Scope and arrangement
The James Haughton Papers are arranged in six series:
The PERSONAL PAPERS series, 1929-1981, (.5 linear feet)consists of material documenting Haughton's activities in addition to his professional positions. It includes vital records, such as his birth certificate, passport, and resumes; scattered clippings and correspondence with family and friends; manuscripts and typescripts of poems and drafts of book reviews. The series also includes memoranda, syllabi, and student papers from his “Blacks in Labor and Politics” course taught at Hunter College; fliers and petition forms from his 1973 New York City Council primary campaign; and correspondence, memoranda, notes, and printed material from his term on the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. In addition, there is a miscellaneous folder of invitations and programs from award ceremonies, political dinners, and funeral services.
The NEGRO AMERICAN LABOR COUNCIL series, 1960-1964, (1 linear ft.)contains correspondence, minutes, reports, newsletters, and programs documenting Haughton's position as Assistant to the President, A. Philip Randolph, and his activities with the New York Chapter. There is substantial correspondence and organizational material concerning the Workshop and Institute on Racial Bias in Trade Unions, Industry and Government organized by Haughton in Washington, D.C. in February 1961, whose speakers included Martin Luther King, Jr., Roy Wilkins, Adam Clayton Powell, Thurgood Marshall, and members of the new Kennedy Administration.
Also of significance are correspondence, articles, and statements documenting the contested 1962 election of officers for the New York Chapter between an activist rank and file slate (Campaign for a Fighting NALC) and a more conservative one supported by the national leadership. The 1962 Annual Convention folder includes several drafts of Haughton's account which criticizes Randolph's role in the dispute.
The series also contains a folder of minutes, policy statements, and fliers, for the Emergency Committee for Unity on Social and Economic Problems, 1961-1962, chaired by A. Philip Randolph, whose members included Malcolm X, Lewis Michaux, and Percy Sutton. Other folders trace Haughton's battle against discrimination on the waterfront and include correspondence, articles, memoranda, legal documents, and fliers documenting his support for rank and file longshoremen, especially African Americans, in union elections and negotiations.
The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE series, 1959-1965 (1 linear ft.)documents Haughton's tenure as Chairman of the Labor and Industry Committee of the New York Branch and member of the Executive Committee. As with his work at the Negro American Labor Council, he was concerned with job discrimination in a variety of industries, particularly longshore, garment, transit, and construction. There are minutes of Committee meetings discussing support for longshoremen and railroad workers, as well as other issues such as rent strikes, police brutality, and hiring practices at the New York World's Fair. Also included are several folders of complaint forms with supporting material for grievances brought to the attention of the Committee and a folder of minutes for the term of Haughton's predecessor as chairman, Odell Clark, 1959-1960, discussing discrimination in the wholesale liquor industry.
Of particular significance is material relating to the organization of the Rank and File Cement and Concrete Workers Caucus, including Haughton's notes and correspondence after visits to construction sites and meetings with company and union officials. Material for the Longshore Committee for Equal Opportunity contains correspondence, memoranda, notes, and legal documents reflecting his continued fight for job security and stability for minority longshoremen.
The HARLEM UNEMPLOYMENT CENTER/FIGHT BACK series, 1964-1983 (3 linear feet)contains correspondence, memoranda, articles, newsletters, clippings, fliers, legal documents, financial records (including those of Fight Back's tax-exempt fundraising arm, the Equal Employment Council), and miscellaneous printed matter documenting Haughton's outspoken efforts to increase the number of minorities hired on construction projects in New York City. The series was organized to reflect both the activities of Fight Back and the written material produced by Haughton and his associates. There is significant documentation in the correspondence, articles, newsletters, and fliers of his work with unions, government officials, and corporate leaders to bring about changes in laws and policies through negotiations and lobbying, as well as demonstrations and boycotts. The correspondence includes letters to construction company officials discussing discriminatory hiring and the development of apprenticeship programs. There is also an exchange of letters with William L. Patterson, former International Labor Defense and Civil Rights Congress official, commenting on the draft of a 1972 article by Haughton and discussing issues of race and class. A miscellaneous folder of lists and notes indicates Haughton's organizational style, once described in a New York Times Magazineprofile (September 14, 1969): “Tacked to a wallboard is his filing system - a maze of small slips of paper with names, phones numbers and assorted notes.”
Several folders in the Programs and Projects sub-series trace the evolution of the New York Plan and its successors, as the City attempted to create standards for equal employment opportunity such as increased job training and regulations for minority representation in construction unions and projects.
In his role as Executive Director of Fight Back, Haughton also participated in numerous coalitions and committees concerning a variety of local and national employment issues. The Committees and Coalitions sub-series contains important material including newsletters, position papers, and fliers documenting the struggle of rank and file and minority caucuses in unions representing construction, transit, and auto workers, longshoremen, and farm laborers. Additional folders in the sub-series reflect his service on the Board of Directors of the National Employment Law Project and the National Citizen's Lobby (later renamed Confrontation with Congress), which lobbied for passage of the 1968 Housing and Urban Development Act and for funding to provide minority construction jobs for the many new housing projects the Act generated.
Haughton also organized and attended numerous conferences and seminars related to minority employment issues, for which programs and background material are found in the Conference sub-series. The Rank and File Workers Conference folder contains minutes, statements, and correspondence regarding efforts by Haughton and others in 1969 to develop national rank and file movements in various unions and to associate them with the anti-war movement.
The OTHER ORGANIZATIONS AND COMMITTEES series, 1963-1983 (1 linear ft.)includes correspondence, minutes, articles, position papers, and printed material reflecting Haughton's activities outside his roles with the NALC, NAACP, and Fight Back. His participation in the anti-Vietnam War movement is documented in the folders of the Black United Action Front and the Vietnam Peace Parade Committee. He also joined several efforts by coalitions of movement groups, including the New American Movement, National Interim Committee, and Congress of Afrikan Peoples (headed by Amiri Baraka), to establish a third political party in the 1970s and 1980s. Material relating to these efforts may be found in the Third Political Parties sub-series for specific organizations such as the Citizen's Party, National Coordinating Committee for a 1976 Electoral Strategy, and the New York Working People's Party. There is also a miscellaneous folder which contains printed material from the New American Movement and minutes and background papers from a 1973 strategy meeting attended by Haughton, Barry Commoner, Bobby Rush, Lawrence Guyot, Arthur Kinoy, David Dellinger, and others. The Anti-Nuclear Movement folder contains notes of meetings which reflect Haughton's desire to link the fight against racism to anti-nuclear causes.
A SUBJECT FILES series (1 linear ft.)has been created to reflect the variety of printed material Haughton received and retained regarding numerous political and social issues of the 1960s through 1980s, particularly concerning opposition to racism, nuclear development, and the increasing military budget. There are pamphlets, newsletters, and fliers in the Politics - South Africa folder concerning anti-apartheid movements in the United States and Africa, including the African National Congress, the Unity Movement of South Africa, the Toronto Committee for the Liberation of South Africa, and the South African Military Aid Fund. The Black Political Movements folder also contains miscellaneous pamphlets, newsletters, and fliers from a variety of groups including the Black Panthers, African Nationalist Pioneer Movement, Freedom Now Party, Charter Group for a Pledge of Conscience, Black United Front, and others, as well as prison letters discussing race, politics, and prison life in the late 1960s. The Housing and Tenants Rights folder reflects Haughton's association with Jesse Gray, Director of the Community Housing Council and the Harlem Tenants Union. Other references to Gray may be found in the Rent Strikes folder of the NAACP Series and scattered throughout the Harlem Unemployment Center/Fight Back Series.