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Harold A. Lett Papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MG Lett-(Main)

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of correspondence, addresses, articles, reports, clippings, and audio related to Lett's career.

Box #1:

One folder of biographical information including a list of selected addresses and papers, a list of federal agencies served, transcripts of Newark News articles, and biographical sketches (1940s-1973). Also included is a report of Lett's activities, March-April 1960.

Two folders of addresses and articles by Lett regarding police and community relations, juvenile delinquency, education, discrimination in schools and the workforce, interracial cooperation, etc. Newark-related material in these folders includes the draft of an article, "Let's Organize an Interracial Committee" (1944); an address given to a workshop on intergroup relations at Rutgers University (1959); an address to the Democratic Club at a dinner for outgoing Mayor Leo Carlin (1962); a sermon, "A Christian Speaks of his Convictions," delivered at Trinity Cathedral (1968); outlines for 2 speeches, "Black Studies Programs--Why and What," delivered to Essex County teachers (1970), and "People Power - For Cooperation or Disruption," given to the Essex County PTA (1973); and a chronicle of New Jersey Urban League Activities from 1917 to 1952.

A folder labeled "Division against Discrimination," with correspondence, statistics, and reports regarding discrimination in the workforce and in schools (ca. 1954-1958)

A folder of reports by Lett for the Michigan Department of Labor (1927-1930)

A folder of incoming and outgoing correspondence and memos regarding discrimination in housing, education, and the workforce; Lett's resignation from the Division against Discrimination; invitations, etc. (1939-1970)

A folder of correspondence to and from Governor Richard Hughes regarding statements by Lett that he felt were taken out of context and used for political purposes (1961-1962)

A folder of photocopies of newspaper articles about Lett (1938-1960s)

A folder entitled "Levittown Complaint Process" that includes a chronology, correspondence, evidence, etc. on racial discrimination in the sale of homes in Levittown, NJ, and efforts to develop a program to achieve racial integration in the town (1960-1963)

A folder labeled "Miscellaneous Publications," containing several papers and reports including, but not limited to, a detailed report by Richard B. Anlict that includes names of speakers, descriptions of participants, and topics discussed at a meeting in Newark of an organization calling itself "Haters of Communists, Jews, and Negroes" (1956); Black Power statements; reports and papers related to integration of public schools in New Jersey (1947-1958); and an issue of "Division Review," published by the Division against Discrimination of the NJ State Department of Education, with a brief article regarding Lett's retirement (1959).

Folder "Lett - Found 2019" contains article from Mar 17, 1965 on keynote in Englewood, "Building an Active Inter-Racial Movemen" presented at the National Urban League Conference Sept 29, 1943; "An Approach to the Problems of Police Community Relations" - April 26, 1973

Box #2: Labels have come off most of these reels. They are 1/4" long-playing tape

Labelled reels (in original boxes, 3 reels)

"The Fight Against Discrimination" Rutgers Grad Students interview of Harold A. Lett (2 reels) Re: NJ Law

Internal Revenue National Staff Washington DC Feb 1964 (index cards in box give speech made by Lett)

Labelled reels (in envelopes - 2 reels)

1957 Travel Seminar Timed Commentary Thru Europe London to Jordan

WPAT Music Lett Personal

Information for unlabelled reels (in envelopes - 3 reels)

WTTM Radio - Trenton - Feb 1955 Interview by CIO of Harold A. Lett DAD re: FEP Law 1947 Charter Evglend (?) Cusp (?), Municipal Common CR, Close Out Music ("Trenton Labor Tape")

WTTM Radio Trenton Interview of Harold A. Lett by School Newspaper editors "School Scoops", 1955 ("Trenton HS Students Interview")

One envelope contains audio film that was separated from the reels. Some has been wound onto microfilm reels, smaller pieces were placed into envelope.


  • 1927 - 1973


Conditions Governing Use

Photocopying of materials is limited and no materials may be photocopied without permission from library staff. Researchers wishing to publish, reproduce, or reprint materials from this collection must obtain permission.

The NJ Room has no equipment to play the audio reels, those wishing to use must provide equipment or digitization.

Biographical / Historical

Harold A. Lett (1896-1974) of Adrian, Michigan, moved to Newark in 1934 when he was appointed Executive Secretary of the New Jersey Urban League, later known as the Urban League of Essex County In 1945 he became Assistant Director of Compliance for the New Jersey Division against Discrimination. From 1959 until he retired in 1966, Lett served as Assistant Director of the Labor Management Relations Commission for the National Conference of Christians and Jews in New York City.

Lett was elected President of the National Association of Intergroup Relations Officials in 1951, the first African-American to hold the post. He was also a member of the Newark Housing Authority (1938-1942), and was involved in efforts to integrate housing in Levittown, NJ in the early 1960s.

Lett's first marriage ended in divorce; in 1940 he married Alene Simkins, a social worker for the New Jersey Urban League. He was the father of five children.


.42 Linear Feet

Language of Materials