A comprehensive collection of personal and professional documents belonging to the Reverend Addie Wyatt and her husband, the late Reverend Claude Wyatt of the Vernon Park Church of God are now available to the public for research and reference at the Chicago Public Library.
Mayor Richard M. Daley and Chicago Public Library Commissioner Mary Dempsey announced the City of Chicago’s acquisition of the historical documents today at a press conference at the Harold Washington Library, 400 South State Street.
“I am proud to be here today to honor the lives and accomplishments of two esteemed Chicagoans, the Reverend Addie Wyatt and her late husband the Reverend Claude Wyatt of the Vernon Park Church of God. Both Claude and Addie Wyatt were devoted to increasing the quality of life of all Chicagoans specifically members of the African American community,” said Mayor Daley.
The Reverend Addie Wyatt and Reverend Claude Wyatt Papers note the important aspects of African American life in Chicago, the nation and worldwide during the turbulent decades ranging from the 1940s to the 1990s.
The collection also identifies the progress of several mid-20th century civic, social and labor movements contending for racial, gender, economic and political justice.
“Their commitment has established a positive legacy for civil rights, worker’s rights and women’s rights that has transcended race, gender, income and educational levels and has made our city, our country and our world a better place to live,” added the Mayor.
Reverend Addie Wyatt donated the papers to the Chicago Public Library’s Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of African American history after she wrote to Mayor Richard M. Daley requesting assistance with the processing and placement of her extensive and historically significant collection.
The Chicago Public Library in cooperation with the “Mapping The Stacks” program from the University of Chicago’s English and History Department and the University of Chicago Library assessed and categorized the documents made available for visitors to the library.
“I would like to thank the staff and students from the “Mapping the Stacks” program at the University of Chicago along with the supporting members of Harsh Collection staff for their diligence and hard work in putting this collection together. The Reverend Addie Wyatt and Reverend Claude Wyatt Papersare now the largest single archival collection at Vivian G. Harsh collection of African American History,” said Chicago Public Library Commissioner, Mary A. Dempsey.
The massive collection consists of 345 containers of rich documents, manuscripts and audiovisual materials, including sermon texts and records of the Vernon Park Church of God, Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), National Organization for Women (NOW), Operation Breadbasket, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Operation PUSH, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA), the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), and the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen, and much, much more.
The Chicago Public Library continues to encourage lifelong learning by welcoming and offering all visitors equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through materials, programs and cutting-edge technology.
TheChicago Public Library is comprised of the Harold Washington Library Center, two regional libraries and more than 70 neighborhood branches. All locations provide free access to a rich collection of books, DVDs, audio books and music; the Internet and WiFi; sophisticated research databases, many of which can be accessed from a home or office computer; newspapers and magazines; and continue to serve as cultural centers, presenting the highest quality author discussions, exhibits and programs for children, teens and adults.
The Harold Washington Library Center, Carter G. Woodson Regional Library and Conrad Sulzer Regional Library are open 7 days a week, the branch libraries are open 6 days a week and patrons can access all of the Library’s collections online 24 hours a day. For more information, please visit the website at chicagopubliclibrary.org or call the Chicago Public Library Press Office at