George H. Esser papers, 1949-2007.

Creator: Esser, George H.
Collection number: 4887
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Abstract: George Hyndman Esser Jr. was born in Norton, Va., in 1922. Esser was a life-long civil rights advocate and crusader against poverty who led the North Carolina Fund under Governor Terry Sanford in the 1960s. He was also a professor of public law and government at the Institute of Government, University of North Carolina, 1948-1963; executive director of the North Carolina Fund, 1963-1969; program officer for the South for the Ford Foundation; 1969-1972; and executive director of the Southern Regional Council, 1972-1976. He died in Chapel Hill, N.C., in 2006. The collection includes correspondence, proposals, reports, speeches, minutes of meetings, articles, clippings, and other materials relating to George Esser’s work with the Eastern North Carolina area of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (ENC-LISC); the Ford Foundation; the Southern Regional Council; the North Carolina Fund; the Episcopal Church, especially the Chapel of the Cross in Chapel Hill; the North Carolina Indian Cultural Center; Joint Orange-Chatham Community Action, Inc. (JOCCA); the North Carolina Community Development Initiative; the National Academy of Public Administration; the Institute of Government at the University of North Carolina; and other organizations. In addition to information about the organizations themselves, there is much information about the South, community development, rural development, poverty, race relations, and the work of foundations. Also included are files on activities of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation in other states and files of MDC, Inc., which was originally established in 1968 as the North Carolina Manpower Development Corporation and changed its name to MDC, Inc. in the mid-1970s when it became a national organization. Other materials in the collection include family correspondence and related items; materials relating to the life and work of George Esser’s wife, Mary Irene Strother Parker Esser; materials relating to George Esser’s education at the Virginia Military Institute and Harvard Law School, including a diary, 1946-1948; and materials relating to George Esser’s involvement in World War II and the 89th Chemical Mortar Battalion.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: There are several items relating to race relations and economic conditions. Box 16 contains information relating to the North Carolina Fund and the Race Relations Information Center. Box 23 and 24 contains information about school desegregation and employment among African Americans in the south.