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Black Affairs Council FOCUS On


This collection consists of records of and related to the activities of the UUA's Black Unitarian Universalist Caucus, (BUUC)/Black Affairs Council (BAC), Full Recognition and Funding of BAC (FULLBAC), and the Black and White Alternative (BAWA) with emphasis on the Black Empowerment Controversy. Materials date from 1961-1983 and include correspondence, printed announcements, newsletters, organizational administrative and financial documentation, by-laws, periodicals and published material, some sermons and audio cassettes.

The materials that comprise this collection were curated by Rev. Dr. Mark Morrison-Reed over the course of 38 years of research - initiated based on the possibility of focusing his doctor of ministry thesis on the Controversy. Some materials were sourced from Morrison-Reed’s mother Selina E. Reed’s personal files who was in attendance at the Emergency Conference of the UUA in 1967 and was involved in organizing the first Black Unitarian Universalist Caucus conference held in Chicago in 1968. Records regarding the Black and White Alternative (BAWA) are incorporated from Meadville Lombard Theological School Archives' Calla Burhoe Collection. Records on the Black Affairs Council (BAC) and Black Unitarian Universalist Caucus (BUUC) are incorporated from the Archives' Samuel E. Beecher Jr. Collection.


Historical Note

Several groups and associations were formed within the UUA in the mid-1960s during the era of the black empowerment controversy. In 1967 in the wake of riots and racial unrest, the UUA's Committee on Religion and Race and Department of Social Responsibility, headed by Director Homer Jack, convened the "Emergency Conference on Unitarian Universalist Response to the Black Rebellion." Early in the conference, 30 of the African American participants gathered at the invitation of members of Black Unitarian Universalists for Radical Reform (BURR), and this combined group became the Black Unitarian Universalist Caucus (BUUC). They drafted a list of "non-negotiable demands" of the UUA, including the establishment of a Black Affairs Council (BAC), funding for said group at $250,000 per year for four years, the granting of sole authority over those funds, and that BUUC members would be elected to the BAC. The proposal was rejected in favor of a resolution to reorganize the Commission on Religion and Race. The Black Affairs Council was established later at the National Conference of Black Unitarian Universalists in Chicago, 1968. As funding from the UUA was a prime point of contention, a new organization was formed in April of 1968 for the Full Recognition and Funding of BAC (FULLBAC). The following month, in response to BAC and FULLBAC, groups of white allies began gathering and a group of Black and white Unitarian Universalists formed a pro-integration group, Black and White Alternative, which later became Black and White Action (BAWA).


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Series I Samuel E. Beecher Jr. includes materials from his involvement as general counsel and other records of BAC, BUUC, and FULLBAC, as well as the Midwest Unitarian Universalist Conference and Midwest Unitarian Universalist Foundation. It consists of correspondence, newsletters, financial and administrative documentation, and meeting minutes. Of interest are publications of the activist organization National Welfare Rights Organization.


Series II Calla Burhoe includes materials she collected related to BAWA. It consists primarily of newsletters and administrative records.


Series III Mark Morrison-Reed Black Empowerment Research includes materials collected as research for his doctoral dissertation. It consists of correspondence, sermons, UU periodicals, and three audio cassettes.


Series IV Selina E. Reed includes materials she collected from the 1968 meeting of the Black Caucus in Chicago and from the Emergency Conference of the UUA in 1967. It consists of minutes, correspondence, and published material.



African American Unitarian Universalists -- United States

Black power -- United States

Race awareness

Religious disputations

Religious institutions


Finding Aid

Black Empowerment Controversy Collection


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