The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories
A principled man: Rev. Leon Sullivan
Repository: Marshall University. Morrow Library. Special Collections.
Collection Description (CRHP): This collection consists of the raw footage used for the making of the documentary "A Principled Man: Rev. Leon Sullivan." Sullivan was an African American minister and anti-apartheid activist who mentored Martin Luther King, Jr. Julian Bond, Leon Sullivan, and others were interviewed for this documentary. Sullivan was highly respected by civil rights leaders as well as many political and business leaders. President George H. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.
Sullivan grew up in segregated Charleston, West Virginia, and became determined at age 8 to fight racial injustice in his life. He worked as an assistant to Adam Clayton Powell Jr. in New York and became president of the New York chapter of A. Philip Randolph's March on Washington organization. Sullivan became a minister in Philadelphia--head of the large Zion Baptist Church--and organized an area-wide boycott against Tastykake for its discriminatory practices. He took his economic activism to a new level when he founded Opportunities Industrialization Centers International or OIC International, which became the largest job training program in the world. Sullivan believed that in order to take advantage of equal opportunity laws there needed to be skilled and capable minorities. He was the first African American to serve on the board of directors of a major corporation when he joined GM's board in 1971. Using his connection to corporate America, he came to battle anti-apartheid, resulting in American corporations pulling out of South Africa and leading to the end of apartheid. His code of conduct for businesses became known as the 'Sullivan Principles' and were expanded into the 'Global Sullivan Principles' by Sullivan and the United Nations in 1999. In 2001, Sullivan's activism finally came to an end when he died of leukemia.
Access Copy Note: Interview transcripts are available online as well as video clips.
Collection URL: http://muweb.marshall.edu/revleonsullivan/indexf.htm
Digital Status: Partial
Extent: 11 video recordings; 11 transcripts
Related Archival Items: The Benjamin L. Hooks Papers at the University of Memphis has an audio cassette that contains testimonials about Leon Sullivan; see the separate database record on the Hooks Papers.
Interviewees: Rev. Leon Sullivan, Julian Bond, William H. Gray, Jack Kemp, Wesley Lynch, C.T. Mannings, Kweisi Mfume, Gwendolyn Mikell, Tom Murphy, David O'Reilly, Julie Sullivan
Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights
African American businesspeople
African American churches
African American clergy
African Americans--Civil rights--Pennsylvania
African Americans--Civil rights--West Virginia
African Americans--Politics and government
Civil rights workers
Civil rights workers--Pennsylvania
Civil rights--Economic aspects
Discrimination in employment
King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968