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Wib Gulley papers

Identifier: NCC-0232

Scope and Contents

The Wib Gulley papers illustrate the Durham community’s support and protest of gay rights in 1986, Gulley’s campaigns for mayor and state senator, highlights of Mayor Gulley’s two terms, planning to establish regional public transportation, and North Carolina Democratic Party activities in the early 1990’s. The collection contains four scrapbooks of newspaper articles and photographs, 21 VHS tapes, and loose materials including correspondence, campaign materials for mayor and North Carolina State Senate races, newspaper clippings, and city and county documents from Wilbur "Wib" Gulley, Duke University alumnus and attorney who served as Durham mayor 1986-1989 and as state senator 1993 through 2004. The collection includes a copy of Gulley's June 1986 Anti-Discrimination Week proclamation, materials related to the resulting movement to recall Gulley as mayor, and correspondence from local citizens and others supporting Gulley's commitment to anti-discrimination or protesting the proclamation. City and regional planning documents include materials on establishing regional public transportation. Gulley’s participation in the 1989 and 1993 North Carolina Democratic Party and Democratic National Committee meetings are also documented as are records of the planning of North Carolina support of 1988 presidential campaign of Michael Dukakis.


  • 1981 - 2004
  • Majority of material found within 1986 - 1993


Conditions Governing Access

VHS tapes cannot be viewed and must be reformatted before access is granted. Contact staff for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where previously copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions.

Biographical / Historical

Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Wilbur "Wib" Gulley (b. 1948) came to Durham in 1966 and graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in history in 1970. Gulley worked as a lobbyist in the 1970s as the first director of the Public Interest Research Group, a student advocacy campaign. After receiving his law degree from Northeastern Law School in 1981, he returned to Durham.

In the early 1980s1 he worked with Self-Help credit union founder Martin Eakes and later was on the founding board of the Center for Community Self Help.

He served as vice chairman of the city Board of Adjustment and vice chairman of the county Democratic Party. Gulley was elected mayor of Durham in 1985 and reelected in 1987.

He served from December 1985 until December 1989 as mayor of Durham. Gulley's anti-discrimination proclamation protesting discrimination against gays and lesbians and declaring June 22-29, 1986 as "Anti-Discrimination Week" prompted a group of local citizens to file a motion for a recall of Gulley as mayor, which was defeated.

Affordable housing and “smart growth” were two of his priorities during his first term as mayor. Increasing public transportation was a priority during his second term and his administration helped buy a bus system from Duke Power in July 1985. A 1987 conference focusing on regional public transportation resulted in the 1988 formation of the first regional body ever for Durham, Wake, and Orange Counties, Triangle Transit, of which Gulley was first board chairman. Later this became Go Triangle.

He was elected as a state senator and served 1993 through 2004. Campaign finance reform and the initiation of charter schools, also known as non-regulated publicly funded schools, were two of his priorities as a state senator.

Gulley also served as one of the North Carolina representatives to the National Democratic Committee during the 1988 presidential campaign for Michael Dukakis.


3 Linear Feet (10 boxes: 4 binder boxes, 6 document boxes)

Language of Materials



The Wib Gulley papers span 1981 to 2004. Gulley was a lawyer, environmental lobbyist, mayor of Durham for four years and a North Carolina state senator for 12 years. In addition to documenting his political career, the collection details public response to Gulley's support of anti-discrimination and gay rights and his support for establishing public transportation for the region. Items in the collection include personal and professional correspondence, notes, memoranda, meeting minutes, reports, printed material, photographs, ephemera, and video recordings. The collection is arranged in the following series: Scrapbooks, Anti-discrimination proclamation records, Durham planning documents, campaign documents, NCDP and DNC records, and video recordings.


This collection is arranged by series according to format and subject, and chronologically by folder level. Series 1: Scrapbooks. Series 2: Anti-discrimination proclamation records. Series 3: Durham planning documents. Series 4: Campaign documents. Series 5: NCDP and DNC records. Series 6: Video recordings.

Collection included files organized by the donor, and others, presumably by the donor's assistant, and possibly a campaign director. An original separation of correspondence by Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill Carrboro addresses by the donor's assistant was not kept in order to gather all supporting correspondence regarding the anti-discrimination week proclamation. Likewise, campaign materials were gathered to unite materials by common subject. Otherwise original order was kept.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Wib Gulley

Related Materials

Durham People's Alliance Records (NCC.0064)

Related Materials

Durham Voters Alliance Records (NCC.0069)

Related Materials

Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer (LGBTQ) Collection (NCC.0107)

Related Materials

Steve Schewel Papers (NCC.0231)


Finding Aid for the Wib Gulley Papers
Beth Morris Weiss
June 6, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
  • Gift Agreement

Repository Details

Part of the North Carolina Collection Repository

300 N. Roxboro Street
Durham NC 27701 United States