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LCRM Update #3

Letter, Patricia Nixon to Elna Spaulding
Letter, Patricia Nixon to Elna Spaulding, June 30, 1969. Women-in-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes Records, Box 1, Folder 3 (File ID: wiams01003143).


In last month’s update  for the progress of the CCC Project at Duke, I discussed how an interest group tried to lobby Congress to oppose civil rights reform.  In that case, the National Restaurant Association lobbied Congress to block a piece of legislation that it felt would harm its members.  Contacting officials to enact desirable policies is certainly one of the most important activities of advocacy organizations, yet before lobbying can occur, an organization must become sustainable through fundraising.  This month, we take a look at the Women-in-Action for the Prevention of Violence Records and how that nascent organization contacted a wide array of individuals, corporations, and institutions to raise funds for their efforts to combat domestic violence and promote racial harmony.

The President of Women-in-Action, Mrs. Elna Spaulding, wrote letters to many of the luminaries of the late 1960s in her effort to garner funding.  Potential benefactors included the Eckert Corporation, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, financial firm Lehman Brothers, Coretta Scott King, the producers of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Senator Jesse Helms, and (pictured here) first lady Pat Nixon.  Many of the recipients did not respond; most responded like Mrs. Nixon, with well-wishes but no funding.  However, Mrs. Spaulding was successful enough to take her fledgling organization and make it into a major community actor in both Durham and elsewhere in North Carolina.  We encourage you to peruse the correspondence in the Women-in-Action Records to find out for yourself who gave to the cause.

The grant-funded CCC Project is designed to digitize selected manuscripts and photographs relating to the long civil rights movement. For more information on this project, including updates on the progress of digitization, please check out the CCC website. As part of the outreach efforts of the CCC Project, monthly blog posts to The Devil’s Tale will provide updates on the latest Rubenstein Library collections to be digitized for the project. Stay tuned!

Post contributed by Josh Hager, CCC Graduate Assistant