Scope and arrangement
The James Weldon Johnson Community Centers, Inc. Records document the agency from its founding by a coalition of social service institutions, to its work decades later providing social services to thousands of East Harlem residents. They document social conditions, demographic change, political activity, philanthropy and social work in East Harlem with a strong emphasis on the urban renewal period of the 1950s and '60s. The records span from 1942 to 1988, and include: Board of Directors minutes and committee files; Executive Director correspondence and subject files; program files; fundraising records; and photographs.
The origins and early history of JWJ are documented in the “Board of Directors” series. These include minutes of the “Headworkers' Council” that preceded the board and oversaw the initial development of JWJ programs. Board minutes chronicle the development of programs and also offer a comprehensive view of administrative and fundraising decisions into the 1970s. Of particular interest are board minutes from 1967 and 1968 showing the settlement's response to pressure for greater community control of JWJ. These records are supplemented by annual meeting and fall conference records in the “Administration” series.
The impact of public housing construction on East Harlem is well documented by records in the “Mildred Zucker Files” series. In addition to records of such JWJ-sponsored programs as the East Harlem Project, there are files on such community organizations as Massive Economic Neighborhood Development and Metro-North Association. These records illustrate community response and participation in the urban renewal process. There is no complete series of files from any Executive Director following Mildred Zucker; however, a few items from her immediate successor, Rafael Ferrer, are included in files in the “Administration” and “Programs” series.
One-half linear foot of photographs have been separated from the records and placed in the Schomburg Photographs and Print Division. See Separation Record at the end of this Finding Aid for further information.
Related collections held by other archives include the papers of former JWJ board member Rita Morgan at the Hunter College Archives, and the Union Settlement Association Records at the Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
The James Weldon Johnson Community Centers, Inc. records are arranged in five series:
- 1942-19811 linear foot
Includes brochures and promotional material, publications, reports, records of East Harlem community organizations, membership statistics, annual meeting files, staff meeting minutes. Folders arranged alphabetically. Documents arranged chronologically.
- 1948-19721.25 linear feet
Includes minutes, committee records and member rosters. Folders arranged alphabetically. Documents arranged chronologically.
- 1950-1984,2.75 linear feet
Includes appeals, benefit records, proposals, reports on funded programs and foundation correspondence. Folders arranged alphabetically. Documents arranged chronologically.
- 1950-1982,1.25 linear feet
Includes correspondence, memos, reports, statistical and narrative reports, proposals, flyers and announcements. Folders arranged alphabetically. Documents arranged chronologically.
- 1948-1988,4.75 linear feet
Records of Executive Director include correspondence, memos, program reports and planning files, community organization files, East Harlem Project records. Also includes a few items on Zucker's activities after her retirement from JWJ. Folders arranged alphabetically. Documents arranged chronologically.