The Constitution of 1790 and succeeding constitutions have placed supreme executive power in the Office of the Governor. As the chief executive officer of the Commonwealth, the governor is responsible for directing and supervising the activities of the administrative departments, boards and commissions under his authority in order to insure the faithful execution of the laws of the Commonwealth. The governor is the commander-in-chief of the military forces of the state, except when they are called into federal service. Legislative and judicial powers, including the remission of fines, the commutation of sentences, the granting of reprieves and pardons in conjunction with the recommendations of the Board of Pardons, and the right to veto bills of the General Assembly, are vested with the chief executive. The governor is also responsible for submitting the state budget for consideration by the legislature. Though Senate confirmation is required for some appointments, either directly or indirectly, the governor controls the appointment of patronage positions within the majority of state administrative agencies. The governor is elected for a four-year term and may succeed him or herself for an additional term.

Please Note: While the organizational units supporting the Governor’s Office, such as the Secretary of Administration, Office of the Budget, Governor’s Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse, etc., have always been scheduled and accessioned by the State Archives under Record Group 10, it has only been since the administration of Governor Robert Casey that the actual records of the governor have been dealt with in that manner. Another exception is the Correspondence and Issue Files of Governor Hartranft, which were microfilmed and placed in RG-10. For the records of other governors please refer to the list of Manuscript Groups.


Correspondence and Issue Files, 1870-1879. (2 microfilm rolls) Arranged alphabetically by individual or subject. A record of incoming correspondence to Governor Hartranft. Included is a letter from Samuel J. Levok dated November 17, 1876 written on letterhead paper of the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Philadelphia. The letter states, "Thine of 17th was rec’d today in reply will gladly give thee a verbatim copy of thy letter. Should the American people honour me with the high trust of presiding over them, I will endeavor to be just to all classes, without distinction of race, color or previous condition. My services in the field during the entire war ought to be a guarantee that I would not permit the black man to be enslaved or oppressed by unfriendly legislation."


Files of the Secretary for Legislative Affairs, 1987-1994. (16 cartons) The Office of Legislative Affairs serves as the principal representative of the Office of the Governor in all issues and activities related to the legislative process of the General Assembly.

Legislator File. This file, arranged alphabetically by surname of member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives or of the Senate, contains incoming correspondence to the governor and copies of responses sent by the secretary for Legislative Affairs. The following African Americans are examples of some of the legislators who served during the Casey administration:

• Roxanne H. Jones, first African American woman elected to the state Senate, Nov. 1984; Philadelphia; 3rd District.

• Chaka Fattah, elected to the House of Representatives, 1983-88 and the state Senate, 1988; Philadelphia; 7th District.

• Andrew J. Carn, elected to the House of Representatives, Nov. 2, 1982; Philadelphia; 197th District.

• Dwight Evans, elected to the House of Representatives, Nov. 4, 1980; Philadelphia County-203 District; Democratic Appropriations Chairman.

• Harold James, elected to the House of Representatives, 1988; Philadelphia; 186th District.

• K. Leroy Irvis, elected to the House of Representatives, 1959-1988; Allegheny County; first African American to be Speaker of the House, 1977, 1983-1987.

• Thaddeus Kirkland, elected to the House of Representatives, Nov. 1992; Delaware County; 159th District.

General Correspondence, 1986-1995. (169 cartons, 1 box) Arranged alphabetically by correspondents’ last name or by subject. Correspondence received by the Governor’s Office and copies of the responses prepared by the appropriate agencies or staff. Topics relating to African Americans include: Black History Month, Ramona Africa, Governor’s Advisory Committee on African Americans, African-American History Month, National Convention for African-American Students in Higher Education, African Heritage Month, Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum in Philadelphia, Cheyney University (several regarding the financial state of the university), and Freedom Day Proclamations.

General Correspondence: Responses Signed by the Governor, 1986-1995. (12 cartons) Organized alphabetically by correspondent’s last name or by subject. Incoming and copies of outgoing correspondence signed by the governor. The following items relate to African Americans:

• Martin Luther King Jr.: Correspondence regarding the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration. Included is a letter from Coretta Scott King asking for Governor Casey’s support in expanding the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday Commission.

• The Harriet Tubman Historical Society: Letter written from the Harriet Tubman Historical Society to the United States Conference of Governors regarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Governor Casey responded with a letter written to President William J. Clinton supporting the posthumous awarding of a Presidential Medal of Freedom to Harriet Tubman.

• OIC International, 1989: Correspondence from Governor Casey supporting the efforts of Dr. Leon H. Sullivan and the Opportunities Industrialization Center International. Also included is a copy of the1987 OIC Annual Report.

Issues File, 1987-1994. (213 cartons, 36 card boxes) Grouped by item, and thereunder arranged alphabetically by topic. Correspondence received by the Governor’s Office dealing with topics of special public interest that generated a large volume of mail and were given special handling by the staff. Due to the volume, this file was maintained separately from the general correspondence file. The following are examples of issues associated with African Americans:

• Mumia Abu-Jamal: Correspondence written to Governor Casey regarding the imprisonment of Mumia Abu-Jamal and his death sentence.

• Philadelphia City Finances: Correspondence written to Governor Casey regarding the financial difficulties of the city of Philadelphia under the administration of Mayor Wilson Goode.

• Scotland School for Veterans Children: Correspondence written to Governor Casey regarding the February 1991 announcement of closing the Scotland School for Veterans’ Children. Approximately 80 percent of the school’s enrollment were African American children. "My mother had to convince several prominent people to assist her in getting me admitted to SSVC," wrote Felicenne H. Ramey, associate dean for Academic Affairs at California State University, Sacramento. "This was no small feat for a poor single 'colored’ woman at that time. She was very pleased when she heard that I was accepted . . . I strongly recommend that you not cut Scotland’s budget."

Proclamations, 1987-1995. (4 cartons) Official Proclamations issued by the governor that are associated with African Americans regard such topics as: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Freedom Day, Black History Month and African American History Month


The Office of Administration is administered by the secretary of administration. The office serves as staff support to the governor in providing policy direction and administrative support to all agencies under the governor’s jurisdiction. Robert K. Bloom served as secretary of administration from 1967 to 1971 and C. Delores Tucker served in this office from 1971 to 1979.

General Correspondence, 1969-1979. (36 cartons, 4 folders) Arranged alphabetically by topic and thereunder chronologically by date of correspondence. Incoming and outgoing correspondence of the secretary of administration for the years 1969-1979. Materials relating to African Americans include: Affirmative Action Council Minutes (1972-1973); Affirmative Action-Office of Administration records; Affirmative Action Plan, 1973, and Management Directives and Administrative Circulars, 1971-1976. Also present are materials on the American Foundation for Negro Affairs, 1974-1978; the Black Affairs Center, 1975; the Black American Racers, Inc., 1975; the Black Legislative Caucus, 1974-1978; "Black Men in Motion," 1975; statistical reports compiled by Black Opinion Research and Evaluation, Inc., 1977; the Black Perspective on the News, 1976; the Black Political Forum, 1973-1976; the Bright Hope Baptist Church, 1975; the Bureau of Affirmative Action, 1975-1976; Black Colleges and Universities, 1972-1977; Non-Discrimination Clause Contracts, undated; Correspondence of an Affirmative Action Officer, 1973 and 1974; Equal Rights Task Force, 1972; Erie County Black Democrats Association, 1977; Erie County League of Black Voters; Human Relations Commission, 1971-1973; Human Relations Commission, 1977-1979; Opportunity Industrialization Centers (OIC); National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 1972-1978; NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) Convention, Sharon, Pa, 1978; Negro Trade Union Leadership Council, 1976-1978; Nix, Robert N.C.,1976-1978; Official Opinions (State Civil Service and Discrimination); United Negro College Fund, 1974-1978; Urban League of Pittsburgh, Inc., 1976; Voter Registration (Erie County League of Black Voters), 1974; Welfare Rights Organization, 1975-1978; and Zion Baptist Church, 1976-1977.


The Bureau of Affirmative Action (BOAA) is one of the units of the Office of Administration under the governor’s jurisdiction. Its purpose is to encourage and promote Commonwealth-wide programs directed at ending discrimination against protected groups in all agencies under the governor’s jurisdiction. It also develops programs to involve these individuals at all levels of employment. The records of the BOAA are divided into two groups: the Commonwealth Agency Files and the General Subject File. While some files deal specifically with discrimination aimed at African Americans, many more files with relevant information are given titles of a more general nature. The files also contain information on the affirmative action plans of the specific state agencies, training units, and complaints and grievances, among other subjects. A great deal of information on African Americans can be gleaned from the BOAA files of which the following is typical:

Commonwealth Agency Files, 1972-1987. (33 cartons) Arranged chronologically by year. Contains records for the State System of Higher Education including the 1983 Affirmative Action Plan for Cheyney State College. Of special interest are the court decisions about affirmative action such as Allan Bakke vs. Regents of the University of California and Ankrom vs. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Community Affairs.

General Subject File, 1970-1985. (53 cartons) Arranged alphabetically by topic. Included in the General Subject File are numerous references to African Americans. Following is an abbreviated list of relevant topics:

• Affirmative Action, 1976-1979.

• Affirmative Action Cluster, 1978.

• Affirmative Action Desk Reference Task Force, 1976.

• Affirmative Action Discrimination Committee, 1975.

• Affirmative Action Public Relations, 1977.

• Affirmative Action - Treadway Inn, Grantville, 1976.

• Affirmative Action Work Group, 1976-1978.

• Copies of Affirmative Action Articles, 1977-1979.

• Affirmative Action Meeting, 1979.

• Affirmative Action Congress, 1981.

• Affirmative Action Plans.

• Association of Mental Health Administrators Personnel/Affirmative Action Policy, 1977.

• Affirmative Action Bureau files include several references including the Affirmative Action Advisory Committee, 1982.

• Affirmative Action (Other States), 1982.

• American Foundation for Negro Affairs, 1981-84, with a program for the Education and Research Fund dinner, plans for the establishment of an African American Hall of Fame Garden, an agenda for an African American Convention, a resolution for an African American holiday. Subjects of major concern to the Foundation, and encouragement from Governor Thornburgh for state agencies to participate in the Foundation’s conferences; Bakke press releases, 1977-1978.

• Black Basic Education Conference, 1982, which includes information on the Pennsylvania Conference and a conference on "Effective Public Education."

• Blacks for Government Conference, 1981.

• Black Women’s Leadership Conference (BWLC), 1991.

• Black Economists, 1980.

• Black Progress, 1976-1979.

• Bureau of Affirmative Action, 1980, 1981.

• Bureau of Affirmative Action, 1980.

• Coalition of Ethnic Groups: 1977-1979.

• Census Data - Employment, 1970-77, which has a breakdown of statistics by race, and also information on earnings and occupations.

• Council for Sexual Minorities, 1981.

• Correspondence to and from Governor Casey with reference to BWLC, including a listing of the persons honored from Philadelphia and Allegheny counties at the BWLC’s reception on February 22, 1991.

• Correspondence to Governor Casey with reference to the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, 1994.

• Correspondence to Governor Casey from officers of the Pennsylvania State Conference of the NAACP Branches.

• Correspondence to the NAACP from Governor Casey.

• Returned Correspondence from state Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinators, 1977.

• Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Program, 1976-1977.

• Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 1977-1979.

• Equal Rights Amendment, 1971-1980; Equal Employment Opportunity Questions, 1980.

• Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for State and Local Government, 1977-1980.

• Governor’s Commission for Children and Families, 1993.

• Harrisburg Alliance for Racial Justice and Community Building, 1980.

• Human Relations Commission, 1982, regarding a mini-conference on civil rights enforcement in Pennsylvania.

• Human Relations Committee, 1981.

• Human Relations Commission, 1983, regarding an effort to work together with the BOAA on discrimination cases,

• K. Leroy Irvis, 1980.

• Minorities in Public Service Projects, 1981.

• Lincoln University, 1983, with an invitation to Career Day at Lincoln and a schedule and information packet for that event.

• NAACP, 1978 and 1979, Urban League of Lancaster County.

• NAACP Conference, including pamphlets, correspondence, and newsletters, 1977.

• NAACP, 1980, Human Relations Committee, 1980.

• NAACP booklet, 1979.

• NAACP Speech, 1981.

• NAACP, 1982, with the NAACP Economic Development Survey, correspondence with Ida Belle Minnie (who worked with the Affirmative Action Office at state colleges), and documentation of a BOAA exhibit at the NAACP State Conference in Harrisburg.

• NAACP, 1983, with an invitation and information on an annual conference.

• NAACP, 1990, National Urban League.

• Prototype Affirmative Action Training Design, 1975.

• Race/Ethnic Identification Material, 1979.

• Race-Gender Data, 1979.

• Remedies in Title VII Cases, by Robert J. Reimstein, which was presented at the Employment Discrimination Conference at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pa., March 19, 1977.

• Urban League of Metropolitan Harrisburg, Inc., 1973-1977.

• Work Plan Affirmative Action, 1977-1978.


Subject File of the General Counsel, 1972-1975. (2 cartons) Arranged chronologically by date of correspondence. Contains a file on the Pittsburgh Black Action Drug Abuse Center. The records in this file deal primarily with the Pittsburgh Black Action Drug Abuse Center, the Bureau of Drug Control in the Department of Justice, and the Governor’s Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Included are papers relating to various inspections and court cases regarding the regulation of the controlled substance methadone.

Return to Index | PHMC Home | State Archives |