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John B. Morris Papers

John B. Morris Papers

Descriptive Summary

Title: John B. Morris Papers
Creator: Morris, John B., 1930-
Inclusive Dates: 1964-1972
Language(s): English
Extent: 9 box(es) (3.5 linear feet)
Collection Number: RBRL126JBM
Repository: Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Abstract: These papers consist of correspondence, newspaper articles, newsletters, pamphlets, memoranda, briefs, and card files related to Reverend John B. Morris' involvement in Write-In Georgia (1966 gubernatorial campaign to write-in Ellis Arnall as a candidate), the Georgia Democratic Party Forum, Georgia Convention of Loyal Democrats, the Democratic National Convention (1968), and the Georgia Democratic Party.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Reverend John B. Morris was born in Brunswick, Georgia on February 10, 1930. He attended the public schools in Brunswick . In 1947, Morris enrolled in classes at Columbia University in New York , New York. He graduated from Columbia University in 1951. From 1951 to 1954, he attended the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia where he earned a Bachelor's of Divinity degree in 1954. He became an ordained deacon at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York , New York in June 1954 and an ordained priest at St. Barnabas Church in Dillon, South Carolina in March 1955.

Reverend Morris was the deacon and minister-in-charge of St. Barnabas Church from 1954 to 1958. During the latter part of 1958, he served as the priest-in-charge of the newly formed St. Luke's Mission in Latta, South Carolina. Reverend Morris along with four other white clergymen formed a group called Concerned South Carolinians. Motivated by both their religious beliefs and their political ideals, the ministers announced that they wished to encourage citizens of their state to consider desegregation as an acceptable way of life. This was an attempt to reach out to people living in small towns who might have viewed civil rights as an extremist political movement. Morris and his colleagues recruited respected civic leaders and active church people, to write essays about desegregation. Concerned South Carolinians self-published the collection of essays entitled South Carolinians Speak in October 1957. From 1959 to 1960, Reverend Morris helped found the Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity. Later, this organization appointed Morris executive director of the organization's Atlanta , Georgia office. He continued in this position until 1967. Morris also served as the special assistant in the Southern Regional Council from 1968 to 1970.

The candidates for the 1966 gubernatorial campaign in Georgia were Republican Howard "Bo" Callaway and Democrat Lester Maddox. Both espoused conservative ideas and approaches. Morris, along with other dissident Georgians, particularly those in favor of civil rights, felt strongly that the similarity between these two candidates offered voters little choice in the general election. To address this concern, Morris and his cohorts started a group called Write-In Georgia , which proposed Ellis Arnall as an alternative write-in candidate. The write-in campaign resulted in neither Maddox nor Callaway receiving the majority of votes necessary to take office. Immediately following the election, reports arose that some write-in votes may not have been counted properly. This prompted an investigation that led Reverend Morris (as a representative for Write-In Georgia ) to bring a lawsuit against Ben Fortson, Secretary of the State of Georgia . The case (Fortson v. Morris, et al.) traveled through all the lower courts and finally the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state of Georgia and held that when a candidate does not receive a majority of the vote, the Georgia General Assembly must decide the victor. The Georgia General Assembly elected Lester Maddox governor in 1967.

Following the Write-In Georgia effort, a group of individuals including John Morris split from the Democratic Party of Georgia and formed the Georgia Democratic Party Forum. This organization later became the Georgia Delegation of Loyal National Democrats and challenged the seating of the Lester Maddox delegation at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

In the mid-1970s, Reverend Morris became involved in researching his grandfather, Julian Burnett, a vice consul to Sierra Leone in 1887 who married an African woman. During this time he also bought and sold books related to his research. He officially retired from the church in 1995.

Reverend Morris married Harriet Barnes Pratt in 1952 and had four children. After his first wife's death he married Wright Cousins Morris in 1998. Reverend and Mrs. Morris currently reside in Evans, Georgia.

Scope and Content

This collection consists of materials collected by the Reverend John B. Morris, an Episcopalian priest from Atlanta, Georgia. It includes correspondence, memoranda, newspaper clippings and card files. The materials concern the activities and evolution of the Write-In Georgia movement into the Georgia Democratic Party Forum, then into the Georgia Delegation of Loyal National Democrats as they prepared to challenge the seating of the Lester Maddox delegation at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Also represented in the collection are materials related to Eugene McCarthy support among Georgia Democrats, as well as newspaper clippings that describe the controversy and upheaval of the 1968 National Democratic Party convention in Chicago. Additionally, two small series contain correspondence from U.S. House of Representative member Charles L. Weltner and the Fulton County Democratic Party.

Organization and Arrangement

The material is organized into eight series: I. Write-In Georgia, II. Georgia Democratic Party Forum, III. Democratic National Convention, IV. Georgia Democratic Party, V. Fulton County Democratic Party, VI. Weltner, Charles L., VII. Newspaper Clippings, and VIII. Photographs. With one exception, newspaper clippings, the series are arranged by subject and within each subject, they are arranged in reverse chronological order. VII. Newspaper Clippings is arranged chronologically.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

John B. Morris Papers, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia, 30602-1641.

Processing Notes

Newspaper clippings have been copied onto bond paper for protection of content. Photographs have been separated for preservation purposes.

User Restrictions

Library acts as "fair use" reproduction agent.

Copyright Information

Before material from collections at the Richard B. Russell Library may be quoted in print, or otherwise reproduced, in whole or in part, in any publication, permission must be obtained from (1) the owner of the physical property, and (2) the holder of the copyright. It is the particular responsibility of the researcher to obtain both sets of permissions. Persons wishing to quote from materials in the Russell Library collection should consult the Director. Reproduction of any item must contain a complete citation to the original.

Finding Aid Publication

Finding aid prepared on: 2000.

General Notes

Biographical Note excerpted from Biographical Sketch, State of Georgia Supreme Court, Atlanta, 1960

Related Materials and Subjects

Subject Terms

Arnall, Ellis Gibbs, 1907-1992.
Callaway, Howard H. (Howard Hollis), 1927-
Georgia -- Politics and government -- 1964-
Governors -- Georgia -- Election.
Maddox, Lester G., 1915-2003.
McCarthy , Eugene J., 1916-2005.
Political conventions -- United States.
Political parties -- Georgia.
Weltner, Charles Longstreet.
Write-In Georgia (Organization)

Related Collections in this Repository

Clifford Hodges Brewton Collection of Lester Maddox Speech/Press Research Files

Howard H. (Bo) Callaway Papers

Harold Paulk (Hal) Henderson, Sr. Oral History Collection: Series I. Ellis Arnall

Democratic Party of Georgia Records

Alvan S. Arnall Collection of Ellis G. Arnall Materials

Related Collections in Other Repositories

Georgia Democratic Party Forum, 1959-1972, 1985, Southern Labor Archives, Special Collections, Georgia State University Library

Charles L. Weltner Papers, 1961-1968, Atlanta History Center

ESCRU Records, Episcopal Church Archives, Austin, Texas

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing


I. Write-In Georgia

1 box(es)
(.5 linear feet)
This series consists of four subseries: A. 1966-1969, B. Precinct 16-E Write-In Lost Votes, C. Morris v. Fortson , and D. Committee of One Million. Subseries A. consists of correspondence, press releases, telegrams, memorandums, pamphlets, and political advertisements. Subseries B. consists of correspondence, newspaper articles, and press releases related to the alleged mismanagement of polling stations. Subseries C. consists of plaintiff's trial briefs, motions, affidavits, and complaints related to the Reverend Morris, et al lawsuit against Secretary of the State of Georgia , Ben Fortson. Subseries D. consists of petitions filed to get Ellis Arnall's name on the campaign ballot for governor of Georgia.

A. 1966-1969

I.1 11966-1969
I.1 21966

B. Precinct 16-E Write-In Lost Votes

I.1 3Precinct 16-E Write-In Lost Votes

C. Morris v. Fortson

I.1 4Morris v. Fortson

D. Committee of One Million

I.1 5Committee of One Million petitions

II. Georgia Democratic Party Forum

2 box(es)
(1 linear foot)
This series is comprised of five subseries: A. 1967 Forum, B. 1968 Forum, C. Georgia Forum Groups, D. Georgia Convention of Loyal Democrats, and E. Miscellaneous. Subseries A. and B. contain correspondence, newspaper articles, press releases, memoranda, bulletins, pamphlets, telegrams, and newsletters related to the activities of the Georgia Democratic Party Forum. Subseries C. contains the minutes, programs, and contact information of the groups that made up the Georgia Democratic Party Forum. Subseries D. consists of attendance records, briefs, reports, and card files related to the Georgia Delegation of 1968. Subseries E. consists of large print-outs of newspaper articles, notes, and ephemera (a plastic bag with newspaper articles printed on it) all related to the Georgia Convention of Loyal Democrats.

A. Forum

II.1 1Forum, 1967

B. Forum

II.1 2Forum, 1968
II.1 3Forum (2nd Folder), 1968

C. Georgia Forum Groups

II.1 41967
II.1 5Forum (2nd Folder), 1968

D. Georgia Convention of Loyal Democrats

II.1 61969-1968
II.1 7Georgia Delegation (Part 1)
II.1 8Georgia Delegation (Part 2)
II.2 1Georgia Delegation (Part 3)
II.2 2Georgia Delegation (Part 4)
II.2 3Card file of those attending convention
II.2 4Morris file, Macon guests

E. Miscellaneous

II.2 5Miscellaneous materials

III. Democratic National Convention

1 box(es)
(.25 linear feet)
This series consists of telegrams, press releases, newspaper articles, correspondence, and the temporary roll of delegates and alternates for the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
III.1 1Democratic National Convention

IV. Georgia Democratic Party

1 box(es)
(.25 linear feet)
This series consists of four subseries: A. 1964-1970, B. 1968, C. 1969, and D. 1970. Subseries A. contains flyers, correspondence, resolutions, steering committee minutes, rosters, newspaper articles, memorandums, proposals, and notes related to the Lester Maddox delegation. Subseries B. contains a brief, posters, newspaper articles, press releases and delegate lists. Subseries C. consists of correspondence, statements, reports, and newsletters. Subseries D. contains correspondence, memorandums, and pamphlets related to the Georgia Democratic Party.

A. 1964-1970

IV.1 1Maddox Delegation

B. 1968

IV.1 21968

C. 1969

IV.1 31969

D. 1970

IV.1 41970

V. Fulton County Democratic Party

1 box(es)
(.25 linear feet)
This series consist of correspondence, resolutions, and pamphlets associated with Fulton County Democratic Party. A portion of the correspondence concerns Reverend Morris's involvement on the committee to revise the Fulton County Democratic Party Platform.
V.1 1Fulton County Democratic Party

VI. Weltner, Charles L.

1 box(es)
(.25 linear feet)
This series contains correspondence and newspaper articles from Charles L. Weltner who represented Georgia 's 5th district in the U.S. House of Representatives (1963-1967) and later, in 1981, became a judge in the Superior Court of the Atlanta Judicial Circuit. The correspondence between Morris and Weltner primarily concerns the 1966 write-in movement.
V.1 1Weltner, Charles L.

VII. Newspaper Clippings

2 box(es)
(1 linear foot)
This series consists of newspaper articles related to the write-in movement, Ellis Arnall, Lester Maddox, Howard "Bo" Callaway, the Georgia Democratic Party Forum, the Democratic National Convention, and the Georgia Convention of Loyal Democrats.
VII.1 1October–December 1966
VII.1 2January–December 1967
VII.1 3(Part 1), January–July 1968
VII.1 4(Part 2), January-July 1968
VII.1 5(Part 1), August 1968
VII.1 6(Part 2), August 1968
VII.1 7(Part 3), August 1968
VII.1 8(Part 4), August 1968
VII.2 1(Part 5), August 1968
VII.2 2(Part 6), August 1968
VII.2 3(Part 7), August 1968
VII.2 4September 1968
VII.2 5(Part 1), September–October 1968
VII.2 6(Part 2), September-October 1968
VII.2 7Miscellaneous, undated

VIII. Photographs

2 item(s)
This series contains two duplicate portraits of Reverend John B. Morris.
VII.2 8Portrait of Reverend John B. Morris ([2, b/w, 5"x7"])
VII.2 9Portrait of John Angers [?], Washington D.C, circa 1960-1969. ([1 b/w, 8x10"])