Special Collections & University Archives University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

African American (31 collections)
SCUA

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Abramson, Doris E.

Doris E. Abramson Papers, ca.1930-2007.
(25 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 127

Doris Abramson
Doris Abramson

After earning her masters degree from Smith College in 1951, Doris Abramson (class of 1949) returned to UMass in 1953 to become instructor in the English Department, remaining at her alma mater through a long and productive career. An historian of theatre and poet, she was a founding member of the Speech Department, Theatre Department, and the Massachusetts Review. In 1959, a Danforth grant helped Abramson pursue doctoral work at Columbia. Published in 1969, her dissertation, Negro Playwrights in the American Theatre, 1925-1969, was a pioneering work in the field. After her retirement, she and her partner of more than 40 years, Dorothy Johnson, ran the Common Reader Bookshop in New Salem.

An extensive collection covering her entire career, Abramson’s papers are a valuable record of the performing arts at UMass, her research on African American playwrights, her teaching and directing, and many other topics relating to her diverse interests in literature and the arts.

Subjects
  • African-American theater
  • Poets--Massachusetts
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Theater
Contributors
  • Abramson, Doris E.

Allen, Dwight William, 1931-

Dwight William Allen Papers, 1967-1975.
10 boxes (15 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 165

Dwight Allen in classroom
Dwight Allen in classroom

A influential and flamboyant educational reformer, Dwight W. Allen served as Director of Teacher Education at his alma mater Stanford from 1959 until accepting a position as Dean of the School of Education at UMass Amherst in 1967. A proponent of integrating technology into teaching and co-developer of the technique of microteaching, Allen cemented his reputation as an innovator during his time at UMass (1968-1975), a time that coincided with the rapid expansion of the university. Allen helped recruit students of color to the graduate program in significant numbers, opened admissions to students with unconvential credentials, allowed students a voice in directing and governing the program, and abolished grading, among other initiatives, but while supporters lauded the creativity and excitement of the period, his radical ideas elicited considerable opposition as well. He resigned in 1975, in part due to the increasing demands his international consulting, later accepting a position at Old Dominion University, where he remained until his retirement in 2008. Allen is author of nine books, including American Schools: The $100 Billion Challenge, written with his former graduate student Bill Cosby.

The Allen papers contain a wealth of materials pertaining to the tumultuous years at UMass, including Allen’s curricular and teaching reforms, special projects, and his efforts to recruit African American students and address institutional racism. The correspondence, memos, and private reports that Allen maintained are particularly valuable for understanding the period as are the various surveys, studies, and reports on the state of the School of Education. The collection also includes material relating to some of Allen’s academic interests in education, including microteaching, alternative schools, and certification.

Subjects
  • Alternative education
  • Educational change
  • Racism in education
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. School of Education

Antislavery

Antislavery Collection, 1725-1911.
(7.5 linear feet).
Call no.: Rare Book Collections

The Antislavery Collection contains several hundred printed pamphlets and books pertaining to slavery and antislavery in New England, 1725-1911. The holdings include speeches, sermons, proceedings and other publications of organizations such as the American Anti-Slavery Society and the American Colonization Society, and a small number of pro-slavery tracts.

Subjects
  • Abolitionists--Massachusetts
  • Antislavery movements--United States
  • Slavery--United States
Contributors
  • American Anti-Slavery Society
  • American Colonization Society

Aronson, James

James Aronson Collection of W.E.B. Du Bois, 1946-1983.
2 boxes (1.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 292

Materials written by or pertaining to W.E.B. Du Bois, collected by James Aronson, who was executive editor of the “National Guardian” from 1948 to 1967. Includes correspondence, speeches by Du Bois in published form, articles by Du Bois, biographical sketches and tribute articles about Du Bois, photographs, and newspaper clippings.

Subjects
  • African Americans--Civil rights
  • African Americans--History--1877-1964
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Death and burial
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Views on Pan-Africanism
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Views on democracy
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Views on pacifism
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Views on socialism
  • National Guardian
  • Socialism--Africa
Contributors
  • Du Bois, Shirley Graham, 1896-1977
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Speeches

Banks, Katherine Bell

Katherine Bell Banks Papers, 1926-1960.
1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 429

Collection of letters from Du Bois to various members of the Bell family, the earliest written in September 1926 to Katherine Bell and the latest written in December 1960 to Thomasina Bell Fitzroy. These letters offer a unique perspective of Du Bois’s personal life.

Subjects
  • African Americans--History--1877-1964
Contributors
  • Banks, Katherine Bell
  • Bell, Thomas, d.1946
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Photographs

Bey, Hanif Shabazz

Hanif Shabazz Bey Memoir, ca. 1985.
1 envelope (0.10 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 695 bd

Hanif Shabazz Bey
Hanif Shabazz Bey

Hanif Shabazz Bey is one of the “Virgin Island Five” accused and convicted of murdering eight tourists at a golf course in the U.S. Virgin Islands on September 6, 1972. The murders occurred during a turbulent period of rebellion on the Islands, a time when a movement to resist colonial rule was growing in the U.S. occupied Virgin Islands and elsewhere. The reaction to the crime, which was rapidly characterized as racially and politically motivated, from the authorities was both swift and revealing: over a hundred Black activists were picked up for interrogation and the island of St. Croix was put under martial law. Beaumont Gereau (Hanif Shabazz Bey) was one of five men apprehended and charged with the attack; each of the men accused was a known supporter of the Virgin Island independence movement. Detained and subjected to torture, the five men ultimately confessed to the crime and were tried for murder. Despite the many indications that the subsequent trial was profoundly flawed, the men were found guilty and sentenced to eight consecutive life terms.

“The Beginning of Hell” is a typed memoir by Hanif Shabazz Bey, a prisoner from the Virgin Islands held in the U.S. Written sometime after 1985, the memoir provides a personal account of Bey’s childhood in the Virgin Islands, his service in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, and the social and political conditions of the Islands during the early 1970s that led up to his arrest and conviction for the murder of eight tourists in 1972. Bey details the torture and other harsh interrogation tactics employed by prosecutors, the trial, and its aftermath, including his confinement to prisons first in Puerto Rico and then the U.S. In prison, Bey chronicles inhumane treatment and conditions, his conversion to Islam, and his efforts to seek assistance to reduce his sentence.

Subjects
  • Prisoners' writings
  • Prisoners--United States
  • Prisoners--Virgin Islands
  • Prisons--United States
Contributors
  • Bey, Hanif Shabazz
Types of material
  • Memoirs

Black Mass Communications Project

Black Mass Communications Project Collection, ca.1970-1985.
10 boxes (15 linear feet).
Call no.: RG 45/30 B4

The Black Mass Communications Project was founded as an educational and informational outlet for Black students at UMass Amherst in 1968 and authorized in the following year as a Registered Student Organization. Over the years, BCMP played varied roles on campus, hosting cultural events, lectures, workshops, and social gatherings as to help keep black music alive. Many of its early members were also affiliated with the student radio station WMUA, and throughout the 1970s, the organization played a prominent role in providing programming to the station, offering programming highlighting African American music and current affairs.

The BCMP collection consists of many dozens of reel to reel audiotapes of radio broadcasts aired over WMUA during the 1970s and early 1980s by and for the university’s African American community. Included is a range of locally-produced public affairs, cultural, and music programming, with some content licensed from around the country. A few of the tapes are associated with the Five College’s National Public Radio affiliate, WFCR.

Subjects
  • African American college students
  • African American music
  • College radio stations--Massachusetts
  • WFCR (Radio station : Amherst, Mass.)
  • WMUA (Radio station : Amherst, Mass.)
Types of material
  • Sound recordings

Bond, Horace Mann, 1904-1972

Horace Mann Bond Papers, 1830-1979.
169 boxes (84.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 411

Horace Mann Bond, ca.1930
Horace Mann Bond, ca.1930

Educator, sociologist, scholar, and author. Includes personal and professional correspondence; administrative and teaching records; research data; manuscripts of published and unpublished speeches, articles and books; photographs; and Bond family papers, especially those of Horace Bond’s father, James Bond. Fully represented are Bond’s two major interests: black education, especially its history and sociological aspects, and Africa, particularly as related to educational and political conditions.

Correspondents include many notable African American educators, Africanists, activists, authors and others, such as Albert C. Barnes, Claude A. Barnett, Mary McLeod Bethune, Arna Bontemps, Ralph Bunche, Rufus Clement, J.G. St. Clair Drake, W.E.B. Du Bois, Edwin Embree, John Hope Franklin, E. Franklin Frazier, W.C. Handy, Thurgood Marshall, Benjamin E. Mays, Pauli Murray, Kwame Nkrumah, Robert Ezra Park, A. Phillip Randolph, Lawrence P. Reddick, A.A. Schomburg, George Shepperson, Carter G. Woodson and Monroe Work.

Subjects
  • Africa--Description and travel
  • African American educators
  • African Americans--Education--History--20th century
  • American Society of African Culture
  • Atlanta University
  • Dillard University
  • Fort Valley State College
  • International African American Corporation
  • Julius Rosenwald Fund
  • Lincoln University
  • Race relations--United States
Contributors
  • Barnes, Albert C. (Albert Coombs), 1872-1951
  • Bond, Horace Mann, 1904-1972
  • Bond, James, 1863-1929
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963
  • Nkrumah, Kwame, 1909-1972
Types of material
  • Photographs

Broadside Press

Broadside Press Collection, 1965-1984.
1 box, 110 vols. (3.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 571

Broadside 6
Broadside 6

A significant African American poet of the generation of the 1960s, Dudley Randall was an even more significant publisher of emerging African American poets and writers. Publishing works by important writers from Gwendolyn Brooks to Haki Madhubuti, Alice Walker, Etheridge Knight, Audre Lorde, Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni, and Sonia Sanchez, his Broadside Press in Detroit became an important contributor to the Black Arts Movement.

The Broadside Press Collection includes approximately 200 titles published by Randall’s press during its first decade of operation, the period of its most profound cultural influence. The printed works are divided into five series, Broadside poets (including chapbooks, books of poetry, and posters), anthologies, children’s books, the Broadside Critics Series (works of literary criticism by African American authors), and the Broadsides Series. . The collection also includes a selection of items used in promoting Broadside Press publications, including a broken run of the irregularly published Broadside News, press releases, catalogs, and fliers and advertising cards.

Subjects
  • African American poets
  • African American writers
  • Black Arts Movement
  • Poetry
Contributors
  • Broadside Press
  • Brooks, Gwendolyn, 1917-2000
  • Emanuel, James A
  • Giovanni, Nikki
  • Knight, Etheridge
  • Madhubuti, Haki R., 1942-
  • Randall, Dudley, 1914-
  • Sanchez, Sonia, 1934-
Types of material
  • Broadsides
  • Ephemera
  • Posters

Brown, John, 1800-1859

John Brown Research Collection, 1826-1942.
10 reels of microfilm (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 308 mf

Microfilm containing documents drawn from various repositories including John Brown’s correspondence with family, friends, and others; court records and testimony; transcripts of interviews and other personal reminiscences; drafts of narratives; memorandum book; drafts of speeches; church records; minutes of Anti-slavery Society of Lawrence, Kansas; financial and legal records; broadsides and circulars; newspaper clippings; other miscellaneous records.

Subjects
  • Abolitionists--United States--History
  • Slavery--United States--History
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Causes
Contributors
  • Brown, John, 1800-1859

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