Scope and Contents
The collection includes materials collected by Crusade for Voters historian William A. Thornton and William S. Thompson. The date range of the collection, from the early 1950s until 1995, spans the history of the organization. The bulk of the collection was donated in two large binders, the contents of which have been rehoused but maintained in their original order, organized roughly by the terms of Crusade presidents. The binders hold minutes, correspondence, historian's reports, newsletters, newspaper clippings, campaign flyers, financial reports, and similar materials, many of which are photocopies. In addition to the binders, the collection also holds a variety of loose material including correspondence, financial records, clippings and newsletters, flyers, awards, photographs, and reports as well as documents pertaining to the organization's history and voting in Richmond, Virginia. Much of this loose material is duplicated in the photocopied contents of the binders.
The Richmond Crusade for Voters was founded in 1956, and grew out of The Council to Save Public Schools, a Richmond organization formed to fight a January 1956 law which allowed cities in Virginia the option of closing public schools rather than integrating them. The three co-founders of the Crusade were Dr. William S. Thornton, Dr. William Ferguson Reid, and John M. Brooks. These three men founded the Richmond Crusade for Voters with the goal of "increasing effective black participation in Richmond's political process" (Nov-Dec 1988 edition of Richmond Surroundings). The Crusade's mission is "...to increase the voting strength of the population of the city of Richmond and to improve the moral, social, economic, educational and general welfare of our people" ("Richmond Free Press," January 1, 1994).