McSurely, Alan, 1936-

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Lawyer Alan McSurely of Chapel Hill, N.C., was born in 1936 in Dayton, Ohio, and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During the 1960s and 1970s, he and his wife, Margaret McSurely, worked with a number of organizations endeavoring to eliminate poverty, bring about an end to segregation, and organize workers in labor disputes.

From the description of Alan McSurely papers, 1928-1985 (bulk 1960s-1980s). WorldCat record id: 40337289

Lawyer Alan McSurely of Chapel Hill, N.C., was born in 1936 in Dayton, Ohio. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 1959. During the 1960s, he and his wife, Margaret McSurely, worked with a number of organizations in Kentucky and other states that endeavored to eliminate poverty, bring about an end to segregation, and organize workers in labor disputes. Included among these were the United Planning Organization, Appalachian Volunteers, CORE, SCEF, Mississippi Freedom, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

Because of their association with organizations such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Southern Conference Educational Fund, the McSurelys captured the attention of the FBI. Their political views and organizing work made them the subjects of an extensive investigation in the late 1960s. As a result, they were labeled as radicals and accused of holding memberships in communist organizations. Such accusations and suspicions led to a 1967 raid on the McSurelys' Kentucky home and the seizure of numerous books and other materials. Alan and Margaret McSurely were arrested for sedition, an event that marked the beginning of a lengthy battle in the courts.

Through an order handed down by the United States Circuit Court in 1968, the McSurelys succeeded in reclaiming their seized property, which was later subpoenaed again. The following year, the McSurelys appeared before the McClellan Subcommittee of the United States Senate and were charged with contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over the materials. They were tried and convicted in 1970, but the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned their convictions in 1972. In 1983, a jury awarded the McSurelys more than a million dollars in damages for the violation of their constitutional rights.

Alan McSurely has practiced law in Chapel Hill, N.C., earning a reputation as a legal advocate for many in the African American community and for his handling of numerous controversial cases dealing with matters such as civil rights and labor disputes.

From the guide to the Alan McSurely Papers, 1928-1985 (bulk 1960s-1980s), (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf McSurely, Alan, 1936-. Alan McSurely papers, 1928-1985 (bulk 1960s-1980s). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Forman, James, 1928-2005. James Forman papers, 1848-2005 (bulk 1961-2001). Library of Congress
referencedIn James Forman Papers, 1848-2005, (bulk 1961-2001) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Alan McSurely Papers, 1928-1985 (bulk 1960s-1980s) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Alliance for Labor and Community Action corporateBody
associatedWith American Federation of Teachers corporateBody
associatedWith American Postal Workers Union corporateBody
associatedWith Anne Braden person
associatedWith Baltimore Coalition to Stop Unemployment corporateBody
associatedWith Black Panthers corporateBody
correspondedWith Buffalo Workers' Movement corporateBody
associatedWith Campaign for Political Rights corporateBody
associatedWith Citizens to Abolish Strip Mining, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Coalition to Get Rid of Earl Silbert corporateBody
associatedWith Committee for Marxist Education corporateBody
associatedWith Committee for Poor People corporateBody
associatedWith Communist Labor Party of the United States of North America corporateBody
associatedWith Communist Workers Party, USA corporateBody
associatedWith Congress of Racial Equality. corporateBody
associatedWith Council of the Southern Mountains corporateBody
associatedWith DC Line of March Committee corporateBody
associatedWith Drew Pearson person
correspondedWith Forman, James, 1928-2005. person
correspondedWith Grand Jury Project corporateBody
correspondedWith Greensboro Justice Fund corporateBody
associatedWith Gulf Coast Pulpwood Association corporateBody
associatedWith H. Rap Brown person
associatedWith Intercommunal Survival Committee corporateBody
associatedWith John L. McClellan person
associatedWith Joseph Mulloy person
associatedWith Karen Mulloy person
associatedWith McSurely, Margaret, 1936- person
associatedWith Mined-Land Conservation Conference corporateBody
associatedWith Movement for Economic Justice corporateBody
associatedWith National Anti-Klan Network corporateBody
associatedWith National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. corporateBody
associatedWith National Independent Coal Operators Association corporateBody
associatedWith New York Friends of the Black Lung Association corporateBody
associatedWith Pearson, Drew, 1897-1969. person
associatedWith Political organ of the Puerto Rican National Left Movement corporateBody
associatedWith Poor People's Corporation corporateBody
associatedWith Progressive Labor Party corporateBody
associatedWith Scholarship, Education & Defense Fund for Racial Equality corporateBody
associatedWith Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations corporateBody
associatedWith Sojourner Truth Organization corporateBody
associatedWith Southern Activists corporateBody
associatedWith Southern Christian Leadership Conference. corporateBody
associatedWith Southern Conference Educational Fund. corporateBody
associatedWith Southern Equal Rights Congress corporateBody
associatedWith Stokely Carmichael person
associatedWith Student National Coordinating Committee corporateBody
associatedWith Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Unemployment Council of Philadelphia corporateBody
associatedWith United Mine Workers of America corporateBody
associatedWith William Webster person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
North Carolina
African Americans
African Americans
Civil rights movements
Labor unions
Protest movements


Birth 1936



Ark ID: w6hf15nx

SNAC ID: 36417137