1400 Washington AveAlbanyNY
1400 Washington AveAlbanyNY

Ralph F. Boyd, Sr. Papers

1943-1992

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Abstract

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.

Summary

Creator:
Boyd, Ralph Fredric
Date Coverage:
1943-1992
Quantity:
1.6 cubic ft.

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:

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

Collection record created by: This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on

Published: 2017-04-14 10:51:49 -0400

Encoded in EAD by Shaquana McCall, 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

BoxFolderContentsDate

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1 1Acknowledged Life Members of NAACP1965, 1970

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1 2AFL-CIO Central Labor Council Constitution and By-LawsUndated

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1 3Boyd's Appointment Calendar1971

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1 4Boyd's Personnel File - [RESTRICTED] 1979

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1 5Boyd's Work Documents1980, Undated

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1 6Census Awareness and Instructions1980

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1 7Dr. Martin Luther King Day Program1983

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1 8Electric City #259 I.B.P.O.E of W1977

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1 9 Electrical Union News 1949 February 25-1950 April 14, 1952 February 08-1954 June 17

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1 10Employee Disciplinary Letters (memos)- [RESTRICTED] 1978-1980, Undated

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1 11Fiscal Calendar1980

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1 12Forman's Schedule1978-1980

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1 13G.E-I.U.E Pension and Insurance Agreement/Local Supplemental Agreement1955-1956, 1973

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1 14General Correspondence (General Electric)1977-1978, 1980-1981

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1 15-16General Electric Employee Benefits1979

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1 17General Electric- Employee Relations Survey1981

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1 18-19General Electric- Forman's Working Handbook - Folder 19 [RESTRICTED] 1975-1976

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1 20General Electric- Highlights History 1878-19781978

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1 21-22General Electric- Production and Inventory Control Manual1981

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1 23General Electric Retirees- Pension Fund-Retirement Plans1992, Undated

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1 24-25General Electric- Shop Operations Manual1977, 1979-1980

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1 26-27General Electric Small Polish Methods and Changes1977, 1979-1981

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1 28Helen Quirini- Personal/Professional Correspondence- Newsletter Clippings1943-1980, Undated

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1 29-32Housing: Schenectady Slums, Shortage, Reform, Business1965, 1967-1975, Undated

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1 33Housing-Slums-Architecture-Real Tax1959-1960, 1966-1968, 1970, Undated

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2 1Human Rights- Schenectady County- New York State Division1981, Undated

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2 2Integrated/Segregated Education1968, 1970, 1972, Undated

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2 3 IUE-CIO News 1951 September 13

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2 4Local 301 Annual Report and Directory1944

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2 5 Local 301 News 1956 October 19-1956 November 30, 1967 May 05-1967 October 13, 1969 February 18-1980 May 13

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2 6Local 301- Union Election1980

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2 7NAACP Annual Convention1964, 1969-1970

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2 8NAACP Backgrounders (unemployment/social welfare)1967, Undated

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2 9NAACP Church Social Action SurveyUndated

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2 10NAACP Committees including Schenectady Executive Committee Members1967, Undated

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2 11NAACP Constitution and By-Laws for Branches1978

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2 12NAACP "Heroes of Emancipation"1964

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2 13NAACP Human Rights Unity Ball1971

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2 14NAACP-Internal Branch Voting /Office Holding1970

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2 15NAACP Labor Manual1968

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2 16NAACP Membership CampaignUndated

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2 17NAACP Military Veteran Affairs (newsletter)1971

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2 18NAACP Newsletters (Schenectady and Albany Chapters)1967, 1970

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2 19NAACP- N.Y State and Local Voting/Representation1970

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3 1NAACP Pamphlets/Brochures1963, 1968-1970, Undated

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3 2NAACP Public Relations-Media Coverage-Political ActionUndated

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3 3NAACP ResolutionsUndated

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3 4NAACP Schenectady Branch Financial Statement1982

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3 5NAACP Schenectady Branch Letterhead/Branch President R. Boyd Response Letter1967, Undated

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3 6National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing (NCDH) "Trends In Housing" Newsletter1981

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3 7National NAACP Housing Department Committee1968-1969, Undated

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3 8New York State Conference of NAACP Branches1982

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3 9Phillippe Award (newsletters)1978

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3 10Power of Women- General Electric UnionUndated

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3 11Schenectady Branch NAACP President's Death- Boyd's Personal Notes/Obituary1971, Undated

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3 12Schenectady City Planning Commission (newsletters)1967

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3 13Schenectady NAACP Event and Service Programs/Agendas-1971, 1975, 1981-1982

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3 14Turbine Department/Schenectady Utilities Union Relations Advices1969, Undated

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3 15 U.E 201 News 1953 October 29-1953 December 09