This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.
|Size||6.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 1500 items)|
|Abstract||Raymond Wheeler of Charlotte, N.C., was an internist, civil rights activist, and advocate of better health care and nutrition for the poor, especially in the South. The collection contains chiefly material pertaining to the social justice activities in which Wheeler took part, from the mid-1950s to 1982. Letters, informational bulletins, clippings, and texts of speeches are among the items that document Wheeler's testimony on hunger and malnutrition in America before various Congressional committees and his involvement with such organizations as the Southern Regional Council, the National Sharecropper's Fund, the North Carolina Hunger Coalition, the North Carolina Civil Liberties Union, and the Charlotte Citizen Action Team. Aside from a few letters Wheeler wrote to his parents during World War II, there is very little of a personal nature in the collection.|
|Creator||Wheeler, Raymond, 1919-1982.|
|Curatorial Unit||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.|
The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.
Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.
Raymond Milner Wheeler was born on 30 September 1919, in Farmville, North Carolina. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1939, and his M.D. from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1943. After serving as a captain in the Army Medical Corps in World War II, Wheeler returned to North Carolina, entering private practice in internal medicine in Charlotte in 1948.
First married in 1942 to Mary Lou Browning, Wheeler was divorced in 1956. He married Julie Buckner Carr in 1958.
In 1956, Wheeler joined the Southern Regional Council, an organization that had grown out of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation. He served as chairman of its Executive Committee from 1964-1969, and as president from 1969 to 1974.
Wheeler was one of a team of six doctors who participated in a field study of health and living conditions of black children in two rural Mississippi counties in 1967. The team later testified before the U.S. Senate's Employment, Manpower, and Poverty Subcommittee, describing the severe cases of lack of health care, malnutrition, and near starvation that they had seen. Wheeler's testimony, which was among the most eloquent and the most frequently quoted in the national press, brought him both fan mail and hate mail (folder 38). Hungry Children, the report from that field study (folder 47), published by the SRC, was the basis for a 1968 documentary by CBS, Hunger in America.
Wheeler was also active in a number of Charlotte-based organizations, including the Charlotte Citizen Action Team, a group concerned with growth and development in Charlotte; and with the Charlotte Human Relations Council. As a physician, he worked vigorously for improved conditions in Charlotte Memorial Hospital, and for community health centers aimed specifically at meeting the needs of lower-income people.
His ongoing concern for the welfare of the rural poor also led Wheeler to investigate living conditions of migrant workers in camps in Florida and Texas during the late 1960s and mid-1970s. He served as president of the North Carolina Hunger Coalition from 1974 to 1979. He chaired the Executive Committee of the National Sharecropper's Fund from 1976 to 1978 and was its president from 1978 until his death on 17 February 1982.Back to Top
Most of the material in the Raymond Wheeler Papers pertains to the social justice activities in which Wheeler took part, from the mid-1950s to 1982. Letters, informational bulletins, clippings, and texts of speeches are among the items that document Wheeler's testimony on hunger in America before various Congressional committees and his involvement with such organizations as the Southern Regional Council, the National Sharecropper's Fund, the North Carolina Hunger Coalition, the North Carolina Civil Liberties Union, and the Charlotte Citizen Action Team. Aside from letters Wheeler wrote to his parents during World War II, there is very little of a personal nature in this collection.
The papers are arranged in four series: (1) General Subject Files; (2) Southern Regional Council; (3) National Sharecropper's Fund/Rural Advancement Fund; and (4) Pictures. The arrangement of the first series is consistent with Wheeler's own organization of his files, with some minor changes and additions to improve access. The series descriptions and folder lists which follow provide more detailed information.Back to Top
Arrangement: alphabetical by folder title; chronological within each folder.
Correspondence, clippings, pamphlets, essays, texts of speeches, and other materials relating chiefly to Wheeler's work as a physician and social activist. Of particular interest are those files which deal with Wheeler's testimony on hunger in America before different Congressional committees, and those pertaining to his work with the North Carolina Hunger Coalition.
Letters, memoranda, and other documents (mostly photocopies) assembled by Wheeler during his involvement with the SRC.
Mostly correspondence, minutes of meetings, and special reports by the NSF/RAF. Arrangement is similar to that used for Series 2.
Processed by: Laura K. O'Keefe, June 1984
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008Back to Top