American Civil Liberties Union of Washtenaw County Records: 1961-2000
Summary Information
Title: American Civil Liberties Union of Washtenaw County Records
Creator: American Civil Liberties Union of Washtenaw County.
Inclusive dates: 1961-2000
Extent: 3.3 linear feet
Abstract:
Washtenaw County, Michigan branch of the American Civil Liberties Union; correspondence, minutes of meetings, and subject files.
Call number: 85594; Bj 2
Language: The materials are in English.
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid prepared by: Cristine Paschild

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

This record group was donated by the American Civil Liberties Union of Washtenaw County (donor no. 9048) in 2000. Portions of the earlier files were donated by individual members of the branch (donor nos. 4353, 4666, 9009)

Access Restrictions:

The record group is open to research except for membership lists (in box 4) which require permission of the local ACLU board.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.

Copyright:

Donor(s) have transferred any applicable copyright to the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright was not transferred. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

item, folder title, box no., American Civil Liberties Union of Washtenaw County Records, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


History

Founded in 1920, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a national organization dedicated to defending individual rights and liberties as set forth in the United States Constitution and its amendments. In this mission, the ACLU has involved itself in a wide variety of legal cases involving issues such as free speech, equal protection under the law, religious liberties, privacy, due process, and voting and reproductive rights. The ACLU is headed by a national board of directors with headquarters in New York City. In the late 1990s, membership was estimated at about 275,000.

National ACLU records note the existence of several local ACLU branches in Michigan as early as 1929. In 1960, the Lansing and Metropolitan Detroit ACLU branches merged and became the ACLU of Michigan. Though technically a state affiliate of the national ACLU, the ACLU of Michigan has considerable independence in management, budget, policy-making, and other internal matters. Organizationally, the ACLU of Michigan is made up of "ACLU" and "ACLU Fund." These two halves exist primarily for budget and tax purposes and State Board members oversee both. The "ACLU Fund" is a non-profit and tax-deductible foundation responsible for public education, the newsletter, and the legal program. The legislative program, management of the state office, and new member recruitment is the responsibility of the "ACLU," which is a Michigan nonprofit organization.

Similar to the mostly independent management of the state level affiliate, each local branch of the ACLU of Michigan conducts its own internal affairs, raises its own funds, stages its own elections, and adopts its own by-laws (though by-laws must be consistent with those of the state affiliate.) Currently, local branches of the ACLU of Michigan include Central Michigan, the Greater Flint Area, the Lansing Area, Metro Detroit, Northwestern Michigan, Oakland County, Southwestern Michigan, Washtenaw County, and Western Michigan.

The Ann Arbor-Washtenaw County Branch of the American Civil Liberties Union was founded in Ann Arbor in 1961. At that time, approximately 300 people from the Ann Arbor area were ACLU members. On October 25, 1961, the branch was organized and a temporary steering committee was chosen. By-laws were adopted on November 20, 1961 and the organization was granted branch status by the ACLU of Michigan State Executive Board on November 26, 1961. Lawrence W. Prakken was elected chairperson of the first executive board. Following Prakken, members of the board of directors have included, among others, local attorneys Jean Ledwith King, Pauline Rothmeyer, and Larry Sperling, University of Michigan natural resources professor Bunyan Bryant, University of Michigan medical school professor Ronald Bishop, former Detroit News cartoonist Art Poinier, University of Michigan journalism professor Wesley Maurer, former Ann Arbor city council Nicholas Kazarinoff, and University of Michigan School of Public Health professor Eugene Feingold.

In 1977, the name of the organization was changed to the American Civil Liberties Union of Washtenaw County. In 1982, local branch membership was estimated at 1,200. Since its inception, the Washtenaw County Branch has been involved in a variety of local issues, including censorship in public schools and libraries; targeted traffic stops by Ann Arbor police, proposed city ordinances on graffiti, panhandling, and curfews; and age and sex discrimination claims. Among these are several cases involving the University of Michigan community, including the University's passing of a student code of conduct and the dismantling of an art exhibit on campus during a conference sponsored by the University's Law School.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The American Civil Liberties Union of Washtenaw County records include minutes, correspondence, newsletters, reports, mailings, and clippings, among other miscellaneous materials. In addition to the Washtenaw branch records, there are also materials from the Michigan state affiliate, the ACLU of Michigan, as well as limited materials from some other local branches and a small amount of material from the national level of the ACLU. The records of this collection are divided into four series: Washtenaw County Branch; ACLU of Michigan; Other Local Branches; and National.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.


  • Ann Arbor (Mich.)
  • Civil rights -- Michigan.
  • Education -- Michigan.
  • Police-community relations -- Michigan.
  • Washtenaw County (Mich.)
  • American Civil Liberties Union of Washtenaw County.
  • Michigan. Constitutional Convention (1961-1962)
  • American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
 
Washtenaw County Branch [series]

The Washtenaw County Branch series is divided into two subseries, Administrative and Topical.

 
Administrative [subseries]

The Administrative subseries consists of materials related to the organization, governance and management of the Branch, including minutes from executive board meetings, correspondence, by-laws, policy and position statements. Correspondence is split into External and Internal categories. External consists of correspondence to and from individuals and organizations outside of the local branch while Internal consists of correspondence among members of the Washtenaw County Branch, including executive board memos.

Box   1  
Budget and Treasurer Reports 1982-1985, 1991
Box   1  
By-Laws 1961-1982, undated
Box   1  
Clippings 1962-1987, undated
 
Committees
Box   1  
ACLU Committee on Lesbian Women and Gay Men 1981-1983
Box   1  
Equal Rights Committee 1961-1963, undated
Box   1  
Other Committees 1962-1963, undated
 
Correspondence
 
External
Box   1  
1959-1962
Box   1  
1963
Box   1  
1964
Box   1  
1965-1969
Box   1  
1970-1979
Box   1  
1980-1989
Box   1  
1990-1993
Box   1  
1994-1999
 
Internal
Box   1  
1963-1966
Box   1  
1971-1975
Box   1  
1980-1989
Box   1  
1990-1993
Box   1  
1994-1999
Box   1  
Elections, Officers, and Boardmembers 1971-1998
Box   4  
Executive Board Roster 1965-1998 [Restricted]
Box   1  
Fliers and Postings 1984-1985, undated
Box   1  
Jerome Strong Award 1996-1998
Box   1  
Mediation Committee Recommendations 1992
Box   1  
Membership Drive 1966
Box   4  
Membership Lists 1961-1971, undated [Restricted]
 
Minutes
Box   1  
1961-1963
Box   1  
1964-1965
Box   1  
1966-1969
Box   1  
1970-1974
Box   1  
1975
Box   1  
1976
Box   1  
1977
Box   1  
1978
Box   1  
1979
Box   1  
1980
Box   1  
1981-1982
Box   1  
1983-1984
Box   1  
1985-1987
Box   2  
1988-1989
Box   2  
1990-1992
Box   2  
1993-1995
Box   2  
1996-1999
Box   2  
Newsletters 1962-1999
Box   2  
Policy and Position Statements 1962-1987
Box   2  
Press Releases 1964-1965
Box   2  
Reports 1961-1993
 
Topical [subseries]

The Topical subseries consists of files on cases and issues in which the Washtenaw County Branch of the ACLU was either interested or involved. These are organized alphabetically either by subject or individual case name. Of note are materials on the University of Michigan Student Code and the Ann Arbor Public Library's "behavior guidelines." There is also a file of materials on the surveillance practices of the Michigan State Police's "Red Squad," including a copy of the "subversion" file kept by the State Police on the Washtenaw County Branch during the 1960s. Researchers interested in cases listed under the Topical subseries are advised to also consult the Branch's minutes and correspondence under the Administrative subseries for additional information.

Box   2  
Ann Arbor Juvenile Curfew Ordinance 1996
Box   2  
Ann Arbor Public Library 1984-1985
Box   2  
Ann Arbor Public Schools, Alcohol Misuse Prevention Study 1991
Box   2  
Ann Arbor Transit Authority Manual 1980
Box   2  
Cowley, Anne 1972-1973
Box   2  
Dexter Community Schools 1962
Box   2  
Hardin, Patrice/Lurie Terrace 1979-1980
Box   2  
Huron High School, "Independent Emery," 1992
Box   2  
King, Jean Ledwith 1987-1989, undated
Box   2  
Lincoln Consolidated School District undated
Box   2  
Michigan Child Protection Law 1977
Box   2  
Michigan High School Athletic Association 1973
Box   2  
Michigan Mental Health Code 1980
Box   2  
"Red Squad," 1961-1982
Box   2  
Straight, Inc. 1983-1985
Box   2  
University of Michigan Law School, "Porn'im'age'ry" exhibit 1993
Box   2  
University of Michigan Student Code 1984-1989
Box   2  
Washtenaw County Abortion Rights Coalition 1979-1980
Box   2  
Miscellaneous 1961-1987
 
ACLU of Michigan [series]

The ACLU of Michigan series consists of materials from the Michigan state affiliate of the ACLU including minutes from state board meetings, correspondence, by-laws, newsletters, policy and position statements, and materials on budget and membership. Materials from the "ACLU" and the "ACLU Fund" components of the ACLU of Michigan are interfiled.

 
Budget and Membership
Box   2  
1964-1971
Box   2  
1978
Box   2  
1980-1989
Box   2  
1990-1996
Box   2  
By-Laws 1960s, 1987, undated
Box   2  
Clippings 1980-1989, undated
 
Correspondence
Box   2  
1963-1979
Box   2  
1980-1983
Box   3  
1984-1986
Box   3  
1987-1989
Box   3  
1990-1993
Box   3  
1994
Box   3  
1995-1996, undated
Box   4  
Directories 1987-1997 [Restricted]
Box   3  
Election, State Board 1986, undated
Box   3  
Fliers and Postings 1967-1992
Box   3  
Legal Dockets 1978, 1990
 
Minutes
Box   3  
1961-1969
Box   3  
1970-1971
Box   3  
1978-1979
Box   3  
1980-1982
Box   3  
1983-1984
Box   3  
1985-1986
Box   3  
1987-1989
Box   3  
1990-1992
Box   3  
1993-1994
Box   3  
1995-1999
Box   3  
New Board Member Orientation 1993
 
Newsletters
Box   3  
1962-1970
Box   3  
1978-1985
Box   3  
1991-2000
Box   3  
Planning 1967-1994
Box   3  
Policy and Position Statements 1966-1991
Box   3  
Policy Guide Revisions 1993-1996
Box   3  
Press Releases 1993-1994
Box   3  
Reports 1978-1996
Box   3  
Rosters 1978, undated
Box   3  
Self-Assessment 1984, 1986, 1990-1991
Box   3  
Women's Rights Committee 1990-1994
Box   3  
Miscellaneous 1978-1994
 
Other Local Branches [series]

The Other Local Branches series is divided into two subseries, the Oakland County Branch and Miscellaneous Branches and Chapters. Miscellaneous Branches and Chapters consists of limited materials from the Lansing Area, the Northwestern Michigan, the Greater Flint, the Metro Detroit, the Saginaw Valley, and the Kalamazoo Area branches and chapters.

Box   3  
Oakland County Branch 1982-1994
Box   3  
Miscellaneous. Branches and Chapters 1971-1993
 
National [series]

The National subseries consists solely of materials from the National Biennial Conference of the ACLU held in Ann Arbor in 1963.

Box   3  
Biennial Conference of the ACLU, Ann Arbor 1968