Duke University Libraries recently completed still image digitization for their contributions to the Content, Context, and Capacity (CCC) Project. Our last post highlighted the Charles N. Hunter Papers and the Asa and Elna Spaulding Papers. This time we focus on the Basil Lee Whitener Papers and the records of the Women-In-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes (Durham chapter):
- Women-In-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes, Inc. Durham Chapter records, 1968-1998: Founded in 1968 by Elna Spaulding, the Women-in-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes (WIAPVC) was an inter-racial non-profit organization dedicated to community improvement that would help to prevent violence of all kinds (domestic violence, street crime, etc.). The organization’s records document the struggles in finding funding in its nascent years. In fact, researchers will see correspondence with such luminaries as Senator Sam Ervin, First Lady Patricia Nixon, and the producers of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson asking for funds for WIAPVC’s community efforts. In addition, researchers will discover documentation of the evolution of WIAPVC, organizational writings and workshop contents, selected photographs and clippings, and related material from other community organizations.
- Basil Lee Whitener Papers, 1889-1968: Political historians will find this collection of the utmost interest. As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1957 to 1968 elected from Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, Whitener was one of a group of Southern Democrats (“Dixiecrats”) to vociferously oppose civil rights legislation. Whitener’s papers digitized for the CCC project include his correspondence with reform proponents and opponents and his discussions with other congressmen discussing legislative strategies to quash reform. Researchers will find the proposed amendments to the Civil Rights Act of 1957 introduced by Whitener’s predecessor as well as the argument that civil rights legislation would ultimately undermine federalism itself. In addition to his involvement with civil rights, Whitener also served on the House Judiciary Committee when that group discussed two prominent issues—the selection of juries in federal trials and the appeal of Jimmy Hoffa’s tax evasion conviction. The Hoffa transcripts are especially interesting, as researchers will learn the secret happenings in smoke-filled Memphis hotel rooms, including a cameo from Elvis himself.