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Frederick W. Wells Papers, 1924.
Wells, Frederick W. (Frederick Wilson), 1896-1979.
- 82 items (2 folders)
The Frederick W. Wells Papers consist of letters, telegrams and newsclippings documenting a crossburning incident by the Ku Klux Klan as part of an effort by whitestudents to have Wells, an African American Columbia University School of Law student, removed from his on-campus dormitory. The collection dates from January through May of 1924 and consists primarily of 61 letters of support from organizations, friends and members of the public, both black and white. The letters came from supporters primarily in the United States, although the West Indies is also represented. Letter writers include: William M. Ashby, Executive Secretary of the New Jersey Urban League; J. B. Matthews, President of the WilberforceClub of Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and Rev. John W. Robinson of St. Mark's Methodist Episcopal Church in New York City; and Jedediah Tingle, philanthropist. A letter from the Dean of the Law School, Herbert E. Hawkes, reassured Wells' father, Charles W. Wells, that safety precautions were being taken to protect his son.
Frederick W. Wells was an attorney and housing specialist in New York City. He was born in Tennessee, attended Wilberforce University, then Yale Law School, and later was a senior at Columbia University Law School. In 1924 he was assigned a dormitory room in Furnald Hall at Columbia University. Initially, white students assumed hewas a janitor. When some white students from Kentucky associated with the Ku Klux Klan learned that Wells was a student, they circulated petitions for his removal from the dormitory. This was followed by death threats and a cross burning on the lawn outside Furnald Hall. Newspapers throughout the country headlined the story. The Dean of Columbia University's Law School, Herbert E. Hawkes supported Wells' residency on campus, as did many other Columbia University students.
Upon completion of his law studies, Wells worked as Industrial Secretary for the Urban League in California and directed his attention to housing for the disadvantaged and the African American poor. He later organized his own real estate managing and consulting firmin New York City. Working with city agencies, his effortswere instrumental in the building of Lenox Terrace and Delano Village in Harlem and the Carnes McKinney Apartments, a cooperative building in the Bronx.
Controlled Access Terms
- Wells, Frederick W. (Frederick Wilson), 1896-1979.
- Ku Klux Klan (1915- )
- Columbia University. School of Law.
- Race relations in school management -- New York (State) -- NewYork.
- Race discrimination -- New York (State) -- New York.
- African American college students -- New York (State) -- New York.
- African Americans -- Civil rights -- New York (State) -- New York.
Additional Creator Names
- Ashby, William M. (William Mobile), 1889-
- Matthews, J. B. (Joseph Brown), 1894-
- Robinson, John W.
- Tingle, Jedediah.
- Hawkes, Herbert E.
- Wells, Charles W.
- Schomburg NEH Automated Access to Special Collections Project.