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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

George Wiley remembered

Repository: George Wiley Center

Collection Description (CRHP): This collection consists of approximately 18 oral histories and related materials about George Wiley, a Rhode Island-born civil rights leader and advocate for welfare mothers and the poor. An under-recognized leader of the civil rights movement, he, unlike many male leaders of the movement, advocated for women's rights as well. He was "a champion of the championless," in the words of playwright Ricardo Pitts-Wiley (no relation to George Wiley). George Wiley served as the associate national director for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and founded the National Welfare Rights Organization, transforming local welfare rights struggles into a national movement. Ricardo Pitts-Wiley recorded these oral histories on Wiley to serve as the basis for writing, producing, and presenting a stage dramatization about Wiley's life and times. As of November 2010, the forthcoming play is titled, "A Day with George Wiley." Pitts-Wiley interviewed siblings of Wiley, anti-poverty activist Frances Fox Piven, and civil rights activists, including Vernon Jordan, for this project, among others. Wiley-Pitts is founder of Mixed Magic Theatre (, which has produced plays dealing with the civil rights movement and African American life, including one on Mahalia Jackson that looks at her civil rights activism. He has garnered national and international acclaim for his page-to-stage adaptations of The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave, the poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar, and other productions. He has directed over 40 plays and musicals.

Digital Status: Partial

Extent: approx. 18 oral histories (audio and video formats); approx. 18 transcripts; photographs; interview notes

Language: English

Interviewees: Frances Fox Piven, Vernon Jordan

Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights


African American women--Employment
African American women--Political activity
African Americans--Civil rights
Black power
Civil rights workers
Congress of Racial Equality
National Welfare Rights Organization (U.S.)
Welfare rights movement
Wiley, George A.
Women's rights


Sound recordings


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   September 26, 2018
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