Add to your cart.
Item 1: Sonnie Wellington Hereford v. Huntsville (Alabama) Board of Education: Order and memorandum opinion, 1976Add to your cart.
Item 2: Wilfred Keyes v. School District Number One, Denver, Colorado: Memorandum opinion and order, 1969Add to your cart.
Item 3: Anthony T. Lee v. Macon County (Georgia) Board of Education: Opinion, 1967Add to your cart.
Item 4: Eugene Andrews v. Board of Education of Atlanta, Georgia: Appeal to the State Board of Education, 1950Add to your cart.
Item 5: Eugene McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma: Opinion of the United States Supreme Court, 1950Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Documents from civil rights cases in other states, 1950-1972Add to your cart.
Item 1: Naomi Brooks v. School Board of City of Moberly, Missouri: Opinion, 1959Add to your cart.
Item 2: Bettye Joe Baker v. Columbus Municipal Separate School District: Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, 1972Add to your cart.
Item 3: Beal v. Holcombe: Appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, 1951Add to your cart.
Item 4: Wilma Dean Whitmore v. E.W. Stilwell, as President of Texarkana (Texas) Junior College: Memorandum opinion, 1954Add to your cart.
Item 5: John Syres and Louis J. Warrick v. Oil Workers International Union, Local No. 23: Opinion, 1955Add to your cart.
Item 6: Carolyn Bradley and Michael Bradley v. The School Board of the City of Richmond, Virginia: Order, 1970Add to your cart.
Item 7: Constance Carter v. The School Board of Arlington County, Virginia: Complaint and opinion, 1950Add to your cart.
Item 8: Elmer W. Henderson v. United States of America: Opinion, 1950Add to your cart.
Item 9: NAACP v. Kenneth C. Patty, Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia: Opinion, circa 1956Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Material on the Louisiana Education Association (LEA), 1955-1966, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 1: Constitution of the LEA, circa 1955-1966Add to your cart.
Item 2: LEA-Orleans Parish Unit: Constitution, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 3: Association of Bonded Louisiana Educators: Articles of Incorporation, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 4: Resolution establishing an educatinal foundation, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 5: New Orleans League of Classroom Teachers, Local No. 527: Revised copy of constitution, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 6: Louisiana Educators Foundation: Articles of Incorporation, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: LEA reports on annual convention, 1964, 1966-1967Add to your cart.
Folder 6: LEA reports, 1953-1973, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 1: Report of the Evaluation Committee of the 52nd LEA Convention, circa November 1953Add to your cart.
Item 2: For the Minutes, circa 1954Add to your cart.
Item 3: Reports of the Committee on Goals and Objectives of the LEA, circa 1954Add to your cart.
Item 4: Reports of A.P. Tureaud, Counsel of LEA's school desegregation activities, 1965, 1967Add to your cart.
Item 5: Report of faciliities, 1969 April 1Add to your cart.
Item 6: Louisiana Black Educator Displacement, circa 1973Add to your cart.
Item 7: Merit System for Hiring and Promotion of Personnel, circa 1973Add to your cart.
Item 8: The LEA Legal Plan of Action, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: LEA: other material, 1955-1973Add to your cart.
Item 1: Recommendations of the Committee to be sent to the Orleans Parish School Board, circa 1967Add to your cart.
Item 2: Recommended policy for teacher dismissalAdd to your cart.
Item 3: Proposed position papers, 1972 October 9Add to your cart.
Item 4: LEA's position statement presented to National Education Association (NEA) panel on unrest at Southern University, 1973 March 15Add to your cart.
Item 5: LEA's program for increased salariesAdd to your cart.
Item 6: Minutes of the LEA Committee on Goals and Objectives, 1955 August 19Add to your cart.
Item 7: Minutes of the meeting of the Public Relations Committee of the LEA, 1955 November 26Add to your cart.
Folder 8: LEA: other material, 1954-1976, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 1: Resolutions, 1954-1976, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 2: Financial records, 1954-1967Add to your cart.
Item 3: Agendas, 1955-1967Add to your cart.
Item 4: Lists, 1967, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 5: Grievances, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 6: Authorizations, 1973, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 7: Printed material, 1955-1967, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Documents about LEA-Louisiana Teachers Association (LTA) merger, 1967-1975, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 1: NEA Executive Committee approves recommendatins for future LEA-LTA merger talks, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 2: Plans of the LEA-LTA Joint Committee, 1967Add to your cart.
Item 3: Before the American Arbitration Association Report and Recommendations for a Merger Plan, 1975Add to your cart.
Item 4: Principles and Procedures Concerning the Consolidation of State Education Associations, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 5: Merger Resolution, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 6: Proposal for a Unified Professional Association in Louisiana, circa 1974Add to your cart.
Item 7: Proposal for One State Education Association, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: Documents about LEA-LTA Merger, circa 1966-1968, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 1: LEA Proposal Submitted to LEA-LTA Subcommittee on Representation and Officers, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 2: LEA's Position on Merger Negotiations and the "Report of Findings and Recommendations of the Neutral for a Merger Plan", undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 3: LEA's Proposal on Representation in the New Organization, circa 1966Add to your cart.
Item 4: Principles and Procedures Governing the Consolidation of State Education Association (Revised Statement), 1967Add to your cart.
Item 5: Roster: LEA-LTA Joint Committee, undatedAdd to your cart.
Item 6: Minutes of LEA-LTA Merger Committee, 1967 January 29-1968 September 21-22Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Documents from teacher organizations in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, and Florida, 1955-1968, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 12: Documents from teacher organizations in the states of Georgia, Mississippi, New Jersey, and New York, 1959-circa 1966, undatedAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: Documents from teacher organizations in the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia, 1949-1970Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Documents from national teacher organizations, 1955-1970Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Resolutions adopted unanimously by the American Teacher Association in annual convention, Houston, Texas, July 26, 1955Add to your cart.
Item 2: American Teacher Association printed forms and newsletters, 1954-1963Add to your cart.
Item 3: Brochure: "Equal Opportunity for All: The N.E.A.'s Fight for Civil Rights", 1967Add to your cart.
Item 4: NEA Task Force on School Desegregation in Louisiana, 1970 February 15-20Add to your cart.
Item 5: Preliminary Fact Finding Report of NEA Staff Team on School Desegregation in Mississippi, 1970 April 2Add to your cart.
Item 6: NEA Resolution No. 12, 1964Add to your cart.
Item 7: Recent History and Present Status of NEA Policy and Program as Related to the Educational Phases of Civil Rights, 1965 FebruaryAdd to your cart.
Item 8: A Report on the Regional Conference on Faculty Desegregation (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas), 1966Add to your cart.
Item 9: Report of the Southern Region Conference of the National Committee of Educators for Human Rights Held at Miami, Florida on January 16, 1967Add to your cart.
Item 10: Special Report: Integration of Teacher Associations in Louisville, Kentucky, 1964 May 28Add to your cart.

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