Human Relations Committee

City Archives
New Orleans Public Library

Date range: 1967-1979
Size of collection: Various published reports; newsletters; minutes; general office files (3 boxes)
Terms of Access: Available to registered researchers by appointment

Historical Note

In August, 1967, Mayor Victor H. Schiro named an Interim Advisory Committee to recommend procedures for the creation and operation of a permanent Human Relations Committee for the City of New Orleans. After several meetings, this committee drafted an ordinance which was passed by the City Council on September 7, 1967 (#3630 MCS). By the provisions of the ordinance the Committee was to be composed of 28 members, appointed by the Mayor with Council approval to one-year terms. Officers included a Chairman, also appointed by the Mayor, and three others, to be elected by the membership. Five additional members were to be elected to serve with the officers on a nine-man Executive Board. The Committee was authorized to request staff assistance from the Mayor and later ordinances provided for an Executive Director and a Deputy Director to be appointed by the Mayor.

The Interim Committee oversaw the implementation of the ordinary and in so doing adopted a policy of dividing the membership equally between black and white persons. It further recommended that sixteen of the members be nominated by designated community groups and that the remainder be elected from six geographic districts. In 1974, ordinance #5413 MCS increased the membership to 30 in order to provide for representation from the Spanish American population.

The enabling ordinance empowered the Committee to advise the Mayor and City Council in the areas of economic opportunity, racial harmony, discrimination, and human relations in general. Toward these ends the Committee was authorized to investigate charges of discrimination, to hold hearings, to conduct studies nd publish their results, and to accept contribuntions for the furtherance of its objectives.

The Human Relations Committee began operating in April, 1968, and from its beginning it and its staff assumed an activist role in addition to the advisory one mandated by the ordinance. In its first annual report the Committee stated its basic goal as:

to make New Orleans an open community which fosters and celebrates individual, ethnic, religious, and racial diversity in the public and private sectors under the essential unity of just and humane social, political, and economic structures.
In pursuit of this goal the Committee embarked on numerous projects in the field of human relations. It assisted in the creation of a Consumer Affairs Office and aided in the development of a public accomodations policy for the city. The Committee established the Answer Desk, an information and referral service for all citizens; worked closely with the Mardi Gras coalition in protecting Carnival-season visitors to the city; and coordinated the citizen participation aspect of the Community Development program. Throughout their existence the Committee and its staff investigated charges of police brutality, monitored affirmative action programs, and sought to identify community problems.

During the ten years following the Committee's creation great strides were made by the Black community of New Orleans. Black city employees increased in number, minority participation in the city's economy was assured, and a Black Mayor, Ernest N. Morial, was elected. Much of the Human Relation Committee's goal had been realized by 1978 and, with the increasing severity of budget restraints, the body was no longer viewed as essential. Thus, when the terms of office for Committee members expired in Spring, 1978, no new appointments were made and the Human Relations Committee ceased to function. As the enabling ordinance was not repealed it is possible that the Committee could be reactivated in the future. The staff continued in operation on a limited basis through December, 1979, but closed its doors when its funding was not renewed in the 1980 budget. Several of the Committee's activities were transfered to the new Community Services Office under the Division of Human Resources within the Mayor's Office.


Published reports, newsletters, and minutes are cataloged and filed by call number in the municipal documents collection or in the City Archives' Official Vertical File. The General Office Files (detailed below) are arranged alphabetically by subject; two addenda to the collection are appended.

Scope Note

The records consist of Annual Reports, 1968-1972 (ABN200); Reports, 1970-1971(ABN202), on subjects including voter registration, the Civil Service system, the Spanish-speaking population, consumer affairs, black employment in city government, and beautification; Minutes, 1968 (OVF ABN301), incomplete (additional, though still incomplete, minutes may be found in the General Office Files); copies of Progress, 1969-1976, the monthly (later irregular) bulletin of the Committee; and General Office Files, 1967-1979 (see inventory below). Also included are two addenda to the records.

Detailed Description of the Records

The General Office Files (1967-1979) consist of correspondence, minutes, election records, project files, and miscellaneous materials. Included are the records of the Interim Committee which designed the Human Relations Committee ordinance and oversaw its implementation.

General Office Files, 1967-1979

Box 1

Affirmative Action
Answer Desk, 1968-1970
Answer Desk, 1975-1976
Anti-Discrimination Act, 1974-1975
Armstrong Park Project, 1976
Big Sisters, 1976
Bureau on the Status of Women
Cambodian Relief
Chancley, Mrs. Deborah
Charity Hospital of New Orleans, 1975-1976
Citizens Involvement Network
City Hall Correspondence
Coalition for Louisiana Handicapped Children
Complaints and Requests, 1976
Complaints, General, 1974-1975
Complaints--Housing Discrimination
Complaints--Kenilworth Residents
Complaints--Public Accomodations
Complaints--Sewerage and Water Board
Complaints / Suggestions, 1976
Congress, Correspondence
Correspondence, General
Emergency School Aid Act, ESAA, 1975
Equal Opportunity Commission, 1974-1976
Fair Housing Program, 1976
Housing Authority of New Orleans--Correspondence
Housing Discrimination Hearings
Housing, General
Human Relations Commission and Community Relations Service U.S. Department of Justice, #67-921
----[This is Harry Kelleher's file on the origins and organization of the Human Relations Committee]
Human Relations Committee--Candidate Information--1974 Election--District 1
Human Relations Committee--Candidate Information--1974 Election--District 2
Human Relations Committee--Candidate Information--1974 Election--District 3
Human Relations Committee--Candidate Information--1974 Election--District 4
Human Relations Committee--Candidate Information--1974 Election--District 5
Human Relations Committee Election, 1970
Human Relations Committee--Executive Committee, 1974
Human Relations Committee--Executive Committee, 1975
Human Relations Committee, General, 1976
Human Relations Committee--Inter-Committee Correspondence
Human Relations Committee Meeting Attendance

Box 2

Human Relations Committee--Meetings, 1972
Human Relations Committee--Meetings, October-December, 1973
Human Relations Committee--Meetings, January-March, 1974
Human Relations Committee--Meetings, April-June, 1974
Human Relations Committee--Meetings, July-September, 1974
Human Relations Committee--Meetings, October-December, 1974
Human Relations Committee--Meetings, January-March, 1975
Human Relations Committee--Meetings, April-June, 1975
Human Relations Committee--Meetings, July-September, 1975
Human Relations Committee--Meetings, October-December, 1975
Human Relations Committee--Meetings, 1976
Human Relations Committee Nomination Certificates--1972 Election
Human Relations Committee Nomination Certificates--1974 Election District 1
Human Relations Committee Nomination Certificates--1974 Election District 2
Human Relations Committee Nomination Certificates--1974 Election District 3
Human Relations Committee Nomination Certificates--1974 Election District 4
Human Relations Committee Nomination Certificates--1974 Election District 5
Human Relations Committee Nomination Certificates--1974 Election District 6
Human Relations Committee Personnel--1967-1970
Human Relations Committee Personnel--1972-1974
Human Relations Committee Personnel--1974-1975
International Year of the Child--Final Report--1979
Kelly, Marion--Personal
Know Your Rights Pamphlet
Louisiana State Legislature--Correspondence
Mailing List of People Who Have Received Information
Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras Coalition--1975
Mayor and City Council--Correspondence
Mayor's Office--Letters--1976
Mayor's Staff--Items Acted Upon
Milne Boys' Home Charette
Missing Child Procedures Community Effort
Mobile Answer Desk--1973-1975
Mobile Answer Desk--1976
Muhammed Appreciation Day
National Association for Advancement of Colored People
National Association for Advancement of Colored People--1973-1975
Neighborhood Housing Service--1976
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
New Orleans Legal Assistance Corporation
New Orleans Police Department--Correspondence, 1975
New Orleans Police Department--Correspondence, 1976
New Orleans Training Institute
News Media--Press Releases 1975
Orleans Parish School Board, 1976
Pathfinder Bookstore
Policy Evaluation Committee

Box 3

Prep Sports Committee
Program Inventory and Development Plan
Progress Correspondence
Progress Masters--1969-1970
Progress Masters--1974
Progress Masters--1975
Property Demolition--1975
Property Demolition--1976
Public Accomodations--Correspondence
Public Accomodations Ordinance--Follow up
Radio Stations (Soul)--New Orleans--Image Change
Recommendations--Members Human Relations Committee
Rent Control--1975
Revenue Sharing
Social Security Hearing--November 1978
Student Interns--1976
Superdames (Pam Giles)
Tenants Organizations
Town Meeting--1976
United Way--1976
Urban Affairs Service--1976
Urban League--1976
Victims of Violent Crimes Committee
Visitors--State Department--1974-1975
Visitors--State Department--1976
Vocational Rehabilitation
Volunteers in Government of Responsibility--General
Volunteers in Government of Responsibility--1974-1975
Volunteers in Government of Responsibility--1976

Box 4

Addenda #1

Biographical data--Human Relations Committee Nominees
Correspondence--1968 Human Relations Committee Election
Mayor's Office--Human Relations Committee file, 1967-1969
Voting machine certificates, 1968 Human Relations Committee election

Addenda #2: Records received along with the Human Rights Office records of the Morial administration, May, 1986

Affirmative Action, 1977-1978
Black Panthers
January-March, 1977
April-June, 1977
October-December, 1977
New Orleans Fire Department--Minority Recruitment

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coded: November 1997
coded by: Wayne Everard
revised: Irene Wainwright 2/23/1999

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