West End Community Council Records, 1963-1970

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains materials donated by four individuals: Rev. Charles Tachau, an executive director of the WECC, James Kiphart, a chairman of the Council, and Anne and Carl Braden, founding members of the WECC. As a result, the records are incomplete. The papers have been arranged in four major series: Administrative and Committee Records, Correspondence, Financial Records, and Organizations and Activities.

Within the ADMINISTRATIVE AND COMMITTEE RECORDS, a file of descriptive materials gives a full picture of WECC activities throughout the organization's lifespan. Included are the minutes of the initial organizational meeting in 1963, and reports of the Council's dissolution in 1970. Histories written in 1965 as part of grant proposals describe the Council's early years. Detailed reports of Council activities cover the period from January 1966 to March 1967. Sketchier reports were written for donors in 1968 and 1969. A letter of June 8, 1967 (Box 1, Folder 1) reviews the Council's relationship with the Louisville Community Action Commission, and explains its decision to sever connections with the Commission. Descriptions of West End conditions are also to be found in this file.

The Council's organizational papers include its articles of incorporation and constitution, written in 1963 and 1964. The file of papers of the executive directors has resumes and press clippings of Hulbert James and Charles Tachau. Material referring to WECC committees is fragmentary and primarily consists of minutes and memoranda. Most cover only two or three years of the Council's life and there are no records for several of the Council's committees. Voluminous CORRESPONDENCE, 1963 to 1970, touches upon multiple aspects regarding the Council, and especially concerns religious organizations from whom the WECC sought funding.

Among the extensive FINANCIAL RECORDS are summaries from 1964 through 1970, which provide a concise overview of financial operations through out the Council's existence. Annotated check stubs are a continuous record of spending. Early records exist from 1963, as well as ledgers for the Head Start program and Operation West End. Other records, including account ledgers, receipts, and contributions, date primarily from 1967 to 1969.

The major portion of the WECC papers relate to ORGANIZATIONS AND ACTIVITIES with which the Council was associated. Most of the papers in this series deal with the Community Action Commission, which administered the Community Action Program for Louisville. The CAP was “chief weapon in the war on poverty” of the federal Office of Economic Opportunity. The Louisville CAC was one of about thirty CAP's throughout the US in 1965, and it was believed to have received the largest grant, per capita, of any major city. The CAC contracted with various existing community groups to implement programs in specific neighborhoods, and among those was the WECC.

Included in the CAC file are correspondence, budgets, and the full application submitted to the OEO in 1966. The application, with its many supporting documents, gives a broad overview of the purposes and activities of the CAC. The structure of the CAC is explained in its by-laws and prospectuses; organizational papers include rosters of Commission members, with analysis of their racial and economic backgrounds. Many CAC programs, including the Head Start project in which the WECC was active, are analyzed in a series of reports, proposals and evaluations from 1965 to 1969. The WECC used OEO funds to employ community organizers; their labors between 1965 and 1967 are described in detailed reports of activities and memoranda.

Other papers are related specifically to the Head Start program. Lengthy reports and evaluations describe Head Start operations from 1966 to 1969, and show the position of the WECC within the program's structure. The extent of the Council's involvement is evident from minutes, reports, correspondence, and financial records.

The Council employed VISTA volunteers, and their activities generated program applications, proposals, correspondence, financial records, and detailed reports. In addition, small files are included on a number of local and national organizations which cooperated with the WECC. Among these were: The Black Unity League of Kentucky, Community Action on Metropolitan Problems, The Louisville Youth Commission, The Public Housing Tenants Association, and clubs in the Southwick district of the West End. A larger grouping of papers, including a charter and statement of purpose, membership rosters, petitions, correspondence and press clippings, concern the Louisville Welfare Rights Organization.

Other files are related to activities of the Council regarding social issues in the West End. A substantial body of material exists on urban renewal, consisting of correspondence, memoranda, and newspaper clippings. A series of informative case studies describes the plight of many displaced individuals. On welfare issues, there are reference materials, correspondence and many clippings from Louisville newspapers during 1966 to 1968. One series of clippings illustrates WECC involvement in the national welfare rights campaign of July 1966. Photographs relate to neighborhood visits by the group and a social event.

Other activities of the Council which are illustrated in the collection, include their Arts and Talent Festivals, their coffee house, surveys on desegregation in housing and employment, fund-raising benefits, cultural events, adult education, and a voter registration campaign.

One folder deals with the sedition charges brought in 1967 against Anne and Carl Braden, two of the founding members of the WECC. Included are texts of radio broadcasts by commentator Fulton Lewis, on the Bradens' alleged Communist activities, and a reply by Carl Braden. Also present are legal documents filed by the Bradens and the WECC in an attempt to win an injunction against the Kentucky Committee on Un-American Activities in 1968.