The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories
Unitarian Universalist Association, black empowerment controversy. Records
Repository: Harvard Divinity School. Andover-Harvard Theological Library. Manuscripts and Archives Department
Collection Description (Extant): Immediately after the racial violence in Newark and Detroit in the summer of 1967, the Unitarian Universalist Commission on Religion and Race convened an emergency conference on "the Unitarian Universalist Response to the Black Rebellion." This conference was held in New York in October, 1967. The chief event of the 1967 conference was the formation of the Black Unitarian Universalist Caucus (BUUC), which was an attempt on the part of the black participants in the conference to set their own priorities and goals. This Caucus led to the formation of the Black Affairs Council (BAC), a committee which served as a coordinating agency for Unitarian Universalist efforts in the fields of race relations and black empowerment. FULLBAC (Full Recognition and Funding of the Black Affairs Council) was a white support group formed in 1968 which supported the full funding of the Black Affairs Council. Some Unitarian Universalists felt that the direction of the Black Affairs Council was too separatist, and a group called Black and White Action (BAWA) was formed in 1968 to provide a channel for the efforts of some Unitarian Universalists to achieve racial justice through more integrated means. Note: See film made about this controversy entitled "Wilderness Journey, The Struggle for Black Empowerment and Racial Justice within the Unitarian Universalist Association, 1967-1970," VHS created by Ron Cordes, 2003, in bMS 15027.
This collection contains some of the records of the Black Unitarian Universalist Caucus (BUUC), the Black Affairs Council (BAC), FULLBAC, and Black and White Action (BAWA), as well as some of the records of the Unitarian Universalist Commission on Appraisal. All of these records are related to the black empowerment controversy in the UUA in the late 1960s. These records were collected by David Bortin, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Commission on Appraisal from 1979-1983. In 1984, the Commission on Appraisal published a report on the controversy entitled Empowerment. Bortin wrote a chapter in this report on the history of Black and White Action, and many of the records in this collection were used in the composition of this chapter.
The collection is divided into four series: I. Black Affairs Council, II. Black and White Action, III. Black Unitarian Universalist Caucus, and IV. Articles on empowerment controversy, correspondence, reports, etc.
Digital Status: Yes
Existing IDs: bMS 531
Extent: 18 digital-8 format videotapes; 2 video discs; manuscripts
Finding Aid URL: http://www.hds.harvard.edu/library/bms/bms00531.html
Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights
Civil rights--Religious aspects
Unitarian Universalist Association