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 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Collections >> Collection Record

The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

Hunter Gray (John R. Salter) papers

Repository: Wisconsin Historical Society. Library-Archives

Collection Description (Extant): Papers of Hunter Gray (John R. Salter), a sociologist and professor who was active in several civil rights and community organizing groups during the 1960's and 1970's, and more recently, has worked to improve the lives and conditions of American Indians. While teaching at Tougaloo Southern Christian College, Salter helped organize the boycott of white businesses in downtown Jackson, Mississippi. He subsequently worked for the Southern Conference Educational Fund in North Carolina, served as director of the Chicago Commons Association (1969-1973) and as director of the Office of Human Development of the Catholic Diocese of Rochester, New York (1976-1978), and spent several years teaching college sociology. Since 1978 he has taught sociology at the Navajo Community College, Tsaile, Arizona, and at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks. In 1979 Salter published an account of the Jackson Movement, "Jackson, Mississippi: An American Chronicle of Struggle and Schism." Salter changed his name, ca. 1995, to John Hunter Gray, his original family name, and in 2000 to just Hunter Gray.
The collection contains correspondence; numerous speeches, reports, and other writings by Salter; partial files from some of his professional positions; his FBI files; newspaper clippings; and other papers. There are no papers specifically illustrating Salter's teaching career. Most of the material deals with the Jackson boycott movement, with the Halifax County Voters Movement and civil rights in North Carolina, and with Salter's community organizing among poor people in Chicago and Rochester, New York.
Also included is a tape-recorded concert by Floyd Westerman presented 18 January 1972 at the Washington State Penitentiary. Westerman is a Native American musician. At the concert, he commented on the oppressive nature of white institutions, illegal white acquisition of Indian land, and the injustice of the legal system as applied to minorities. Most of his music consisted of original compositions or adaptations of popular songs.
The photographic portion of the collection includes images of Hunter Gray, both alone and with others, as well as images related to Gray's civil rights activities in the 1960s and 1980s. Activities documented include a planning meeting at Tougaloo College, 1962-1963; a Woolworth's sit-in in Jackson, Miss. and a protest at Chapel Hill, N.C., 1963-1964; events in Enfield, N.C. including voter registration workshops and the attempted burning of a Black grocery store by the Ku Klux Klan, 1964; and a North Carolina civil rights/anti-poverty conference in 1965. Later events documented include Native American organizing in Chicago, Ill., 1972; and a King Memorial Banquet in Grand Forks, N.D., in 1989. Also present are images showing housing conditions for Blacks in the south in the 1980s.
The processed portion of this collection is summarized above, dates 1957-1982, and is described in the register. [Additional accessions date 1889-1992, 1996-2000; the catalog entry attached as an upload describes these additional materials in more detail.]

Date(s): 1889-1992, 1996-2000

Digital Status: No

Existing IDs: RLIN: WIHVS0220-A

Extent: 1.8 c.f. (1 record center carton, 2 archives boxes); 1 tape recording; 56 photographs; plus additions of 9.2 c.f.; 6 tape recordings; 149 transparencies

Finding Aid URL: External Link

Language: English

Interviewees: Hunter Gray (John R. Salter)

Rights (Extant): Copyright to some images not held by the Wisconsin Historical Society. When using images from this collection, the citation must include "Hunter Gray Papers."


African Americans--Civil rights--Mississippi
African Americans--Civil rights--North Carolina
Civil rights movements--Mississippi
Civil rights movements--North Carolina
Civil rights workers--Mississippi
Southern Conference Educational Fund
Tougaloo College
Voter registration




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   May 15, 2015
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