1400 Washington AveAlbanyNY
1400 Washington AveAlbanyNY

Ralph F. Boyd, Sr. Papers


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The Ralph Boyd, Sr. Papers contain personal and professional correspondence, news clippings, work manuals and agendas that document his career as a General Electric employee, community activist and member of the Schenectady branch of the NAACP.


Boyd, Ralph Fredric
Date Coverage:
1.6 cubic ft. (about 1.6 boxes)

Ralph F. Boyd, Sr. is a lifelong social justice advocate well known for his commitment to civil rights, equality, civil service and local community activism within Schenectady, New York. Born in 1919 in Norfolk, V.A, and raised in Baltimore M.D, Boyd grew up in the segregated south during a time when discrimination and racism plagued many northern and southern communities. Although there were occasional hardships, the support and importance of family, along with the community of church, acted as Boyd’s savior. He credits both components for instilling strong moral values within him.

Upon graduating from Frederick Douglass High School, Boyd continued his education by attending Morgan College, now Morgan State University, in Baltimore. He was able to complete two years before World War II disrupted his college life. While serving in the U.S. Army, he was part of the all black (segregated) 366 Infantry Regiment that would later go on to be recognized and honored for its performance during the war.

Despite the fact that Boyd, and many other African-Americans, were willing to fight in the war for the cause of democracy and protection of their country, the reception these skilled veterans received upon returning home was not a welcoming one. Boyd returned home, realized that nothing had changed and was concerned.

Discontented with the status quo of society, following the war efforts abroad, Boyd decided that he would work to effect change. His first target would be the General Electric Co., a company which previously denied him employment when he first inquired about a job soon after the war. Boyd was told that he didn’t have the training to fulfill a position within the company in spite of his skilled experience in the U.S. Army. General Electric eventually began to hire African-Americans in 1948, including Boyd, but this would not be the end of the trouble that Boyd would endure, nor would it be the end of other problems that he noticed. Not only were African-Americans being treated unfairly, women were being treated unequally as well. Boyd began to defend his female co-workers who were not being paid the same as the men. Despite the obstacles placed forth, Boyd remained within General Electric. He would eventually become a prominent spokesperson and leader for the International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and Furniture Workers (IUE) Local 301 union as well as the foreman in the Turbine-Generator Department. He continued working for General Electric for 34 years, up until his retirement in 1982.

In addition to campaigning for change within General Electric, Ralph Boyd also worked within the local community of Schenectady to advocate change for the social, political and economic conditions for African-Americans. Noted for his local community activism, he was elected as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1968. Possessing both the passion and eagerness to see everybody within society treated equally, alongside his interest in community activities, Boyd, in company with friends and colleagues, established and developed the Schenectady chapter of the NAACP in 1950. Serving as the chapter’s president for several terms, in addition to undertaking the responsibility of each post within the organization during his years of involvement, Boyd promoted and supported initiatives for reform change in areas surrounding the housing “slums” within Schenectady. These initiatives include, but were not limited to, acquiring affordable housing for low income groups and improving the conditions within the slums to make the surroundings acceptable for proper living. In addition to his focus on housing, Boyd also campaigned for equality within education and was instrumental in the establishment of the Baptist Retirement Center in 1977. The Baptist Retirement Center, which is located in Scotia, New York, provides activities and medical care for seniors and is the result of Boyd’s desire to see a nursing home within the local community that would facilitate care for those elderly in need.

As a social justice advocate, Ralph Boyd’s work within the Schenectady community is both acknowledged and highly praised. He has won numerous awards, one which identified him as a Schenectady Patroon in 2008, an award that is the city’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize. General Electric named him a winner of the Gerald L. Phillippe Award for Distinguished Public Service in 1978.

The information provided above was gleaned from the following sources, in addition to those found in the Ralph F. Boyd Sr. Papers themselves:

"Ralph Boyd devotes life to giving to commmunity," The Daily Gazette, 25 September 2005, sec.H, H1-2
"Ralph Boyd Sr. is Schenectady's latest Patroon," The Daily Gazette, 11 November 2008, http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2008/nov/11/1111BOYD/. (Accessed via web on 22 February 2012)

The Ralph Boyd, Sr. Papers document his social activism as member of the Schenectady branch of the NAACP and his professional work as an employee of the General Electric Co. in Schenectady, New York. The collection is comprised of General Electric manuals and Boyd’s personal work papers created during his time as a foreman in addition to news clippings and supplementary materials from the International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and Furniture Workers (IUE) Local 301. Furthermore, the collection contains materials and news clippings related to his work with the Schenectady branch of the NAACP, initiatives for low-income housing reform, and personal and professional correspondence.

The collection is organized alphabetically. There are no series.

Ralph F. Boyd, Sr. donated his papers to the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections in 1993.

Processed by: Shaquana McCall in 2012.

Collection record created by: Shaquana McCall

Published: 2012

Archival materials can be view in-person during business hours in our reading room, located on the top floor of the Science Library on the Uptown Campus.

We can also deliver digital scans for remote research for a fee.

Access to this record group is unrestricted with the exception of a small number of folders noted on the inventory below.

Copyright Statement

The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Ralph F. Boyd, Sr. Papers, 1943-1992. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the Boyd Papers).

Contents of Collection



11Acknowledged Life Members of NAACP1965, 1970


12AFL-CIO Central Labor Council Constitution and By-LawsUndated


13Boyd's Appointment Calendar1971


14Boyd's Personnel File - [RESTRICTED] 1979

Must consult archivist before viewing this material.


15Boyd's Work Documents1980, Undated


16Census Awareness and Instructions1980


17Dr. Martin Luther King Day Program1983


18Electric City #259 I.B.P.O.E of W1977


19 Electrical Union News 1949 February 25-1950 April 14, 1952 February 08-1954 June 17


110Employee Disciplinary Letters (memos)- [RESTRICTED] 1978-1980, Undated

Must consult archivist before viewing this material.


111Fiscal Calendar1980


112Forman's Schedule1978-1980


113G.E-I.U.E Pension and Insurance Agreement/Local Supplemental Agreement1955-1956, 1973


114General Correspondence (General Electric)1977-1978, 1980-1981


115-16General Electric Employee Benefits1979


117General Electric- Employee Relations Survey1981


118-19General Electric- Forman's Working Handbook - Folder 19 [RESTRICTED] 1975-1976

Must consult archivist before viewing this material.


120General Electric- Highlights History 1878-19781978


121-22General Electric- Production and Inventory Control Manual1981


123General Electric Retirees- Pension Fund-Retirement Plans1992, Undated


124-25General Electric- Shop Operations Manual1977, 1979-1980


126-27General Electric Small Polish Methods and Changes1977, 1979-1981


128Helen Quirini- Personal/Professional Correspondence- Newsletter Clippings1943-1980, Undated


129-32Housing: Schenectady Slums, Shortage, Reform, Business1965, 1967-1975, Undated


133Housing-Slums-Architecture-Real Tax1959-1960, 1966-1968, 1970, Undated


21Human Rights- Schenectady County- New York State Division1981, Undated


22Integrated/Segregated Education1968, 1970, 1972, Undated


23 IUE-CIO News 1951 September 13


24Local 301 Annual Report and Directory1944


25 Local 301 News 1956 October 19-1956 November 30, 1967 May 05-1967 October 13, 1969 February 18-1980 May 13


26Local 301- Union Election1980


27NAACP Annual Convention1964, 1969-1970


28NAACP Backgrounders (unemployment/social welfare)1967, Undated


29NAACP Church Social Action SurveyUndated


210NAACP Committees including Schenectady Executive Committee Members1967, Undated


211NAACP Constitution and By-Laws for Branches1978


212NAACP "Heroes of Emancipation"1964


213NAACP Human Rights Unity Ball1971


214NAACP-Internal Branch Voting /Office Holding1970


215NAACP Labor Manual1968


216NAACP Membership CampaignUndated


217NAACP Military Veteran Affairs (newsletter)1971


218NAACP Newsletters (Schenectady and Albany Chapters)1967, 1970


219NAACP- N.Y State and Local Voting/Representation1970


31NAACP Pamphlets/Brochures1963, 1968-1970, Undated


32NAACP Public Relations-Media Coverage-Political ActionUndated


33NAACP ResolutionsUndated


34NAACP Schenectady Branch Financial Statement1982


35NAACP Schenectady Branch Letterhead/Branch President R. Boyd Response Letter1967, Undated


36National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing (NCDH) "Trends In Housing" Newsletter1981


37National NAACP Housing Department Committee1968-1969, Undated


38New York State Conference of NAACP Branches1982


39Phillippe Award (newsletters)1978


310Power of Women- General Electric UnionUndated


311Schenectady Branch NAACP President's Death- Boyd's Personal Notes/Obituary1971, Undated


312Schenectady City Planning Commission (newsletters)1967


313Schenectady NAACP Event and Service Programs/Agendas-1971, 1975, 1981-1982


314Turbine Department/Schenectady Utilities Union Relations Advices1969, Undated


315 U.E 201 News 1953 October 29-1953 December 09