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Max Wicker was head of Duke University's Baptist Student Union (BSU) in 1953. He was dismissed by the North Carolina Baptists’ General Board in 1954, along with state BSU director Jimmy Ray and UNC-Chapel Hill BSU secretary J.C. Herrin, after events surrounding the invitation of a controversial speaker, Christian theologian Nels Ferre, to the 1953 BSU Convention. Their termination followed a six-hour hearing before the Board. The student leaders’ dismissal made the pages of the April 12, 1954 TIME magazine. Joseph Mitchell graduated from Duke Divinity School in 1953, where he met Max Wicker. After his retirement, Mitchell began to research and write the account of his friend’s dismissal. This collection contains the materials he gathered in the course of his research, including biographical information about individuals involved in the controversy; correspondence related to Wicker’s BSU activities, his hearing and termination; Max Wicker’s public statement about his beliefs; other documents related to the activities of the BSU at Duke and elsewhere in the state; and news clippings that appeared in regional and national publications. The collection also contains appendices and drafts of Mitchell’s account, and his final bound paper, "The 1954 Firing of Max Wicker and Two Other North Carolina Student Directors, Jimmy Ray and J.C. Herrin" (2006).

The Joseph Mitchell Papers on Max Wicker include materials collected by Duke Divinity School alumnus Joseph Mitchell related to the 1954 dismissal of Mitchell’s friend Max Wicker from his position as head of Duke University’s Baptist Student Union (BSU) by the N.C. Baptists’ General Board. The collection is arranged into two series. Research Files contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, articles and memorabilia Mitchell collected in the course of researching an account he wrote about the dismissal of Wicker and two other BSU student directors, including biographical information about many of the individuals involved in the dismissal, and other documents related to the activities of the BSU at Duke and elsewhere in the state. The second series, Writings, contains Mitchell’s bound 2006 paper about the incident, as well as drafts, appendices and other items related to its composition.

Materials are largely textual. The collection also includes two black-and-white photographs, a Baptist Student Union pin, and two CDs containing Word Perfect files of Mitchell’s paper about the Baptist student directors’ dismissal.