William W. Finlator Papers, 1935-1977

Scope and Content Note

The papers consist primarily of correspondence, writings, a subject file, and biographical clippings. This arrangement corresponds with the order of the papers when they were located in the pastor's office. No attempt has been made to correct some inconsistencies in this order, and the researcher will want to check alternate filing locations when searching for material on a particular topic. Thus material on Finlator's involvement with Clergymen Concerned, for example, may be found not only under the Raleigh Committee in the subject file, but also in the outgoing correspondence filed under the name Richard Fernandez. Furthermore, some of Finlator's speeches and writings may be found under the name of the organization addressed rather than with writings of a similar genre.

CORRESPONDENCE, 1948-1977, is divided into incoming and outgoing mail with the latter forming the bulk of the collection. The outgoing correspondence primarily dates from the period 1966-1975; the incoming correspondence is more fragmentary, but spans the period 1948-1977. The outgoing correspondence is subdivided by year and then by letter, with each letter arranged chronologically. This correspondence deals primarily with his pastorate at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church and includes many routine letters, as well as some interesting items concerning capital punishment, civil rights, civil liberties, conscientious objection, church-state relations, politics, and the Vietnam War.

The second major portion of the collection consists of Finlator's SPEECHES AND WRITINGS and is divided into articles, addresses, sermons, book reviews, broadcast commentaries, letters to editors, and circulars to members of the Pullen congregation, together with related correspondence and clippings. This section concerns ecumenism, labor relations, prison reform, prayer in public schools, prohibition, and Billy Graham. The responses are wide-ranging and include both favorable reactions and vitriolic hate mail. Unfortunately the coverage given to his sermons in the collection is very limited.

SUBJECT FILES, 1959-1977, are arranged alphabetically and include incoming and outgoing correspondence, clippings, reports, writings, and printed matter. Among the largest and most interesting files are those concerned with the Baptist State Convention, the North Carolina Civil Liberties Union, the North Carolina Council of Churches, the North Carolina Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, prisoners, and the Raleigh Committee of Clergymen Concerned with Vietnam. The collection is completed by a small group of clippings titled BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIAL.

Prominent correspondents include Anne Braden, Cesar Chavez, James A. Dombrowski, Sam J. Ervin, Harry Golden, Paul Green, Jesse Helmes, Hugh Hester, Luther Hodges, Hubert Humphrey, Lyndon B. Johnson, Nicholas Johnson, Estes Kefauver, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Terry Sanford, and Norman Thomas.