National Archives at Chicago

The Modern Civil Rights Movement:
Federal Records in the National Archives and Records Administration

Great Lakes Region

Compiled by Amanda Bylczynski, Glenn Longacre, and Martin Tuohy

I. The Assault on Discrimination, 1940-1954

RECORDS OF THE DISTRICT COURTS OF THE UNITED STATES (RECORD GROUP 21)

Civil action case files, civil dockets, and civil case record books from U.S. District Courts throughout the Midwest include lawsuits from the 1930s onward involving alleged violations of civil rights. The selected cases listed below are indicative of research opportunities, but the list itself is not comprehensive. Federal court cases involving violations of civil rights during the period 1940-1954 may have been filed under the Civil Rights Act of 1875; the Railway Labor Act of 1926, as amended in 1934; the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, or other laws or bases.

Records of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division at Chicago

Civil Action Case 234, Carl Hansberry vs. The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (1938). Hansberry, a prominent African-American real estate businessman in Chicago, protested the practice of racially segregating black railroad passengers into inferior "Jim Crow" cars by filing suit against the Santa Fe Railway. Hansberry's complaint included the allegation that the railroad company charged African-Americans first-class fares, but relegated them to third-class passenger cars.

Civil Action Case 44C720, Perry Hansberry vs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Army and Navy, et al. Hansberry, a prominent African-American real estate businessman in Chicago and the brother of Carl Hansberry, protested racial discrimination and segregation in the military draft and in military duty by filing suit against the U.S. Government.

Civil Action Case 52C339, United States of America vs. Carl A. Hansberry, Perry Hansberry, M. L. Hansberry, and C.A. Enterprises. Suit by the U.S. Government against Carl Hansberry, father of playwright Lorraine Hansberry, and his brother Perry Hansberry for violation of the federal Housing and Rent Act for allegedly overcharging rent from an African-American tenant in an apartment building owned by the Hansberrys.

Civil Action Case 53C840, United States of America vs. Carl A. Hansberry, Perry Hansberry, and C.A. Enterprises. Suit by the U.S. Government against Carl Hansberry, father of playwright Lorraine Hansberry, and his brother Perry Hansberry for violation of the federal Housing and Rent Act for allegedly overcharging rent from three middle-aged African-American households in an apartment building the Hansberrys owned at 6347 Greenwood Avenue in Chicago.

Civil Action Case 58C1284, Carl A. Hansberry, Perry Hansberry, Lorraine Hansberry, et al vs. City of Chicago. Suit by the Hansberry family of Chicago's Black Belt for alleged harassment of tenants, defamation of the Hansberry's real estate business by city housing inspectors, and conspiracy by white city officials to deprive African-American property owners of their property. At the time of this federal lawsuit in 1958, the City of Chicago was pursuing 42 separate municipal court cases against the Hansberry family for alleged violations of building codes. The Hansberrys attempted to rehabilitate apartment buildings at 417-419 East 45th Street in Chicago, but after they evicted tenants from 50 apartments to allow renovation work to begin, the Chicago building commissioner refused to give the Hansberrys a permit for the necessary repairs. Allegedly, the building commissioner spoke abusively to Carl Hansberry and added numerous additional prerequisites for the permit.

Records of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division

Civil Case 56C40, Damon Stewart, et al, vs. The City of Evansville, et al. (Desegregation of municipal swimming pools in Evansville, Indiana.)

RECORDS OF THE BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS (RECORD GROUP 75)

Records of various Indian reservations, agencies, and schools in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa include correspondence and memoranda about BIA efforts to end certain Native American religious practices perceived to be detrimental to the participants' welfare. Interference by BIA officials in the family life of Native American households also is documented widely in the records.

RECORDS OF THE NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD (RECORD GROUP 13)

Minutes of meetings, 1934-1968, of the National Railroad Adjustment Board for Divisions 1, 2, 3, and 4 include transcripts of correspondence with individual railroad workers, all-white railroad brotherhoods, and all-black railroad unions, as well as board decisions about the problem of racial discrimination in labor union membership and the white brotherhoods' duty of fair representation towards black railroaders beginning in the 1930s and continuing throughout the 1960s.

RECORDS OF THE WAGE AND HOUR DIVISION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR (RECORD GROUP 155)

Inspection case files, 1939-1945 (137 c.f.) of regional offices for Region 5 (Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan) and Region 6 (Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota). The case files document investigations about alleged inequality in the wages of women employed alongside men and other violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. The records include investigative interviews with claimants, correspondence, exhibits such as payroll and accounting records, reports, and copies of civil action court records heard in U.S. District Courts.

RECORDS OF THE PRESIDENT'S COMMITTEE ON FAIR EMPLOYMENT PRACTICE, 1941-1946 (RECORD GROUP 228)

The records of regional offices for Region 5 (Ohio, Michigan), Region 6 (Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin), and Region 8 (Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota) include active and closed case files and administrative records about investigations of employment discrimination on the basis of race, religion, or ethnic or national origin in war industries.

RECORDS OF THE WAR MANPOWER COMMISSION, 1942-1945 (RECORD GROUP 211)

The records of regional offices for Region 5 (Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan) and Region 6 (Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin) include series of appeal case records arising from employment stabilization programs, 1943-1945 (22 lin. ft.). Complaints, investigative reports, correspondence, and memoranda about discriminatory employment practices in wartime industries due to race or gender can be found in the series.

RECORDS OF THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ORDNANCE (RECORD GROUP 156)

Records of ordnance plants and depots throughout Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, 1940-1954 (bulk dates) contain narrative reports about the histories of the facilities, including detailed information and photographs relating to discriminatory employment practices on the basis of race or gender.

RECORDS OF THE OFFICE OF THE QUARTERMASTER GENERAL (RECORD GROUP 92)

Records of the Chicago Quartermaster Depot, 1929-1953, include documents about a controversy during World War II in which African-American civilian employees of the quartermaster depot in Chicago were ordered segregated from German prisoners-of-war after the German POWs complained about proximity to the black workers.

II. Reckoning with Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and the Civil Rights Act of 1957, 1954-1964

RECORDS OF THE DISTRICT COURTS OF THE UNITED STATES (RECORD GROUP 21)

Records of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division at Chicago

Civil Case 61C1569, James William Webb, Jr., and Andre Webb, minors, by James R. Webb, their parent and next friend, et al., vs. Board of Education, City of Chicago. (De-segregation of public schools.)

Civil Case 63C1739, Ronald L. Todd and Michael Cochran, by his parents and next friends, Ulysses Cochran and Patricia Cochran, and James Hill vs. Joint Apprenticeship Committee of the Steel Workers of Chicago and International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers Local Union No. 1; Iron Workers Bridge and Structural Union, Local No. 1; Iron Workers District Council of Chicago and Vicinity; Paschen Contractors, Inc.; Peter Kiewit Sons' Co.; Bethlehem Steel Company; Dominic Tesauro, Regional Administrator, General Services Administration; and The Board of Education of the City of Chicago, Alvin Dost, Regional Director.

63C1895, James William Webb, Jr., and Andre Webb, minors, by James R. Webb, their parent and next friend, et al., vs. Board of Education, City of Chicago. (De-segregation of public schools.)

Civil Case 64C1684, Morton L. Zaslasvsky vs. Congress of Racial Equality

Records of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Southern Division at Grand Rapids

Civil Case 4:1967 CK9, Barbara Jean Berry vs. School District of the City of Benton Harbor. (School desegregation.)

Records of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division at Cleveland

Civil Case 31464, The Provisional Committee to Organize Colored Locomotive Firemen, et al, vs. The Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen, et al. (Violation of the duty of fair representation under the Railway Labor Act by excluding African-American railroad firemen from union membership while retaining representational rights over those firemen and their positions.)

RECORDS OF THE U.S. COURT OF APPEALS (RECORD GROUP 276)

Records of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

Appellate Case 13387, The Provisional Committee to Organize Colored Locomotive Firemen, et al, vs. The Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen, et al. Appeal of Civil Case 31464 from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division at Cleveland. Appeal filed October 1, 1957. Further appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States, No. 560, October Term 1958, Oliphant, et al, vs. BLF & E, et al. (Discrimination on the basis of race in labor union membership and the duty of fair representation.)

Appellate Case 14642, Deborah A. Northcross, et al., vs. The Board of Education of the City of Memphis, et al. Appeal of Civil Case 3931 from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Western Division at Memphis. Appeal filed May 10, 1961. (De-segregation of public schools.)

Records of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Appellate Case 13974, James William Webb, Jr., and Andre Webb, minors, by James R. Webb, their parent and next friend, et al., vs. Board of Education of the City of Chicago and Benjamin Willis. (De-segregation of public schools.)

III. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act, and the Fair Housing Act

RECORDS OF THE DISTRICT COURTS OF THE UNITED STATES (RECORD GROUP 21)

Records of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division at Chicago

Civil Case 65C51, James William Webb, Jr., and Andre Webb, minors, by James R. Webb, their parent and next friend, et al., vs. Board of Education, City of Chicago. (De-segregation of public schools.)

Civil Case 65C942, Board of Education of the City of Chicago vs Chicago Branch, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Chicago Branch, Congress of Racial Equality; Chicago Area Friends of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee; Coordinating Council of Community Organizations; ACT; Sydney C. Finley; Albert Brooks; Albert A. Raby; Reverend A. P. Jackson; Charles A. Davis; Marshall Bynum; Lawrence Landry; Martha O'Kennard; Sylvia Fisher; Roberta Galler; G. E. Riddick; Monroe Sharp; Nathaniel Jackson; Robert Lucas; Elton Cox; Milton I. Davis and Sam Riley. June 9, 1965. (De-segregation of public schools.)

Civil Case 65C1443, Albert Raby, a/k/a Al Raby; Richard Gregory, a/k/a Dick Gregory; Robert Lucas, a/k/a Bob Lucas; Robert Hostetter, a/k/a Bob Hostetter; Father Robert Taylor; Kenneth Davis, a/k/a Ken Davis; Frank Ditto, a/k/a Malcolm X; James R. Webb, et al, vs. Richard J. Daley, et al.

Civil Action Case 66C1003, Albert A. Raby; Robert E. Hostetter; Leo E. Holt; Gloria Fraction; Ernice Kelly; Mrs. Donald Rose; Alvin Pitcher; Atricia Raby; Dorothy Holt; Lelia McClelland; Ellis McClelland, and all others similarly situated vs. City of Chicago; Richard J. Daley; Orlando Wilson; and Robert Quinn. June 6, 1966.

Civil Action Case 66C1459, Dorothy Gautreaux vs. Patricia Harris, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Chicago Housing Authority.

Civil Action Case 69C633, United States of America, ex rel Albert A. Raby, vs. Joseph I. Woods, Sheriff of Cook County, Illinois, and Winston Moore, Warden of the Cook County Jail.

Civil Action Case 70C2194, Chicago Council of Lawyers, Chicago Metropolitan Council of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Persons, et al, vs. William J. Bauer, U.S. Attorney; John C. Meiszner, U.S. Marshal; and Elbert A. Wagner, Jr., Clerk of the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois.

Civil Action Case 70C2220, Renault Robinson and the Afro-American Patrolmen's League vs. James B. Conlisk, Jr., the City of Chicago, Franklin M. Kreml, Morgan F. Murphy, Paul W. Goodrich, Theophilus M. Mann, Raymond Schoessling, Raymond J. Hauser, and the Police Review Board of the City of Chicago.

Civil Action Case 75C2925, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission vs. Playboy Enterprises, Inc. (Discrimination in employment due to race.)

Civil Action Case 76C3005, Sears, Roebuck & Co. vs. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (Precedent-setting case involving employment discrimination on the basis of gender.)

Records of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division

Civil Case 66C20, Thelma Bowe, et al, vs. Colgate Palmolive Company. (Hiring rules involving weight-lifting ability, when solely applied to female applicants, are unconstitutional.)

Records of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division at Cleveland

Civil Action Case 71C292, Jo Carol LaFleur vs. Board of Education, Cleveland, Ohio. (Mandatory maternity leave for pregnant female teachers ruled unconstitutional.)

Civil Action Case 71C333, Ann Elizabeth Nelson vs. Board of Education, Cleveland, Ohio. (Mandatory maternity leave for pregnant female teachers ruled unconstitutional.)

Records of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Division

Civil Action Case 65C173, Armstrong, et al., vs. Board of Education. (De-segregation of public schools.)

RECORDS OF THE U.S. COURTS OF APPEALS (RECORD GROUP 276)

Records of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Appellate Case 15186, Board of Education of the City of Chicago vs Chicago Branch, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Appeal of Civil Case 65C942 from the U.S. District Court at Chicago. (De-segregation of public schools.)

Appellate Cases 16624, 16625, 16626, 16632, 72-1016, 72-1343, Thelma Bowe, et al, vs. Colgate Palmolive Company. (Hiring rules involving weight-lifting ability, when solely applied to female applicants, are unconstitutional.)

RECORDS OF THE EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION (RECORD GROUP 403)

EEOC legal unit case files, 1969-1982, for selected federal court cases in which the EEOC Region 6 Office (based in Chicago) was the plaintiff. Files exist for litigation against Economy Fire and Casualty Company, 1979-1982 (11 lin. ft.); Hiram Walker, Inc., 1969-1982 (25 lin. ft.); Mexicana Airlines, 1974-1982 (21 lin. ft.); the Milwaukee Road railroad company, 1975-1982 (6 lin. ft.); Motorola, Inc., 1974-1982 (30 lin. ft.); and Standard Brands, 1974-1982 (13 lin. ft.). Access to these records is restricted under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act, and any court orders relating to the individual lawsuits.

RECORDS OF THE U.S. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION (RECORD GROUP 146)

The records of the Region 7 office (Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin) include a series of Community Review Program files, 1963-1969 (5 lin. ft.) relating to equal employment opportunity in federal employment.

RECORDS OF THE COMMUNITY SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (RECORD GROUP 381)

Records of the Office of Economic Opportunity, Region 5 (Chicago), include organization and planning files, 1968-1972 (4 c.f.) and management program files, 1970-1971 (3 c.f.). The records include correspondence, reports, and studies about job training, employment counseling, and housing for African-Americans, Native Americans, and migrant workers; and programs to assist older persons.

Updated 10/18/2004

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