Scope and arrangement
The Tyrone Pitts/NCC papers span the years 1951-1989 and document many aspects of the NCC's work, especially its Division of Church and Society. In particular the papers reflect the work of Tyrone Pitts as Director for Racial Justice for the NCC, with special emphasis on his role in the Racial Justice Working Group and the Ecumenical Minority Bail Bond Fund. The collection does not contain any personal information relating to Tyrone Pitts. The earliest dated material is represented only by NCC resolutions. The bulk of the collection is dated 1980 - 1989.
The papers document the NCC's social justice programs and its particular focus areas in the 1980's. These include racial justice, civil rights, racial violence, Native American rights and justice for farmworkers. Through educational programs, work with NCC member denominations and ecumenical agencies, and social action programs, Pitts worked in the NCC to effect social changes in these areas.
In addition the collection contains some information on the general organization and administration of the NCC in this period. The printed matter an subject file contain a broad range of material on a variety of topics which were of interest to Pitts as Director for Racial Justice.
The collection is organized into seven series: Correspondence, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., Division of Church and Society, Subject Files, Printed Matter, Prayer Services/Sermons and Proposals.
The Tyrone Pitts/National Council of Churches Papers are arranged in seven series:
The CORRESPONDENCE, 1980-1989,(1.2 lin. ft.) files reflect the broad scope of Pitts' work within the NCC and with other organizations and agencies with racial and social justice programs. The correspondence is almost exclusively incoming and includes letters, memos, reports, and invitations. Correspondence related specifically to the Racial Justice Working Group and the Ecumenical Minority Bail Bond Fund can be found in those files.
Internal NCC correspondence in the form of memos makes up a significant portion of this series. These memos include information on meetings, issues and NCC policy and administration. Also among these are numerous bulletins from other NCC sections and committees, most notably the Church World Service Disaster Response Committee.
Outside organizations represented include the Christic institute South, the Southern Organizing Committee for Economic and Social Justice, the Church Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, the East Coast Farmworker Support Network, the Baptist World Alliance, the United Church of Christ Commission on Racial Justice and the World Council of Churches Programme to Combat Racism. Among the major issues addressed are racism, civil rights, Southern Africa, the rights of Native Americans and Native Hawaiians, the situation of Koreans in Japan, and the condition of farmworkers.
The papers in the NATIONAL COUNCIL OF THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST IN THE U.S.A. (NCC), 1951-1989,(1.8 lin. ft.) series include administrative files, NCC resolutions, NCC sponsored programs, Amicus Curiae briefs and Miscellaneous material. The earliest dates are represented in a file of NCC resolutions, but the bulk of the series dates from 1982 to 1989. Although the entire collection relates to the NCC, this series includes material not specifically related to the functions of the Division of Church and Society or to pitts' work in that Division. The material in this series is more descriptive of the general operations of the NCC. [Please note that the official archives of the NCC are located at the Presbyterian History Society in Philadelphia.]
The series DIVISION OF CHURCH AND SOCIETY (DCS), 1979-1989,(2 lin. ft) was organized in 1973. The Division addresses social concerns through education, study, direct action and social service. Kenyon C. Burke was named Associate General Secretary of the Division in 1980. Tyrone Pitts was the Director for Racial Justice for the Division from 1980 to 1989.
Much of the Division's work is carried out through Working Groups. These groups include representatives of churches (most of which are NCC Members), and religious and community organizations, as well as women and minority members. The groups, which are usually formed for a stipulated period or to accomplish a particular objective, work within the framework of NCC policy. During the 1980's DCS Working Groups included: Health and Welfare, Eco-Justice, Justice for Women, Racial Justice, Evangelism, Domestic Hunger and Poverty, and Child Advocacy. The Ecumenical Minority Bail Bond Fund emerged from the Racial Justice Working Group and was governed by participating communions of the NCC.
In addition to general and administrative records of the Division, this series documents the work of the Ecumenical Minority Bail Bond Fund and the Racial Justice Working Group and Pitts' work with both groups. Other working groups of the Division are represented by individual items, or in the case of the Health and Welfare Working Group, by several folders.
The SUBJECT FILES, c. 1980-1989,(1.8 lin. ft.) include both topical files, (such as Farmworkers and Homelessness) and files related to specific organizations (such as the Black Theology Project). These subjects cover the broad spectrum of issues which were of concern to Pitts in his capacity as Director for Racial Justice. Subject areas include AIDS, the Caribbean, Latin America, Native Americans, Racial Violence/Hate Groups and Southern Africa. The topical files generally contain printed matter and miscellany while the organizational files may also include minutes of meetings and other administrative material. Individual files are arranged chronologically by year.
Additional information on many of these topics can be found in the files of the Racial Justice Working Group and in the general Correspondence. Material from those series was not separated and added to the subject files.
Files relating to Farmworkers, Native Americans, Racial Violence and Southern Africa are particularly well documented. Both farmworker and Native American issues were an important part of the Racial Justice Program as was the increasing racial violence in the United States. Material in the Farmworkers file, 1983-1989, includes articles and publications from the East Coast Farmworker Support Network and the National Farmworker Ministry which is related to the National Council of Churches. The file for Native Americans, 1980-1989, includes newsletters, clippings and other printed matter. Although the file has information on many areas of the country, Alaska, Wisconsin and the Northwest are particularly well represented.
The most extensive organizational files are those for the Black Theology Project and the National Interreligious Commission on Civil Rights (NICCR). The file on the Black Theology Project, 1983-1989, includes minutes, planning documents, reports and brochures. [Please consult the librarian for information on a separate collection of Black Theology Project records held by the Schomburg Center].
PRINTED MATTER, 1980-1989,(1.2 lin. ft.) includes articles by Pitts and others, General Printed Matter, Clippings and Publications.
One folder of articles and notes by Pitts is filed in this series as well as a folder of miscellaneous articles. It is unclear whether these articles were ever published.
PRAYER SERVICE/SERMONS,1982-1989, [1 folder] hymns and sermons for specific days and events.
PROPOSALS, 1980-1989,(.4 lin.ft.) include a general file, 1980-1981; 1985- 1988, and a file of proposals to the World Council of Churches Programme to Combat Racism, 1986-1989. They are arranged in chronological order. It is not usually apparent which proposals were funded.
General Proposals are requests for fund, some of which are specifically directed to the National Council of Churches. Several of the proposals are not directed specifically to the NCC and may have been sent out to many different organizations. Pitts served as a Commissioner for the World Council of Churches Programme to Combat Racism which made grants yearly. The proposals in this file were probably sent to him for review.