Robert S. Gabriner Papers, 1961-1981 (bulk 1965-1979)

Container Title
Mss 525
Part 1 (Mss 525, Audio 851A/1, PH Mss 525): Original Collection, 1957-1982
Physical Description: 1.8 cubic feet (1 record center carton and 2 archives boxes), 1 tape recording, and 56 photographs 
Scope and Content Note

The collection contains a variety of documents which reflect civil rights and community organizing activities, and his work with American Indians during the years he used the name John Salter. Included are correspondence; numerous speeches, reports, and other writings by Salter; partial files from some of his professional positions; his FBI files; and other papers. There are few papers specifically illustrating Salter's teaching career.

Biographical materials includes a résumé from 1960, photocopies of photographs, and two interviews done in 1981. The records of the Chicago Commons Association consist of correspondence, printed form letters, announcements and notes of meetings, address and telephone lists, copies of Salter's reports as director, 1969-1972, and affidavits attesting to racial discrimination.

In 1981 Salter and his attorney obtained the release for portions of his FBI file. The file was released over a period of months in sections which were not in chronological order, and have been kept in the order of their release. Also included is a letter Salter wrote August 11, 1981, referring to the latest portion of the files released (Box 1, Folders 8-10), and giving his comments about their content.

Salter's records of his civil rights work in Mississippi include newspaper clippings, which provide a day-by-day record of his activities; copies of statements and court documents; texts of speeches given by Salter and others, all dating from the period of the Jackson boycott movement; and a printed record of hearings on voting and registration held by the United States Commission on Civil Rights in 1965. There is also a folder containing copies of the “North Jackson Action,” which was the bulletin of the North Jackson NAACP Youth Council, to which Salter was advisor. Filed with the general papers of the Jackson Boycott Movement is a copy of the police report concerning the auto accident of June 18, 1963, in which Salter and Rev. Edwin King were injured, and which he came to believe was deliberately planned. Correspondence regarding Salter's Mississippi civil rights work is interfiled with the general correspondence, and includes both letters of support and hate mail.

Salter's North Carolina civil rights and voter registration work is represented by correspondence with Anne and Carl Braden, James Dombrowski, and other SCEF officials, affidavits of non-registration, general papers, leaflets, and flyers; Salter's writings, speeches, and reports to SCEF and others; and news clippings. The papers concern both testing of public accommodations in Chapel Hill, and the Halifax County Voters Movement. Printed materials include legal briefs from the Willa Johnson v. Joseph Branch (1966) and Charles Lee Parker v. North Carolina (1969) cases, and a copy of the state election laws (1963). Also present are news clippings, leaflets, and flyers, with some correspondence, which Salter kept regarding the increase in Ku Klux Klan activity in North Carolina during this period.

A separate section on the Southern Conference Educational Fund includes printed transcripts of the 1963-1964 hearings about SCEF held by the Joint Legislative Committee on Un-American Activities of the State of Louisiana, and in 1967 about the poverty program in southern Louisiana. There are also SCEF press releases and reprints, some of which concern or were written by Salter.

Salter's interest in the American Indian Center and the Native American Community Organizational Training Center is revealed by a folder of materials including by-laws, applications for and certificates of incorporation, a prospectus and project proposals, reports, background information, résumés, and financial and other information. Fragmentary papers, including newspaper articles, illustrate some of Salter's work while at the University of Iowa, while papers created and gathered while he was director of the Office of Human Development in Rochester, New York, primarily concern the fur workers' grievances and strike, and Salter's dismissal from his position. Included are correspondence, statements, and reports.

Salter's own writings, speeches, and articles are represented in a separate folder, as well as by items in a folder titled conferences and programs, and in a folder of material regarding Salter's friend John Beecher. In 1980 writer Richard Harger authored The Scourge of Secrecy: A Personal Testimony and Appeal, concerning FBI and CIA surveillance during the years of civil rights and anti-Vietnam war activities. A section of the book deals with the events and people of the Jackson boycott movement. Included in the file are a review copy of the book, sent to Salter to review, another portion of the book in appendix form, and several letters reviewing and opposing the work.

The audio recording is labeled, “Given with love from your Black Brother, Don Anthony White 117121 Wash. State Pen. 1/18/72.” Recorded is a concert by Native American musician Floyd Westerman, who sang his original compositions and adaptations of popular songs. Also included are Westerman's comments on the oppressive nature of white institutions, illegal white acquisition of American Indian land, and the injustice of the legal system as applied to minorities. The quality of the sound is very poor, as the recording was apparently made from the audience, and spoken comments from the stage are difficult to understand. Also included is an unidentified concert by a rock and roll band.

The photographic portion of the collection includes images of Salter, both alone and with others, as well as images related to his civil rights activities in the 1960s and 1980s. Activities documented include a planning meeting at Tougaloo College (1962-1963); a Woolworth's sit-in in Jackson, Mississippi, and a protest at Chapel Hill, North Carolina (1963-1964); events in Enfield, North Carolina, including voter registration workshops and the attempted burning of a Black grocery store by the Ku Klux Klan (1964); and a North Carolina civil rights/anti-poverty conference (1965). Later events documented include Native American organizing in Chicago, Illinois (1972); and a King Memorial Banquet in Grand Forks, North Dakota (1989). Also present are images of housing conditions for African Americans in the 1980s American South.

Box   1
Folder   1
Biographical materials
Box   1
Folder   1 (continued)
Interviews with Salter, 1981
Box   1
Folder   2
American Indian material, 1972-1980
Chicago Commons Association
Box   1
Folder   3
General, 1969-1973
Box   1
Folder   4
Community organizing reports, 1969-1972
Box   1
Folder   5
Racial affidavits, 1970-1971
Box   1
Folder   6
Correspondence, 1962-1981, undated
FBI files
Box   1
Folder   7
1963
Note: Released January 1981.
Box   1
Folder   8-9
1960-1969
Note: Released later in 1981.
Box   1
Folder   10
1963-1967
Note: Released later in 1981.
Box   1
Folder   11
“Freedom Summer Reviewed,” Jackson, Mississippi Symposium, 1979
Box   1
Folder   12
University of Iowa papers, 1974-1975
Box   1
Folder   13
Miscellaneous
Mississippi - Civil Rights Activities
Jackson Boycott Movement
Box   1
Folder   14
1962-1964
Box   1
Folder   15
“North Jackson Action,” Bulletin of the North Jackson NAACP Youth Council, 1962-1963
Box   1
Folder   16
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Hearings on Voting, Jackson, Mississippi, 1965
Box   1
Folder   17-18
News clippings, 1962-1964, undated
Box   1
Folder   19
Report on the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, 1967
Box   1
Folder   19 (continued)
Salter's affidavit, 1981
Box   1
Folder   20
Native American Community Organizational Training Center, and American Indian Center, Chicago, 1973-1975, 1977
North Carolina - Civil Rights and Voter Registration
Box   1
Folder   21
Affidavits of Non-Registration, 1964
Box   1
Folder   22-23
Correspondence and related material, 1963-1967
Scope and Content Note: Includes Salter's final report, October 7, 1965.
General
Box   1
Folder   24
1963-1964
Box   2
Folder   1
1965-1968
Box   2
Folder   2-3
Ku Klux Klan activities, 1964-1965
Box   2
Folder   4
News clippings, 1964-1965
Printed
Box   2
Folder   5
Legal briefs, 1966, 1969
Box   2
Folder   6
State Election Laws, 1963
Box   2
Folder   7
Writings, speeches and reports, 1966, 1968, 1977, 1979
Box   2
Folder   8
Organizing
Box   2
Folder   9
Press and radio lists
Box   2
Folder   10
Rochester, New York, Office of Human Development, 1972-1980
Box   2
Folder   11
Segregationist, Ku Klux Klan, and other Anti-Civil Rights materials - General
Southern Conference Educational Fund
Box   3
Folder   1-2
Transcripts of hearings before the Louisiana Joint Committee on Un-American Activities, 1963-1964, 1967
Box   3
Folder   3
Press releases and reprints, 1963-1964
Speeches, writings, and reviews
Box   3
Folder   4
General, 1957-1981, undated
Box   3
Folder   5
Beecher, John - writings by Beecher; writings and reviews by Salter, 1963-1981
Box   3
Folder   6
Conferences and programs, including speeches, 1973-1975
Box   3
Folder   7
Scourge of Secrecy / by Richard Harger, reviewed by Salter and others, 1980
Box   3
Folder   8
Klanwatch Special Issue, 1982 February
Box   3
Folder   9
Unions and labor organizing, 1963-1980
851A/1
Concert by Native American musician Floyd Westerman, Washington State Penitentiary: audio recording, 1972 January 18
Scope and Content Note: Sound quality is poor. On Side 2 is an unidentified, undated concert by a rock and roll band.
PH Mss 525
Photographs
Use Restrictions: Copyright to some images not held by the Wisconsin Historical Society. When using images from this collection, the citation must include “Hunter Gray Papers.”
Box   1
Folder   1
Hunter Gray [John Salter] portraits and with others
Box   1
Folder   2
Tougaloo College, 1962-1963
Box   1
Folder   3
Protests/demonstrations, Jackson, Mississippi, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1963-1964
Box   1
Folder   4
Voter registration, Literacy Class, Enfield, North Carolina, 1964
Box   1
Folder   5
Unsuccessful KKK effort to burn an African American store, Enfield, North Carolina, 1964
Box   1
Folder   6
Civil Rights/Anti-poverty Conference, North Carolina, 1965 March
Box   1
Folder   7
Native American organizing, Chicago, Illinois, 1972
Box   1
Folder   8
Housing conditions for African Americans in the American South, 1980s
Box   1
Folder   9
King Memorial Banquet, Grand Forks, North Dakota, 1989 January 14
Box   1
Folder   10
People