Austin History Center

Austin Equal Citizenship Corporation Records

An Inventory of the Collection

Collection Summary

Creator: Austin Equal Citizenship Corporation
Title: Austin Equal Citizenship Corporation Records
Dates: 1959-1968
Abstract: The Austin Equal Citizenship Corporation (AECC) was chartered on July 7, 1966, and contracted with the City of Austin to investigate all sworn complaints of discrimination. The administrative history, meeting agendas and minutes, correspondence, newspaper clippings and notes in this collection highlight the activities of the AECC from 1966 to 1967. In addition, there are newspaper articles and other materials documenting the organization that preceded and superseded the AECC, the Human Relations Commission, and the effort to pass a Fair Housing Ordinance.
Accession number: AR.2012.006
Quantity: .4 linear feet (1 box)
Quantity: .050 GB (5 files)
Location: Archives Stacks; Digital Storage
Language: English
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library,
810 Guadalupe, PO Box 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Administrative History

The Austin Equal Citizenship Corporation (AECC) was chartered on July 7, 1966, and contracted with the City of Austin to investigate all sworn complaints of discrimination. The AECC was created by suggestion of the Austin Mayor Palmer after several years of discussion in City Council about utilizing a Human Relations Commission to handle civil rights issues.

The Austin City Council passed Ordinance No. 64-0512-A on May 12, 1964 to create the Human Relations Commission of the City of Austin that was to consist of seven members responsible for investigating complaints regarding human relations in the City of Austin with the intent of settling such complaints on a voluntary basis by mediation, conciliation, and persuasion. The City Council members were, however, unable to agree on who should be appointed to the Commission and how much power the Commission should have and the Commission was inactive from its creation. After the passage of the Federal Civil Rights act there was discussion about whether there was a need for a local organization to investigate discrimination as complaints could be filed with the federal courts. Members of the local N.A.A.C.P. and others periodically went before the City Council to ask that the Human Rights Commission be activated so that civil right issues could be dealt with at a local level. On May 5, 1966 the Citywide Committee of Individuals and Organization for Human Rights again spoke at a city council meeting about establishing an active Human Relations Commission with subpoena powers. After discussion Mayor Palmer's proposed plan for a private corporation that would contract with the City of Austin to handle all civil rights matters was explained. The Council adopted the corporation plan with a 5-0 vote. In June an announcement was made of the intent of the Council members to appoint as members of the Board of Directors of a private non-profit Human Relations Corporation to be organized. Those named were: Judge Virgil Lott, Richard Brown, Dr. John Barclay, Morris Shapiro, Dr. L.D. Haskew, Paul Bolton, Roy Velasquez, Janet Reed and Dr. Connie Yerwood.

The initial meeting of the private non-profit corporation was held in City Hall on June 9, 1966, where officers were elected and the corporate name Austin Equal Citizenship Corporation was chosen. After signing the contract with the City of Austin on July 7, 1966, the AECC established offices on August 1, 1966 in the Littlefield Building. The office was staffed with a bilingual (Spanish/English) speaking interviewer from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday to take complaints of discrimination. Members of the Board investigated complaints, suggestions and practices.

On October 5, 1967 the City Council once again held a hearing on an ordinance establishing a Human Relations Commission (HRC). Mayor Aiken suggested that it was time to place the responsibility for civil rights in Austin where it belonged "on the shoulders of the City Council itself and it was assumed that this would be a working, continuing relationship between the Council and the Human Relations Commission." The AECC, to allow Council to establish the Commission, suggested that the contract between the City and the AECC be terminated. The Articles of Dissolution were signed later in the same month. The ordinance (19671005-B) to establish the Human Relations Commission was passed and by the end of 1967 twenty-five Austin citizens were appointed to the Commission. Several members of the AECC were became members of the newly formed HRC.

Scope and Contents

The collection is divided into two series: Austin Equal Citizenship Corporation (AECC) and Human Relations Commission (HRC).

The Austin Equal Citizenship Corporation series (1964-1967) contains administrative history, correspondence, meeting minutes, notes and reports that document the activities of the AECC. Included are the ordinances, contract and incorporation papers that established the Corporation as well as the Resolution to Dissolve and Articles of Dissolution. The meeting minutes trace the development and progress of the AECC and contain general administrative business as well as information about the complaints that were filed with the Corporation. The correspondence highlights the organizations efforts to learn how other cities dealt with discrimination complaints and to garner support for the Corporation. Also included is the AECC's report to the Austin City Council on the first year of their activities.

The Human Relations Commission series (1959-1968) is composed principally of materials related to the City of Austin's attempt to pass a Fair Housing Ordinance in 1967 and 1968. The secretary of the AECC was appointed to the Human Relations Commission in 1967 and retained a limited amount of materials concerning the HRC with AECC files. Included are reports, legal documents, distributed information, memorandum, copies of versions of the proposed Fair Housing Ordinance as well as newspaper clippings that traced the passing of the ordinance by City Council and the subsequent (and successful) effort by citizens to force an election on the ordinance. In addition there are a few more general newspaper clippings about the Commission and single complaint report filed with the Commission.


Arranged into 2 series:
I. Austin Equal Citizenship Corporation
II. Human Relations Commission


Access Restrictions

Open to all users

Access to digital content is only available through a dedicated workstation in the Austin History Center Reading Room.

Use Restrictions

The Austin History Center (AHC) is the owner of the physical materials in the AHC collections and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the AHC before any publication use. The AHC does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.

Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Barclay, John.
Reed, Janet.
Austin Equal Citizenship Corporation.
Austin (Tex.). City Council.
Austin (Tex.). Human Relations Commission.
Austin (Tex.)--Social conditions.
Austin (Tex.)--Politics and government.
Discrimination in employment--Texas--Austin.
Discrimination in housing--Texas--Austin.
Human rights--Texas--Austin.

Related Material

Austin Files

  • AF Subject - Civil Rights -- Austin Human Relations Commission C4600 (3)
  • AF Subject - Antipoverty Program -- Citywide Committee for Human Rights A4600 (2)
  • AF Bio - Reed, Lester James (Janet Reed)

General Collection

  • A 305.8 AUH882A Austin (Tex.). Human Relations. Annual Report (multiple years, 1967-1977)
  • A 323.1097643 Austin (Tex.). Human Rights Commission. Minutes.
  • A 323.40973 WI Joseph Parker Witherspoon, Administrative Implementation of Civil Rights. 1968.

Archives & Manuscripts

Administrative Information

Custodial History

Donated by the secretary of the organization.

Preferred Citation

Austin Equal Citizenship Corporation Records (AR.2012.006). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/2012/009

Donation Date: 2012

Processing Information

Finding aid created and encoded by Molly Hults/2012.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Austin Equal Citizenship Corporation, 1964-1967

Box Folder
1 1 Administrative history, 1964-1966, undated
2 Correspondence, 1966-1967
3 Complaints, 1966-1967
4 Meeting minutes, 1966-1967
5 Notes, 1966-1967, undated
6 Reports, 1967, undated

II. Human Relations Commission, 1959-1968

Box Folder
1 7 Newspaper clippings, 1959, 1967-1968
8 Complaint, 1968
9 Fair Housing Ordinance, 1968
Digitized photographs available through a dedicated workstation in the Austin History Center Reading Room.
10 Fair Housing Ordinance clippings, 1967-1968