Series 15
Southern Christian Leadership Foundation records, 1962-2001
Boxes 757 - 783; OBV168 - 191

Historical Note

The Southern Christian Leadership Foundation (SCLF) was a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization founded in 1966 to raise money on behalf of SCLC and was originally called the Martin Luther King, Jr. Foundation. The organization often acted as an organ for funding the activities of SCLC, including everyday operating expenses and special programs such as the Crusade for Citizenship and the Ministers Leadership Training Program. SCLF also provided grants to other organizations.

In 1968, the SCLF, Southern Rural Action, Inc., and the citizens of Crawfordville, Georgia, received a Community Action Program (CAP) grant from the Office of Economic Opportunity to start a textile manufacturing project. Crawfordville Enterprises' aim was to create a black-owned and operated sewing plant, and provide community outreach and assistance to the poor African American population in Crawfordville. The Foundation assumed primary responsibility for the administration of funds from the grant, though were not always involved in daily management of the business.

Chauncey Eskridge was the Foundation's first Director, a position he held until the mid-1980s. He was succeeded by his long-time assistant Betty Brooks.

Scope and Content Note

The series consists of the records of the Southern Christian Leadership Foundation from 1962-2001, including correspondence, the records of Crawfordville Enterprises, financial records, documents detailing grants to SCLC to cover operating expenses, grants to fund projects undertaken by individuals and organizations, and other ventures SCLF involved itself in, including the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Freedom Games.

The records of the Southern Christian Leadership Foundation provide a comprehensive view of the activities of the organization. The documents primarily cover the period from 1966-1990s, when the Foundation was most active, administering grants to individuals, organizations, and SCLC, as well as overseeing and operating textile business ventures such as Crawfordville Enterprises. The records in this series document the actions of Chauncey Eskridge, the Foundation's Director, a position he held from the inception of SCLF in 1966 until the mid-1980s, when operational responsibilities were taken over by Betty Brooks, the Foundation's long-time administrative assistant and aide to Eskridge. Eskridge also served as SCLC's legal counsel for many years. For these records, see Series 16: Legal records.

Arrangement Note

Organized into five subseries: (15.1) Southern Christian Leadership Foundation correspondence, (15.2) Crawfordville Enterprises records, (15.3) Southern Christian Leadership Foundation financial records, (15.4) Southern Christian Leadership Foundation grant records, and (15.5) Southern Christian Leadership Foundation other project records.

Restrictions on Access

Special restrictions apply: Ledgers are stored off-site. Researchers must contact the Rose Library in advance to access these items.

Subseries 15.3: Financial records are closed to researchers for 25 years from the date of their creation. In cases where ledgers contain records for multiple years, they are closed for 25 years from the date of the latest record.

Payroll records of SCLF are closed to researchers until 2066.

Description of Subseries