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Walter E. Fauntroy papers, part 3

Identifier: MS2394

Scope and Contents

This collection contains administrative files, project proposals, speeches, correspondence, financial and legal documents, church sermons, church administrative documents, religious sheet music, and personal papers. These materials date from 1930-2006, with the bulk of the records falling between 1990 and 2006.


  • Creation: 1930-2006
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1990-2006

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for use. However, some folders have been restricted because they contain personal or financial information. These folders will remain closed to researchers until Walter Fauntroy's death.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection may be governed by copyright. For activities that the researcher determines fall under fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights, determining if the intended re-use falls under fair use, and obtaining approval from the copyright holder if the intended use does not fall under fair use. Please contact Special Collections if the copyright status of the materials you wish to reuse is unclear. Staff will provide additional information.

Biographical Note

Walter E. Fauntroy was born in Washington, D.C. on February 6, 1933. He graduated from Dunbar High School in 1952 and received his Bachelor of Arts from Virginia Union University in 1955. He earned a bachelor of divinity from Yale University Divinity School in 1958. In 1959, he began his career in public service through his appointment as pastor of his childhood church, New Bethel Baptist Church. He served as pastor from 1959 until his retirement in 2009.

An advocate of civil rights, Fauntroy served as a leader in the civil rights movement. He became close to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and served as the director of the Washington Bureau of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) from 1960-1971. As a director of SCLC, Fauntroy coordinated the events leading up to the August 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and the 1965 March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. In 1968, he served as the national coordinator of the Poor People's Campaign. In the years after Dr. King’s assassination, Fauntroy often gave speeches in his honor and memory.

Fauntroy utilized his activism experiences to promote urban redevelopment within the District of Columbia. He founded a number of redevelopment projects, including the Model Inner City Community Organization (MICCO), a neighborhood planning corporation. Fauntroy's active community involvement led to his first political position as the first vice chairman appointed to the District of Columbia Council in 1967. He became a vocal advocate for voting rights and representation within the District (among other things). Later in his career, in the mid-1990s, Fauntroy was heavily involved with work surrounding the Capital Homestead Act, which would have created opportunities for Black residents to own property within the District. It was supposedly based off of the Homestead Acts of the mid-1800s. The legislation did not pass.

In 1970, Congress passed the Delegate Act, and in 1971, D.C residents elected Fauntroy to represent the District as Delegate to the House of Representatives. Fauntroy strongly supported the right for full representation of the District, and immediately began a legislative campaign in support of home rule. In 1973, the District of Columbia Self-Government and Government Reorganization Act became law and D.C. citizens were given the authority to elect a mayor and a city council. He was also an advocate for D.C. Statehood.

Fauntroy served in Congress for twenty years (1971-1991). He worked on many committees during his tenure, including the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), for which he also served as chairman. In addition to serving on many committees, he also chaired several of them. He founded the National Black Leadership Roundtable (NBLR), a network created under the auspices of the CBC, in support of domestic leadership. The "Free South Africa Movement" (FSAM) and the Congressional Task Force on Haiti serve as two examples of Fauntroy's active involvement in international affairs (which would continue after leaving Congress).

Fauntroy founded his own consulting firm, Walter E. Fauntroy and Associates, which was based in Washington, DC. After leaving Congress, he was involved in many local, national, and international projects and causes. He lobbied Congress on international issues, specifically in South Africa and the Middle East. He also worked on issues within the Washington metro area, like the relocation of the Lorton Prison Complex, the Capital Homestead Act, and other projects in conjunction with the NBLR, and other Baptist and Interfaith groups. He was frequently asked to speak at conferences and events--usually promoting a project he was working on or commemorating Civil Rights history. He also served as an advisor and counselor to individuals who might have known him through his position at New Bethel.

Fauntroy retired as pastor of New Bethel in 2009. His wife, Dorothy, served as First Lady of the Church while Walter was pastor. They have two children, Marvin and Melissa.

(Biography adapted from the Finding Guides written for MS2070 Walter Fauntroy papers Part 1 and MS2310 Walter Fauntroy papers Part 2, with new portions added in 2021. For more information on Walter Fauntroy and his achievements, please see those Finding Guides.)


11.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Walter E. Fauntroy is a civil rights and religious leader in Washington, DC, with a career spanning over sixty years. Fauntroy served previously as delegate to the House of Representatives for Washington, DC; pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church; and as director of Walter E. Fauntroy and Associates (a Washington, DC-based consulting firm)--among many other things.

This collection contains administrative files, project proposals, speeches, correspondence, financial and legal documents, church sermons, church administrative documents, religious sheet music, and personal papers. These materials date from 1930-2006, with the bulk of the records falling between 1990 and 2006.


This collection is arranged into three series: Walter E. Fauntroy personal papers, Walter E. Fauntroy and Associates files, and New Bethel Baptist Church materials. The folders within each series are arranged alphabetically. The collection was mostly in alphabetical order on arrival--although some folders have been moved to create the series or maintain the alphabetical arrangement. Because of Walter Fauntroy's personal and professional activities, there may be some overlap between his personal materials, business files, and the materials from New Bethel Baptist Church.

Physical Location

Materials are stored off-site, and will require additional retrieval time. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.

Custodial History

These materials were collected by staff from the Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives in 2019. They transferred the materials to the SCRC in early 2020.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives, 2020 January 10 (2020.001)

Related Materials

Within Special Collections Research Center: MS2070 Walter E. Fauntroy papers, part 1 MS2310 Walter Fauntroy Papers Part II

Other related materials are located at various institutions across the United States, often within collections that document Civil Rights and legislative history. This is also true for related materials spread across other collections at the Special Collections Research Center.

Processing Information

Many folder titles included abbreviations or were not descriptive enough to be used on their own. After reviewing the folder contents, a subtitle may have been added in brackets on the actual folder. This subtitle was also included when uploading the folder titles to ArchivesSpace. Some folders did not contain any title. Others were completely irrelevant and in that case, a more descriptive title was used. The original folder title has been noted in that specific record in ArchivesSpace.

Guide to the Walter E. Fauntroy papers, part 3, 1930-2006
Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository

George Washington University Gelman Library
2130 H Street NW
Washington DC 20052 United States of America