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Inventory of the John J. Miller Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: John J. Miller papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1967-1978
    Collection number: LP170:54-97a
    Creator: Miller, John J.
    Extent: 2 cubic feet
    Repository: California State Archives
    Sacramento, California
    Abstract: John J. Miller, Democrat, was a member of the Assembly from 1967-1978. Assembly Member Miller focused his efforts on judicial, equal opportunity, and utility issues.
    Physical location: California State Archives
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the California State Archives. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the California State Archives as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement which may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Archives collections.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], John J. Miller papers, LP170:[folder number], California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, California.

    Acquisition Information

    The California State Archives acquired the John J. Miller Papers following his final Assembly term.

    Alternative Forms of Material Available

    Some of the records are available on microfilm at the California State Archives.


    John J. Miller, Democrat, was a member of the Assembly from 1967-1978. He represented the 17th District, which included the cities of Berkeley and Oakland, until 1974. After redistricting, he represented the 13th District from 1975 until 1978.
    Assembly Member Miller was born July 28, 1932 and grew up in Savannah, Georgia. In 1954, he received his B.A. from Talladega College in Alabama. In 1957, he graduated from the Howard University School of Law. That same year, he came to California from Woodside, New York to serve as the Walter Perry Johnson Graduate Research Fellow at Boalt Hall, University of California, Berkeley. He was an attorney and, eventually a partner in the law firm of Miller and George, Berkeley. He and his wife, Joyce McNair Miller, had three children.
    He was a member of the Bishop's Committee for the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd (Berkeley). In addition, he took part in the activities of the U.C. Men's Faculty Club, Berkeley, and the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences. He was also a member of following legal groups: the American Bar Association, the California Bar Association, the National Bar Association, and the National Lawyers' Guild. In 1968, he served on the California State Democratic Party Platform Committee.
    Before being elected to the Assembly, he was active with the Alameda County Negro Leadership Conference and served on the Citizens' Committee to Study De Facto Segregation in Berkeley Schools. In 1964, he was elected to the Berkeley Board of Education and later served as its president. He was also a member of both the Berkeley Housing Advisory and Appeals Board and the Berkeley Board of Library Trustees. Assembly Member Byron Rumford, Sr. encouraged him to run for his seat in the Assembly when Rumford decided to run for State Senate.
    Miller was elected to the State Assembly in 1966. Prior to his election, six African Americans had served in the Assembly. He, along with three other African Americans, were elected that year, bringing the size of the then informal Black Caucus to five. He was elected Assembly Minority Leader in April 1970 and served through January 1971.
    According to the Legislative Handbooks, he was a member of the following committees:

    California State Assembly, 1967-1978

    • Standing Committees
    • Criminal Justice, 1971-1973
    • *Vice Chair, 1971-1973
    • Criminal Procedure, 1967-1970
    • *Vice Chair, 1967-1970
    • Finance, Insurance and Commerce, 1975-1978
    • Governmental Administration, 1971-1974
    • Governmental Efficiency and Economy, 1967-1968
    • Health and Welfare, 1969-1970
    • Judiciary, 1975-1978
    • *Chair, 1975-1978
    • Labor, Employment, and Consumer Affairs, 1978
    • Local Government, 1969-1970
    • Resources and Land Use, 1973-1974
    • Social Welfare, 1967-1968
    • Ways and Means, 1971-1976
    • Welfare, 1971-1974
    • Sub-Committee
    • Welfare Reorganization, 1970
    • *Chair, 1970
    • Select Committees
    • Administration of Justice, 1970
    • Legislative Ethics, 1975-1976
    • Revision of the Non Profit Corporation Code, 1975-1976
    • Joint Committees
    • Revision of Penal Code, 1970-1974
    • San Francisco Bay Area Conservation Commission
    • Structure of the Judiciary, 1975-1978
    • *Vice Chair, 1975-1978
    In addition, as a member of the Legislature, he served as a member of the Judicial Council of California, 1975-1978.
    In 1978, he was appointed Justice for the California Courts of Appeal, 1st District by Governor Jerry Brown; he served until 1985. He died of complications from diabetes, from which he had suffered most of his adult life, on February 16, 1985.

    Scope and Content

    The John J. Miller papers consist of Assembly Bill files from 1967-1976 and press releases from 1970-1978. Assembly Member Miller focused his efforts on judicial, equal opportunity, and utility issues. Some of his main accomplishment came in procedural maneuvers rather than in introducing significant legislation. He used his power as chair of the Judiciary committee to stall bills, such as one that would have stopped busing of students to achieve racially balanced schools and another that would have provided doctors with medical malpractice relief. He was the author of the bill that created "lifeline" utility rates for low-income users. Other bills introduced by Miller revised judicial proceeding in the state.


    Arranged into three series: bill files, press releases, and speeches.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been associated with these materials in the Archives' automated public access system (currently in development, July 2004).


    Miller, John J.
    California - - Legislature - - Assembly
    California - - Judicial Council

    Related Material

    John J. Miller, Oral History Interview, conducted 1982 by Sarah Sharp, Government History Documentation Project, Ronald Reagan Gubernatorial Era, Regional Oral History Office, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.