Women-In-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes, Inc., Durham Chapter records, 1968-1998 and undated

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Women-in-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes, Inc. Durham Chapter (Durham, N.C.)
Non-profit, inter-racial organization founded in Durham, N.C. in September 1968; Elna Spaulding was founder and first president. Collection comprises correspondence, by-laws, meeting agendas and minutes, budgets, articles of incorporation, as well as information about the organization's relationship to the Women In Action Foundation of Durham, N.C. Documents the organization's involvement in the Durham community on a variety of issues, including easing racial tensions; smoothing the way for court ordered school integration in 1970; providing for the recreational and cultural needs of disadvantaged youth; and establishing a clearinghouse to offer information and referral services to Durham citizens for a variety of social problems.
20.7 Linear Feet
9000 Items
Material in English
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

The records of Women-In-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes, Inc. (WIAPVC), an interracial community service non-profit organization based in Durham, North Carolina, span the years 1968 to 1998. Materials document the organization's history beginning with its foundation in 1968, and include correspondence, by-laws, meeting agendas and minutes, budgets, articles of incorporation, clippings, photographs, a scrapbook, awards, and other documentation of its activities and milestones. The records contain information about the organization's various projects and workshops, and its relationship with the Women In Action Foundation of Durham, N.C., Inc. Persons associated with the organization included business, political, and community leaders and activists, among them Ann Atwater, Mrs. William A. Clement, Mrs. James E. Davis, Dr. Juanita Kreps, Mrs. H.M. Michaux, Mrs. Kenneth C. Royall, Margaret Rose Sanford, Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans, and Mrs. Albert Whiting. There are also letters of support from Senators B. Everett Jordan and Sam Erwin.

The bulk of the early items in the Correspondence Series, dating from 1968 to 1969, reflects the tenacity and persistence on the part of Spaulding, the first president, in seeking money for the organization's activities. She sought funding from national and North Carolina foundations and local businesses. Among the contributors were the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, the Grant Foundation, and the City of Durham. Money was also raised by dues paid by its members, which became a point of controversy for the organization.

The Administrative Files include agendas and minutes for WIAPVC's general, board, executive, and advisory committees. Agendas and programs for general meetings indicate that the leaders in the organization attempted to maintain a balance between focusing on some aspect of the group itself (such as its by-laws and self-evaluation) and programs of community-wide importance. The advisory committee evolved from the steering committee and was made up of subcommittee chairs.

Folders in the Subcommittees Series generally contain correspondence, reports, and guidelines. Records show that the number of subcommittees waxed and waned depending on the need for them. Subcommittees for which records exist include Civic Improvement, Education, Human Relations, and Police-Community Relations. The subcommittees undertook outreach and programs that were significant to Durham's community.

The organization's outreach activities are also documented in the Conferences, Workshops, and Projects series. Conferences and workshops sponsored by the organization reflect the group's efforts to improve itself, support other organizations, and reach out to provide service to the community. In the same series, WIAPVC projects indicate the wide range of interests and responsibilities which the organization sought to undertake. Among those represented in the files are the Center for School Support; the Clearinghouse, which offered information and referral services to Durham citizens for a variety of concerns; Cornwallis Housing Project, which helped provide recreational needs for youth residing in the project; the Cultural Experience Pilot Project, which allowed for 37 Durham junior high school students from low income families to spend three days in Washington; the Durham Emergency Energy Committee, which helped provide fuel to needy families in the Durham community; and various intern projects, in which students from the Duke Divinity School Field Education Program participated.

The bulk of the processed collection consists of the early records of the WIAPVC. Later years (1980s-1990s) are represented in Accession 1996-0164 and Accession 2008-0104, which include financial activities, projects, administrative files, reports, event planning information, newsletters, and awards ceremonies.

Biographical / historical:
Date Event
1968, August 21
Appeal made through Durham, NC press for women in the community to form a coalition to work toward the prevention of violence and its causes at the local level.
1968, September 4
First meeting; Asa T. Spaulding gave the opening address.
1969, July
Incorporated; obtained tax exempt status.
1970, July
Opened Center for School Support to provide information to parents, students, and citizens about school desegregation arrangements in Durham.
1970, Autumn
Sponsored "coffees," a workshop, and an open house before the beginning of school to help smooth the way for desegregation in Durham schools.
1970, October
Opened Problem Clearinghouse, one of WIAPVC's most successful programs, which offered information and referral services to Durham citizens for such problems as unemployment, drug abuse, unwanted pregnancies, need for medical care, and consumer difficulties.
Received the George Washington Honor Medal Award for 1969 from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge in the category for community programs.
Received the Distinguished Service Award of the Kiwanis International by the Kiwanis Club of Tobaccoland.
Received the Carolinas Regional Citation from the National Conference of Christians and Jews.
1971, April 16-17
Hosted statewide workshop for women's organizations to share their experiences and successes.
1971, November
Co-sponsored Call for Action, a telephone referral service, to direct citizens to proper sources for help with consumer and other problems.
Named Citationist in the 1971 National Volunteer competition sponsored by the National Center for Voluntary Action.
Raleigh and Wilmington Chapters founded.
1972, April
Co-sponsored a Human Relations Workshop with the North Carolina Department of Instruction, Human Relations Division, for parents of Durham school children.
Sponsored first Durham drive to boycott military toys for children at Christmas.
circa 1972
Received award from the North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction for its service to the Durham community.
1973, February
Appealed to the Durham County Board of Commissioners for financial support.
1973, July
Women-In-Action Foundation of Durham, North Carolina, incorporated to receive funds for Women-In-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes, Inc., which did not have tax exempt status at that time.
1980, August
Women-In-Action Foundation of Durham, North Carolina, Inc. dissolved; Women-In-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes Inc. regained tax exempt status.
1988, September
Held 20th anniversary celebration.
Grace Marsh becomes Executive Director.
2007, January
Death of founder and first president Elna Spaulding.
Women In Action's Durham Mediation Center, established in 2005 and led by Grace Marsh, changed name to the Elna B. Spaulding Conflict Resolution Center in honor of Elna Spaulding.

The beginnings of the WIAPVC can be traced to July 1968, when Elna (Mrs. Asa T.) Spaulding was invited to attend a forum in New York City sponsored by the McCall Corporation in which women from all over the United States were asked to discuss the topic "What Women Can Do to End Violence in America." Upon her return, Mrs. Spaulding founded Women-In-Action for the Prevention of Violence and its Causes, which was organized as an inter-racial, non-profit community organization. At the time WIAPVC was formed, Durham was in the midst of a black buying boycott, which was an effort on the part of blacks in the city to exert pressure on merchants to focus upon needs which they believed had been unmet. The new group was credited with helping open communication between the Black Solidarity Committee, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Merchants Association during the boycott. The early history of the WIAPVC is best documented in the correspondence and administrative files series of this collection. As the organization grew, it involved itself in economic assistance, community improvements, education issues, referral services, addictions and rape counseling, prisoner rehabilitation, and race relations in general. The organization was still in existence as of 2010.

Acquisition information:
The Women-In-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes, Inc., Durham Chapter records were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a gift from Elna Spaulding in 1981, and as gifts from the WIAPVC in 1998 and 2008.
Processing information:

Processed by P. Jeannet, August 14, 1998

Encoded by Don Sechler, Meghan Lyon, 2010

Updated and prepared for digitization project by Jessica Carew and Paula Jeannet.

Accessions from 1981, 1996-0164, and 2008-0104 are described in this finding aid.


Arranged in the following series: Correspondence; Administrative Files; Financial Papers; Legal Papers; Writings and Speeches; Conferences, Workshops, and Projects; Subcommittees; Anniversaries; Other Organization and Committee Material; Awards; Clippings; Photographs; Women in Action Foundation of Durham, N.C., Inc. Records; Other WIAPVC Chapters (Raleigh, Wilmington); and Related Organizations and Programs.

Physical location:
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard


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The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. Digitized documents are made available by Duke University Libraries for the purpose of research, teaching, and private study. For all other uses, such as commercial uses, researchers must contact the Rubenstein Library to request permission.

Digitized materials from this collection are made available for use in research, teaching and private study. The digital reproductions have been made available through an evaluation of public domain status, permissions from the rights' holders, and authorization under the law including fair use as codified in 17 U.S.C. ยง 107. Although these materials are publicly accessible for these limited purposes, they may not all be in the public domain. Users are responsible for determining if permission for re-use is necessary and for obtaining such permission. Individuals who have concerns about online access to specific content should contact the Rubenstein Library.

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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Women-In-Action for the Prevention of Violence and Its Causes, Inc. Durham Chapter Records, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library