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Roy E. Norris collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MG Norris-(Main)

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the material in the collection relates to Norris's work for the New Jersey Urban League, including his advocacy in the fields of race relations, employment opportunities for minorities, fair employment standards, vocational workshops, job training, etc. Contents include his resume (ca. 1949); lists, created by his wife, of material in the collection (1987); addresses by Norris regarding his work for the Urban League, including "The Negro Worker in the White Collar Fields," "The Negro Woman in Employment Fields," and "Jesus and Social Action," among other titles (1944-1946); and a copy of Norris's thesis "A Private Agency's Social Work with Industry or the Industrial Relations Work of the New Jersey Urban League, 1944-1945" completed as part of a requirement for his MA from the New York School of Social Work, Columbia University.

BOX #1 - a folder labeled "Correspondence" contains letters to and from Norris regarding fair labor practices, meetings, and other aspects of his work for the Urban League (1944-1948). Another folder contains press releases, fund raising material, and memos relating to the New Jersey Urban League (1944-1947).

BOX #1 - a folder labeled "Newspaper Clippings" relates to Norris's work promoting fair labor practices, anti-discrimination efforts, and advocacy for veterans and minorities in Newark and New Jersey (1942-1949).

BOX #1 - a folder labeled "Owen Dodson (1914-1983)" relates to the poet and playwright, whom Morris met while at Yale, includes programs of performance of Dodson's plays, correspondence from Dodson to Norris (1938-1941), newspaper clippings relating to Dodson, and Dodson's obituary.

BOX #1 - a folder labeled "Photographs, Awards, etc." includes a booklet by Norris "So Important: The Philosophy and Methods of the Urban League" (1950); bulletins, newsletters, and other material related to the Howard University School of Religion, and advocacy work in Washington, DC (1937-1940); and 5 work-related photographs of Norris with others (1944-1950s).

BOX #1 also contains folders labeled "Addresses," "Biographical Material," "NJ Urban League, Releases and Memorandum," and "Thesis" including a typed manuscript "A Private Agency's Social Work with Industry or "The Industrial Relation Work of the New Jersey Urban League 1944-1945."

BOX #2 - a folder labeled "N. J. Legislation History" contains booklets: "A Comprehensive Tax Program For New Jersey: Prepared by New Jersey State CIO Council," "The Negro: New Jersey's Twentieth Citizen, by The Interracial Committee of the New Jersey Conference of Social Work in cooperation with the State Department of Institutions and Agencies (1932)," "How does your town add up?: The Montclair Community Audit," acts: "Assembly, No. 321 State of New Jersey, Introduced March 12, 1945 by Mr. Hill Referred to Committee on Judiciary" and "Chapter 169, P. L. 1945," a legal notice: "Abstract of Laws Relating to the Inspection of Factories and Workshops Enforced by the Department of Labor of New Jersey," magazine articles: "Bilboism in New Jersey" by James Peck from the Circus (January 1948) and "Third Ward: Newark" by David A. Hepburn from Our World (May 1947, Vol. 2, No. 4), and programs and invitations: "International Human Rights Dinner under the auspices of National Conference of Christians and Jews (October 17, 1946) and "Invitation to Clinic on Racial and Religious Relations for Leaders in Essex County and Adjoining Areas, Newark, New Jersey (November 9 and 10, 1944)."

BOX #2 - a folder labeled "Local Chapters Reports" includes booklets: "They Made It" and "New Brunswick Urban League for Equal Economic Opportunity: Fifth Annual Report 1946-1951," and a newsletter "Samuel D. Wright's Report from the Capitol (January 1968)."

BOX #2 - a folder labeled "N.U.L. Reports Publications 1935-1950" contains typed manuscripts: "The Position of the Urban League in Relation to Employment (National Conference, November 25-26, 1935," "Report of the Findings Committee (adopted by the 34th Annual Conference of the National Urban League held in Columbus, Ohio, September 28 - October 3, 1944)," "Statement by Peter J. Flynn, SEC.-TREAS. State CIO Council, on Federal Minimum Wage Bills at Unofficial Hearing Before Senator H. Alexander Smith, Trenton, N. J. January 21, 1946," and "Federal Legislation to be discussed in conference with U. S. Senator H. Alexander Smith in Trenton, January 21, 1946," and booklets: "Interracial Cooperation in Action: Its Objectives, Program and Methods," "Annual Conference of the National Urban League (Host: Grand Rapids Urban League, September 3-8, 1950)," "A Social Miracle: 39th Annual Report of the National Urban League," "Guidelines for Community Action," "War-Time Changes in the Occupational Status of Negro Workers (Julius A. Thomas)," "Changes in the Occupational Status of Negroes 1940-1950," "Racial Aspects of Reconversion: A Memorandum Prepared for the President of the United States by the National Urban League New York City, August 27, 1945," "Social Action and the Urban League: Goals and Methods prepared by J. Harvoy Korns for the National Urban League Conference, Grand Rapids, Michigan, September 1950," and "Building Better Human Relations Is Everybody's Business: Annual Conference of the National Urban League, September 1-5, 1952."

BOX #2 - a folder labeled "Resources - Government Agencies, Non-profits" includes booklets: "Army Talk: Orientation Fact Sheet numbers 64 and 70, by War Department - Washington 25, D.C. (March 24 and May 5, 1945)," "College Quotes and American Democracy, by Dan W. Dodson," "Important Factors in Measuring a Secondary School, reprinted from The 1938 Official Report of the American Educational Research Association," "Integration in the Armed Services, by Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Manpower & Personnel) (1955)," "Let's Talk It Over," "NAACP: 38th Annual Conference, June 24-29 1947," "Prejudice: How Do We Recognize It? What Can We Do About It? by Willard Johnson, Personal Growth Leaflet 130", "Talk It Over, by National Institute of Social Relations, Inc., Washington 6, D.C. (1948)," "The Amistad: A Journal of Good News (February 1938)," "The Work and Functions of the United States Bureau of Investigation Department of Justice, John Edgar Hoover, Director, Published for the information of Law-Enforcement Officials ans Agencies (June 1933)," "What Do You Know about the Jews? by Eleanor Hard Lake, reprinted from Junior League Magazine (November 1947)," and "What's the law," news letters: "The News, Howard University School of Religion (January, March 1941)" and "College and School News (November 1943)," "Press Digest: Federal Security Agency Social Security Board Informational Service (December 4, 1943)," "Office of War Information National Housing Agency, Immediate Release for October 2, 1944," "Statement of Finances, NAACP (1946)," a N.A.A.C.P. membership card (1947), and a handwritten letter with a photograph.

BOX #2 - a folder labeled "Resources - Employment contains pamphlets: "6-Point Nation-Wide Employment Program, by United States Employment Service," "Pittsburgh Courier Features How to Find a Job, by Hilda Orr, printed and distributed by Public Service Bureau," "Jobs for All after the War, by CIO Political Action Committee," "Postwar Employment and the Settlement of Terminated War Contracts: A Statement on National Policy by the Research Committee of the Committee for Economic Development (1943)." "The People's Plan for Reconversion, prepared by CIO Political Action Committee," "There can be jobs for all!: Beveridge's Plan for Full Employment, by Maxwell S. Stewart, Special Edition issued by CIO Department of Education and Research (July 1945)," "Your Community 6-Point Employment Program, prepared by Department of Labor, United States Employment Service with the Cooperation of Affiliated State Employment Services (1947)," and reports, summaries, etc.:"Brooklyn Urban League - Lincoln Settlement, Inc. for Social Service among Negroes: 27th Annual Report," "The Status and Characteristics of Nonwhites in the Labor Force in the United States (April 1950), by United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Employment Security - U.S. Employment Service, Washington D.C.," "Nonwhite Farm Operators: Sixteenth Census of the United States 1940, by Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Washington," "War Production Board (1944), cleared and issued through facilities of the Office of War Information," "Office of War Information (1944)," and "State and Local Government Quarterly Employment Survey (April 1941), by Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census Washington."

BOX #2 also includes folders labeled "Manuscript" containing a typed manuscript titled as "'Lest We Despair': An Analysis of Race Relations Developments during 1950," "Speeches (1945-1950)," and "Correspondence - Miscellaneous".

BOX #3 contains a book titled "The Day They Marched" (edited by Doris E. Saunders, with an introduction by Lerone Bennet, Jr., August 1963), and folders labeled "Case file, Obituaries, Resumes," "Field Reports (1952), Bucks County (N.J.)," "Household Employment, Department Store Personnel," "Monthly Reports of Industrial Secretary, Other Reports (1943 - 1948)," "Urban League (N.J., 1943 -1945), Newspaper Reports," and "White Collar Survey - Questionnaires (1948)."

BOX #4 contains books entitled "Race Riot: How Does it Start? What Must We Do?, by Alfred McClung Lee (1943)," "The Confession Stone: Song Cycles, by Owen Dodson (1971)," "Boy at the window: a novel by Owen Dodson (1951)," "Powerful Long Ladder: a book of poems by Owen Dodson (1946)," "Powerful Long Ladder, by Owen Dodson (1946)," "Third Ward Newark: a novel by Curtis Lucas (1946)," a scrap book of Roy Edwin Norris (1932-1952), "Sisters of the Harlem: The Found Generation 1920-1932 (a photographic postcard series, 1991)," and "Black Bibliography."


  • 1932 - 1952


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.

Biographical / Historical

Roy E. Norris (1915-1984) graduated from Morehouse College (1937), studied at Howard University Graduate School of Religion, and at Yale University's Divinity School. He received an MS degree from Columbia University's School of Social Work (1945). In 1942 he and Elizabeth Norris were married; they had at least one child, Donald, who was born in 1945.

From 1944-1948, Norris was the Industrial Secretary of the New Jersey Urban League, based in Newark. During his tenure at the N.J. Urban League, Norris successfully campaigned for the employment of African-Americans, for the first time, as switchboard operators, sales clerks in downtown department stores, bus drivers for Public Service Coordinated Transport, and clerical workers in the Prudential Insurance Company's home office. He also developed a training program that was responsible for many African-Americans finding work as machinists in northern New Jersey. In 1946 Norris organized a conference, held at Newark's Sojourner Truth Branch YWCA, for African-American veterans; as a result of the conference African-Americans were hired by the New Jersey regional office of the Veterans' Administration. Also in 1946 Norris was co-organizer of a Committee on Household Employment Standards, to study the problems of domestic workers.

After leaving the New Jersey Urban League Norris was a doctoral candidate at Columbia University's Teachers College. He later worked for the National Urban League.


1.68 Linear Feet (4 Hollinger boxes)

Language of Materials