Detroit (Mich.) businessman and chairman of New Detroit Committee, organization established after the 1967 Detroit Riot to investigate and remedy the causes of that civil disturbance. Correspondence, reports, speeches, articles, photographs, and printed material relating to the riot and to his work with New Detroit.
The papers of Joseph L. Hudson, Jr., date from 1967 to 1983 and measure 6 inches. The collection consists entirely of material relating to the New Detroit Committee, which Hudson chaired during its first year of existence.
The collection includes correspondence relating primarily to the composition of the Committee; membership lists; notes made by Hudson; speeches and articles by Hudson and by Kent Mathewson, who was chief executive officer of New Detroit; press releases and periodic progress reports of New Detroit; photographs; and newspaper clippings about the, riot and about New Detroit. Most of the material dates from the period 1967 to 1969, but a few progress reports from the 1970s and 1980s and a 1983 General Fact Book regarding New Detroit are also included.
The papers reflect the difficulties faced by Hudson and the Committee in trying to create an organization that included representatives of the white "establishment" and grass roots black organizations. It was necessary for the Committee to be responsive to the needs of various sectors of the community ranging from prominent white businessmen to militant blacks. A folder entitled "Important Considerations" contains a frank assessment--apparently by Hudson--of the credibility problems the Committee would face within the black community and outlining steps to be taken to mitigate such problems. The collection is also useful in documenting attitudes and divisions within the black community over the direction that should be taken in rebuilding Detroit. Included is correspondence of the Federation for Self-Determination, a militant black organization that rejected a grant from New Detroit and severed its relations with the committee early in 1968 because it found unacceptable the stipulation that a New Detroit Committee member oversee the project. Also included is correspondence of the more moderate Detroit Council of Organizations, which accused the New Detroit Committee of catering to militant blacks and ignoring the desires of moderate blacks.
Several photographs of the July 27, 1967 meeting of community leaders are contained in the collection.