Papers (1902-1980s, undated) of Greenville, NC, lawyer and member (1956-1961) of the N.C. House of Representatives and Greenville Mayor (1969-1971) Frank Marion Wooten, Jr. (1916-1992) consisting of correspondence, pamphlets, proposed bills, reports, petitions, resolutions, bulletins, periodicals, printed bills, and photographs. Crime and punishment-related topics, and tax issues are major topics covered.
Frank Marion Wooten Jr. ( 3 May 1916-30 June 1992) was the son of Frank M. Wooten and Elizabeth Hampton (Wade) Wooten. He attended East Carolina College and the University of N.C. Law School, after which he joined his father's law practice in Greenville. Governor Luther Hodges appointed Wooten a member of the N.C. House of Representatives for the special session of 1956 after the resignation of Sam O. Worthington. Reelected in 1957, Wooten served through the session of 1961, after which he returned to the private practice of law. He was elected Mayor of Greenville for the 1969-1971 term.
Legislative correspondence for the special session of 1956 concerns primarily race-related topics. Letters provide constituent views on public school segregation and the collateral issue of state funding of private schools, the segregation controversy, and causes of racial conflict as well as the possible effect of desegregation on Negro educators. Letters pertain to the Pearsall and PTA plans of desegregation, and the Governor's Commission for the Public Schools. A letter (18 April 1956) explains Wooten's opposition to a tobacco tax.
Legislative material includes proposed bills pertaining to desegregation, a report (undated) entitled "A Report to the N.C. Legislature by a group of Representative Negro Citizens...," an outline of eight proposed bills advocated by the Pearsall Education Committee (23 July 1956), recommendations on school reorganization, and a resolution from the office of power by the Supreme Court (August 1956).
Pamphlets of interest in the 1956 legislative series consist of editorials from the Richmond News Leader concerning interposition (1955-1956), and The Pearsall Plan to Save Our Schools (1956). An address before the civic clubs of Edgecombe County concerns anti-integration sentiments.
Legislative correspondence for the 1957 General Assembly concerns both major and minor issues. The bulk of the material consists of constituent letters advocating teachers' and state employees' salary increases. Many of these discuss bad teaching conditions resulting from inadequate salaries. The related issue of food or sales taxes to raise revenue also receives much attention. Numerous letters concern the effort to establish the East Carolina School of Nursing. Related letters concern efforts to increase appropriations for the Pitt County Mental Health Center. ECU-related letters pertain to the salary of President John Messick, the appropriation needs of ECU, the difficulties encountered by the school because of lack of funds, and an accusation by Messick that the University system maintained a double standard with ECU. A letter (January 1957) from Dean Henry Brandis outlines critical needs of the UNC Law School.
Several letters pertain to the imbroglio involving the development of the Morehead City port instead of the Wilmington port. Other topics of interest include a proposed automobile financial responsibility act, a proposed alteration in the Greenville City Charter affecting mayoral elections, the non-par banking controversy, and Charlotte, N.C., corporate limit extension.
A letter (13 May 1957) pertains to five proposed United States Constitutional amendments. Letters pertaining to N.C. courts comment on opposition to a justice of the peace selection in Greenville, N.C. (November 1956), an alteration of court terms (March 1957), and an increase in salaries of justices of the peace (March 1957). A letter from Governor Hodges comments on the need of court reform in North Carolina (May 1957).
Crime- and punishment-related topics include control of prearranged racing (7 March 1957), shoplifting (23 March 1957), pornography (2 April; 27 May, encl to May 21), and boats speeding on the Tar River (May 1957).
Form letters from the N.C. Democratic Executive Committee pertain to the national election of 1958. Letters pertain to the General Assembly speakership attempts of several aspirants.
Tax-related issues include a schedule of beer and wine excise taxes allocations (November 1956), a surtax on beer (4 June 1957), the negative effect of a tax on tobacco (October 1956), and a gasoline tax (18 March 1957).
Issues related to social problems include a letter advocating an alcoholic rehabilitation center with ancillary comments on the rehabilitation of alcoholics (12 March 1957). Letters pertaining to tourism complain of the pollution of the Tuckasegee River and its effect on tourism and local health conditions (March 1957). Another constituent opposes the expenditure of federal funds to sponsor businesses potentially competitive with established businesses (April 1957). Numbers of letters pertain to the implementation of daylight savings time (March, May 1957).
Other issues include Greenville Tobacco Company's advocation of the development of a port at Morehead City (4 March 1957), and opposition to a proposed requirement that tobacco manufacturers label packages (5 April 1957).
Legislative material includes proposed drafts of bills as well as various printed bills. Files pertain to general revenue and appropriations, and to appropriations for ECU. Other legislative material includes reports, petitions, resolutions, lobby material, bulletins, periodicals, and municipal records concerning Fountain, Greenville, and Bethel. Of particular interest are a resolution (18 October 1956) on the "Evils of [Negro] Bastardy" by the Pitt County Patriots of North Carolina and pamphlets pertaining to the United Federation of Teachers education program (March 1956), right to work laws (January 1957) and the "Campaign for 48 States," a U.S. Constitutional Amendment movement.
Legislative Session, 1959, correspondence relates to non-par banking, a legislative program for public education, increase in teachers' salaries, appropriations for the various state agencies, automobile financial responsibility, ECU budget and Nursing School, and a crown tax on soft drinks. Particular letters of interest (13 February 1959) discuss and suggest solutions for the problem of bastardy; comment on collective bargaining being made illegal by public employees (5 March 1959), and discuss the activities of the Municipal Government Study Commission (24 March 1959).
Other records of interest for the 1959 session include files on the Municipal Government Study Commission, petitions and resolutions, budget and appropriations material, printed bills, governor's messages, lobby material, publications, and newspaper clippings. Miscellaneous material for the 1959 session includes "Thimblerigger Courts," an attack by Judge Frank Wooten on the Bell Committee court system propositions (undated).
Correspondence for the 1961 General Assembly consists of similar legislative issues. Wooten chaired the Judiciary #1 Committee; and issues such as court reform, legislative reapportionment, and a state constitutional amendment to enlarge the Senate comprise important topics of discussion. Other legislative issues include compulsory automobile insurance, consumer finance, and regulation of "shell" homes. In a letter (20 February 1961) a Florida state legislator opposes the twenty-third amendment to give representation to the District of Columbia because of the Negro population majority in the area. Letters (January, April 1961) outline the appropriation needs of Pembroke State University. A letter (April 1961) discusses a plan to divert the "floundering" South from socialism. A similar letter (undated encl. to 19 May 1961) comments on the John Birch Society, socialism, and communism. Other letters (June 1961) pertain to the issue of capital punishment.
Independent correspondence files pertain to proposed legislation regulating certified public accountants, and budget-appropriation needs of ECU. Other 1961 session files include committee material, budget and appropriations material, and legislative committeereports. Drainage district files pertain to the Ahoskie Creek Watershed and a Pitt County right-of-way contract. The records include a summary of the small watershed program in N.C., as well as copies of drainage legislation. Files also pertain to automobile insurance legislation, reapportionment, certified public accountant bills, consumer finance, and North Carolina court reform. Clippings relate to reapportionment and other bills introduced by Wooten.
Correspondence files (1948-1957) reflect Wooten's membership and involvement in the Young Democratic Clubs of North Carolina. Letters concern the campaigns and administrations of William W. Staton (1951), Bedford W. Black (1952), Horace R. Kornegay (1953), John R. Jordan (1954), and Henry Hall Wilson (1954). Letters (May 1953) from Jesse Helms, then administrative assistant to Senator Willis Smith, concern a political squabble between Smith and YDC President William Harrison. An interesting letter (15 May 1953) classifies and evaluates prominent YDC members for political positions. Related material consists of minutes, reports, resolutions, financial papers, rosters, pamphlets, clippings, and miscellaneous.
Pitt County records include a flyer concerning N.C. municipal bonds (1934), a contract for auditing the accounts of Pitt County Schools (1934), a statement of uncollected taxes (1935), a legal brief (1935), valuations of Pitt County property (1937) and related material: a tax levy comparison, an argument favoring state reimbursement of counties having donated funds for the state highway system, and an outline of the cost of maintaining the county auditor's office. Later material includes a summary of estimated cash requirements and available cash in Pitt County (1951), as well as a list for election of registrars and judges for Pitt County (1954).
Wooten served for a brief time with the Office of Price Administration board for Pitt County. Correspondence (1946) consists of a letter containing procedural instructions and Wooten's letter of resignation. A flyer, "OPA3-B," delineates the fixed price of beer (1944).
Correspondence and related records pertain to the unsuccessful attempt of Alton A. Lennon to defeat Kerr Scott in the 1954 Senate primary. Material consists of letters of appreciation from Lennon, lists of campaign workers to receive congratulations, photocopies of State Highway Commission checks to Scott, as well as campaign receipts and bulletins. Other campaign materials include state Senate campaign records for 1946, 1948, and 1950.
Personal correspondence includes a complaint against the routing practices of the Seashore Transportation Company (10 June 1942) and a discussion of National Youth Administration appropriations by Senator Josiah Bailey (June 1943). Several letters pertain to Wooten's notification of parents that their sons had been captured by Germans, which he learned from shortwave radio transmissions (1943). Other letters pertain to the General Assembly speakership campaign of Carl Venters (1959). A letter from Chancellor J. D.Messick concerns ECU and the future nursing school (July 1958). Another letter discusses the problems and responsibilities of a legal secretary (March 1961).
Included in the Wooten papers is a folder of Frank M. Wooten Sr. correspondence (1917, 1923-1941, undated). Most of the letters concern Wooten family genealogy. Letters (March 1931) discuss the reorganization of the National Bank of Greenville. A Pitt County commissioner accuses the Greenville Daily Reflector of libel (October 1931), and a letter and enclosures (September 1931) concern the organization of farmers for security in the Depression. Of interest is a postcard containing a photograph of two Pitt County residents, Fred Venters Jr. and Sr., aged 76 and 106, respectively.
Legal papers include a waiver (1929) of notice of the first meeting of the directors of the Planters' Agricultural Credit Corp., the will of F. M. Wooten Sr. (1931), as well as a delineation of volumes in his library (undated).
Wooten genealogical typescripts include "Ensign Shadrach Wooten and the Wooten Family" (1933), and a history of the Loftin family (undated).
Newspaper clippings follow the political career of Wooten; they include various election returns, a 1932 Pitt County election, and the 1937 Pitt County budget.
Of interest in Wooten miscellaneous is a radio speech, "Strengthen Democracy for Defense," (1941), by F. M. Wooten.
Gift of Mr. Frank M. Wooten Jr.
Gift of Dr. William I. Wooten III
Gift of Dr. Erin Wooten
Processed by D. Lawson, June 1979
Encoded by Apex Data Services
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Portions of this collection have been digitized and are available here.