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William "Bill" Saunders papers

 Collection
Identifier: AMN 1100

Collection Overview

This collection includes materials relating to the personal and professional life of William (Bill) Saunders. A very small portion of the papers contains personal materials such as biographical material, clippings, and correspondence. The majority of the collection documents Saunders' civic involvement from the late 1960s to 2004, with organizations such as the Committee on Better Racial Assurance (COBRA), Charleston Area Community Relations Committee, and Sea Island Comprehensive Health Care Corporation. A limited number of newspaper articles relate to Saunders' role in the 1969 Hospital Workers' Strike. The largest portion chronicles the establishment and early operation of COBRA, though later COBRA materials are included. Saunders' ten-year tenure as South Carolina Public Service Commissioner is also reflected, while a small amount of materials relate to Saunders' run for South Carolina Senate in 1980.

A portion of the collection contains materials relating to WPAL radio station, including audiocassette tapes of various programs from 1990 to 2002. Also includes subject files containing articles and publications relating to many local issues.

Dates

  • approximately 1950-2004

Creator

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Copyright Notice

The nature of the Avery Research Center's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Avery Research Center claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Biographical Note

William (Bill) Saunders was born on February 14, 1935 in New York. At the age of eighteen months, he moved to Johns Island, South Carolina to live with his maternal grandparents. There, he grew up working on his grandparents' farm and on others in the area. He attended Mt. Zion Elementary School on Johns Island and Burke High School on the Charleston peninsula.

In 1951, Saunders joined the United States Army and fought in the Korean War until the summer of 1952.

During the 1960s, Saunders became involved in the Civil Rights movement in Charleston, organizing an armed self-defense group and publishing a radical newspaper called the Lowcountry Newsletter. He participated in the 1969 Hospital Workers' Strike and helped negotiate the resolutions to this strike. In 1970, Saunders established the Committee on Better Racial Assurance (COBRA), an organization whose primary purpose is to mediate problems and facilitate communication within the Charleston community. In addition, COBRA assists underprivileged citizens through various programs, gaining particular attention for its Sickle Cell Anemia awareness program.

In 1972, Saunders became the co-owner of AM radio station WPAL, the first radio station to return to the air after Hurricane Hugo. He became the sole proprietor of the station in 1985 and continued to operate WPAL until 1998.

Saunders ran for South Carolina Senate in 1980, and held a ten-year tenure on the Public Service Commission of South Carolina from 1994 to 2004. In 2004, William Bill Saunders returned to the full-time administration of COBRA.

Extent

14.5 linear feet (28 archival boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

William (Bill) Saunders, was an organizer and lead negotiator of the Charleston Hospital Stike of 1969. In 1970, Saunders established the Committee on Better Racial Assurance (COBRA) to address race-related community problems and provide assistance to community members in need. He also operated the AM radio station WPAL from 1972-1998. This collection includes materials relating to the personal and professional life of Saunders. A very small portion of the papers contains personal materials such as biographical material, clippings, and correspondence. The majority of the collection documents Saunders' civic involvement from the late 1960s to 2004, with organizations such as the Committee on Better Racial Assurance (COBRA), Charleston Area Community Relations Committee, and Sea Island Comprehensive Health Care Corporation. A portion of the collection contains materials relating to WPAL radio station, including audiocassette tapes of various programs from 1990 to 2002.

Collection Arrangement

1. Personal Papers, 1976-2003

2. Civic Involvement, 1967-2005

3. Professional Papers, 1950s-2002

4. Subject Files and Publications

Related Material

Oral History Interviews with William (Bill) Saunders by Felice Knight, AMN 500.026.009 in the South Carolina Civil/Human Rights Anthology Project:

Part I: September 9, 2004, AMN 500.026.009 2004-09-09

Part II: September 17, 2004, AMN 500.026.009 2004-09-17

Part III: October 1, 2004, AMN 500.026.009 2004-10-01

Part IV: October 8, 2004, AMN 500.026.009 2004-10-08

Part V: October 27, 2004, AMN 500.026.009 2004-10-27

Separated Material

1100-OPF/1

Processing Information

Processed by Felice Knight, June 2006, and Jessica Farrell, August 2010

Encoded by Jessica Farrell, August 2010

Edited by Amanda Ross, August 2010

Funding from the Council on Library and Information Resources supported the collection processing and encoding of this finding aid.

Title
Inventory of the William ( Bill) Saunders Papers, circa 1950 - 2004 AMN 1100
Status
Completed
Author
Finding aid prepared by Processed by: Felice Knight and Jessica Farrell; machine-readable finding aid created by: Jessica Farrell
Description rules
DACS
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English
Sponsor
Funding from the Council on Library and Information Resources supported the collection processing and encoding of this finding aid.

Repository Details

Part of the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture Repository

Contact:
125 Bull Street
Charleston South Carolina 29424 United States
843-953-7608