W. Burghardt Turner Collection
Manuscript Collection 260
30.7 cubic ft.
Educator, civil rights and community activist in Suffolk County, N.Y.
Correspondence, minutes, reports, budgets, clippings and other papers
chiefly from Turner's service on the Suffolk County, N.Y., Human Relations
Commission and his terms as chairman; together with papers relating to
his work with civil rights organizations and the United Fund of Long Island,
subject files on police brutality and civil rights legislation, and personal
papers, including material relating to his appointment and work as a professor
of history at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
The W. Burghardt Turner Papers deal with an individual who became
extensively involved with the civil rights movement at the height of its
national concern during the 1960's and 1970's. This collection is significant
due to Mr. Turner's service and activity on many governmental and institutional
W. Burghardt Turner was born in Jamaica, N.Y., in 1915. He was educated
in Kentucky and New York City, where he also engaged in extensive post-graduate
study. His wife, Joyce (née Moore) Turner, was also actively involved
in the civil rights movement, specifically the Educational Opportunity
Commission during the 1960's.
As an educator, Mr. Turner taught in the New York City and Suffolk County
high schools. In 1965 he accepted a position as Assistant Professor of
History at Southampton College, Long Island, N.Y. In 1968 he left Southampton
College for a position at the State University of New York at Stony Brook
as an Associate Professor of History. It was during his career at Stony
Brook that the majority of his civil rights activities developed. Because
of his academic responsibilities at the university, however, he eventually
had to request not to be reconsidered for another reappointment as Chairman
of the Suffolk County Human Relations Commission (SCHRC) in 1971, and
the following year had to resign as both Vice-President and Executive
Committee member of the United Fund of Long Island.
The earlier series in this collection contain civil rights legislation,
civil rights organizations, and police brutality information. These topics
appear to have affected Mr. Turner during his tenure as President of the
Patchogue Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored
People, and a member of the Long Island Coordinating Committee on Civil
Rights. The civil rights legislation was of great concern to him as manifested
by the correspondence and letters to congressmen.
Besides this national concern for action he maintained a relationship
with civil rights organizations on the local level. Workshops dealing
with these topics in Suffolk County, public demonstrations, coordination
of human relations groups, and association with immediate area communities
is contained in the Civil Rights Organizations series. Another early series
contains papers dealing with police brutality and abuse of power. This
theme reoccurs its importance to him constantly from 1964-1976.
The United Fund of Long Island is the smaller of the two major series.
In 1968 Mr. Turner accepted a position on the United Fund's Admissions
and Allocations Committee. He remained on this committee until 1971. In
1969 he was appointed to the Board of Trustees, and a year later agreed
to serve as a Vice-President. The following year, 1971, he was elected
a member of the Executive Committee. It was in April, 1972, that he asked
not to be reconsidered for his position as Vice-President and Executive
Committee member. He did, however, remain as a member of the Board of
The most substantial portion of this collection deals with W. Burghardt
Turner's nearly ten year association and service on the SCHRC. His early
involvement with the Commission was a Chairman of the Employment Committee.
In 1970 he was appointed Chairman of the SCHRC, succeeding Ralph R. Watkins.
During his service as chairman, varied and extensive problems were addressed.
The desegregation of schools throughout Suffolk County and the issue of
student rights was handled effectively. Labor problems in the public sphere
were addressed, from the plight of the migrant worker in eastern Long
Island to the desegregation of corporate and big business hiring practices.
Fair housing for both the disadvantaged and the elderly also became an
issue of concern for the Commission. One of Mr. Turner's most consistent
efforts focuses on police brutality. Actions taken by the SCHRC on behalf
of the victims of these alleged actions is substantial, as well as communication
with both the Suffolk County Executive and Suffolk County Commissioner
In 1971 Mr. Turner found himself over-extended and asked County Executive
H. Lee Dennison not to consider him for reappointment as Chairman of the
SCHRC. This was due to Mr. Turner's own recognition of having to devote
more time to his research and teaching at the State University of New
York at Stony Brook.
In 1974, W. Burghardt Turner once again returned to active involvement
as a commissioner in the SCHRC and as co-chairman of the Employment Committee,
and in 1976 he accepted the position as chairman of the Budget Committee.
This most recent appointment as commissioner expired in 1978.
Box 1. Personal Papers. n.d., 1967-1971, 1973-1976.
Inter-Office memos, employee notices and records, newspaper clippings,
magazine articles, letters and correspondence. This appears to have been
Mr. Turner's chronological file.
- n.d., 1967-1968
- 1969 - January - April
- 1969 - May - June
- 1969 - July - December
- 1970 - January - April
- 1970 - May - June
- 1970 - July - September
- 1970 - October - December
- 1971 - January - April
- 1971 - May - June
- 1971 - August - September
- 1974 - January - April
- 1974 - May - August
- 1974 - September - December
- 1975 - January - February
- 1975 - March - April
- 1975 - May - July
- 1975 - August - December
- 1976 - January - March
- 1976 - April - May
- 1976 - June - July
- 1976 - August - September
- 1976 - October - December
Box 2. Personal Papers. (Oversize of Box 1, f.2-24)
- 1974 - January - July
- 1974 - August - December
Box 3. Personal Papers. (Oversize of Box 1, f.2-24)
- 1. Civil Rights Legislation, 1963-1964. Government Documents, Letters
- 2. Civil Rights Organizations, 1963-1965. Government and Public Organizations
Which Were Motivated by Church, School and Local Community Initiative.
- 3. Police Brutality, 1960-1968. Pamphlets, Newspaper Clippings, Magazine
Articles and a Speech Delivered by Mr. Turner on This Subject.
- 4-5. Suffolk County Human Rights Commission
- Education Committee, 1969-1973. Notices, Newspaper Clippings,
Conference Programs, Federal and State Legislation and Local School
District Letters Dealing With Student Rights. (See Also Box 4, f.7)
- 6-10. Employment Committee, 1971-1975. Committee Papers, Corporate
and Business Letters, Newspapers Clippings and Federal, State and
Local Action. (See Also Box 4, f.8)
- 11-18. Meetings: Agendas and Minutes, 1967-1971, 1973-1976.
- 19. Newsletters, 1968-1969, 1974. (See Also Box 4, f.9)
- 20-24. Reports, 1967-1971, 1974-1975. Reports of the Executive
Director of the Commission Committees and Task Force Assignments.
(See Also Box 4, f.10)
- 25-31. United Fund of Long Island, 1968-1974
Box 4. Personal Papers.
- 1-2. United Fund of Long Island, 1973-1974. Minutes, Reports, Rosters,
Budgets, Audits, Letters, Correspondence and Newspaper Clippings. (See
Also Box 4, f.11)
- 3. Civil Rights Organizations. (Oversize of Box 3, f.2)
- 4-6. Suffolk County Human Rights Commission
- Budgets. Fiscal Years 1969-1978. Drafts of Budgets for the Above
Years as well as Descriptions, Comparisons and Expansion of Previous
- 7. Education Committee. (Oversize of Box 3, f.4-5)
- 8. Employment Committee. (Oversize of Box 3, f.6-10)
- 9. Newsletters. (Oversize of Box 3, f.19)
- 10. Reports. (Oversize of Box 3, f.20-24)
- 11. United Fund of Long Island. (Oversize of Box 3, f.25-31; Box 4,
Box 5. Personal Papers.
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People - Complaints
and Problems, 1980.
- RI-TEC Committee
- Brookhaven Laboratory - Minority Contracts Task Force
- Regional Finance Study June 1984
- Public Education in Suffolk County
- Final Report on Equity
- A Synopsis of Public Education Responses and Pupil Performance
- Economic Opportunity Council September, October, November and December
- Day Care Services, Inc.
Box 6. Personal Papers.
- Economic Opportunity Council Meeting April 17, 1986
- Economic Opportunity Council January - December 1986
Box 7. Personal Papers.
- Tyrell S. Wilson Scholarship
- Brookhaven National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Education
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Literature
Box 8. Personal Papers.
- Minority Coalition 1982
- Civil Rights and National Association for the Advancement of Colored
People Literature and Pamphlets
- ASALH Annual Conference
- BLAC - Bellport Alliance 1982
- 100 Black Men
- Brookhaven Laboratory
Box 9. Personal Papers.
- Economic Opportunity Council Files, 1987 and 1989
W. Burghardt Turner Accession, November
Materials added November 1993.
Turner, W. Burghardt: Carton marked SHRC-1977 [Suffolk County
Human Rights Commission], includes Planned Parenthood, Wyandanch
School ..., Vocational ..., NYSTA [New York State Teachers Association],
NEA [National Education Association]
Box 13. Marked HRC [Suffolk County Human Rights Commission]
1978, Afro-Am Clips, Pamphlets-etc
Box 17. Marked HRC [Suffolk County Human Rights Commission]
Box 21. marked SCHRC [Suffolk County Human Rights Commission]
1980-1982 (few items already filed in 12)
Boxes 26-39. Marked EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunity
- 26. EEOC 1970-1974
- 29. EEOC end 1974, 1982-August 1984
Box marked NAACP [National Association for the Advancement
of Colored People] 1975-1979, and Legal Aid Service
- 40. Patchogue NAACP 1967-1969
- 41. 1975, 1977-1978
- 42. Brookhaven Branch NAACP, September 1979; NAACP January-July, 1979;
- 43. Legal Aid Society, 1965-1979
Box marked Education, Integration, Civil Rights 1953-1963, New
Clippings, South Shore Citizens Association. Also includes NAACP
Box marked NAACP [National Association for the Advancement
of Colored People] Education Program, Field staff-National Office, June
Shagaloff; Inst. School Integration Southampton College, Clippings, Education-Desegregation,
- Large unmarked box.. Contained instructional materials,
student papers, and miscellaneous unsorted materials
- Unmarked boxes.: Appear to be subject files marked
Box and folders marked "CED" [Continuing Education
Division, State University of New York at Stony Brook]
Materials from three cardboard Princeton files
- Metal case of 3" x 5" index card bibliography: re-boxed
and to be numbered at end of collection
- Collection of 4" x 6" index cards, apparently with notations
on students. Shelved at end of collection.