Special Collections & University Archives University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Antiracism (30 collections)
SCUA

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Meier, August, 1923-2003

August Meier Collection, 1837-1984.
287 titles (30 linear feet).
Call no.: Rare Book Collections

A pioneer in African American history, August Meier was a model of an engaged academic, a prolific writer, active participant in the civil rights struggle, and staunch member of the NAACP, SNCC, and CORE. While pursuing graduate work at Columbia under Henry Steele Commager, Meier taught at a succession of Historical Black Colleges, including Tougaloo (1945-1949), Fisk (1953-1956), and Morgan State (1957-1964). His dissertation, completed in 1957, became the first of eleven books he wrote or edited, Negro Thought in America, 1880-1915 (1963), with much of later work conducted in collaboration with Elliott Rudwick and John Bracey. Meier joined the faculty at Kent State University in 1967 and remained there until his retirement in 1993. His much-anticipated monograph on the history of the NAACP had not been completed at the time of death in 2003.

The Meier collection is am exceptional assemblage of books, pamphlets, and periodicals centering on African American history and culture, the antislavery and civil rights movements, and race relations. Reflecting his research interests and personal history, the collection includes a number of first editions, signed copies, and scarce titles. Many other books and journals owned by Meier have been integrated into the general collections of the University Libraries.

Subjects
  • African Americans--History
  • Antislavery movements
  • Black Panther Party
  • Civil rights movements
  • Congress of Racial Equality
  • Du Bois, W. E. B.(William Edward Burghardt),1868-1963
  • Race relations
Contributors
  • Meier, August, 1923-2003

Mount Toby Meeting of Friends

Mount Toby Meeting of Friends Collection, 1977-1991.
1 box (1.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 694

The Northampton Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends (later the Middle Connecticut Valley Monthly Meeting) was formally established in 1939, bringing together the small community of Friends in Western Massachusetts. In 1959, the small preparative meetings in Amherst, Greenfield, Northampton, and South Hadley agreed to consolidate to create a more vital gathering. After five years without a fixed location, a Friend was moved to donate three acres of land on Long Plain Road in Leverett on which to build a proper meetinghouse. When that building opened in 1964, the meeting was renamed the Mt Toby Meeting.

Reflecting a strong history of promoting peace social justice, the Mt. Toby collection documents Friends’ involvement in a wide variety of issues ranging from war tax resistance (Randy Kehler and Betsy Corner), the “Colrain action” when the Kehler/Corner house was seized by the IRS), peace education and civil disobedience, refugee resettlement, the Sanctuary movement, and support for LGBT issues and racial equality. The collection consists largely of fliers and newsletters, ephemera, and newspaper clippings.

Subjects
  • Corner, Betsy
  • Kehler, Randy
  • Mount Toby Meeting of Friends (Quakers)
  • Pacifists
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • Sanctuary movement
  • War tax resistance--Massachusetts

Obear, Clark Hopkins

Clark Hopkins Obear Diaries, 1845-1888.
4 vols. (2 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 601

A resident of New Ipswich, N.H., Clark Obear (1881-1888) was an ardent supporter of the temperance and antislavery movements, and was deeply involved in the affairs of his church and community. Obear and his wife Lydia Ann Swasey (b.1820), whom he married June 8, 1848, were long-time teachers in Hillsborough County, but he worked at various points as a farmer and in insurance, and served in public office as a deputy sheriff, a Lieutenant Colonel in the militia, a fence viewer and pound keeper, and for several years he was superintendent of schools. Obear and his wife had two children, Annabel Clark (b. June 25, 1852, later wife of George Conant) and Francis A. (b. July 7, 1857).

The Obear collection consists of four diaries dated 1845-1851 (252p.), 1871-1877 (ca.280p.), 1878-1883 (280p.), and 1884-1888 (203p.). Although most of the entries are brief, they form a continuous coverage of many years and offer details that provide a real sense of the rhythms of life in a small village in south central New Hampshire. Of particular note, Obear carefully notes the various lectures he attends in town and the organizations of which he is part, including middle class reform movements like temperance and antislavery.

Subjects
  • Abolitionists--New Hampshire
  • Antislavery movements--New Hampshire
  • New Ipswich (N.H.)
  • Temperance
Contributors
  • Obear, Clark H.
Types of material
  • Diaries

Radical Student Union (RSU)

Radical Student Union Records, 1905-2006 (Bulk: 1978-2005).
22 boxes (14.5 linear feet).
Call no.: RG 45/80 R1

Founded by Charles Bagli in 1976, the Revolutionary Student Brigade at UMass Amherst (later the Radical Student Union) has been a focal point for organization by politically radical students. RSU members have responded to issues of social justice, addressing both local, regional, and national concerns ranging from militarism to the environment, racism and sexism to globalization.

The RSU records document the history of a particularly long-lived organization of left-leaning student activists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Beginning in the mid-1970s, as students were searching for ways to build upon the legacy of the previous decade, the RSU has been a constant presence on campus, weathering the Reagan years, tough budgetary times, and dramatic changes in the political culture at the national and state levels. The RSU reached its peak during the 1980s with protests against American involvement in Central America, CIA recruitment on campus, American support for the Apartheid regime in South Africa, and government-funded weapons research, but in later years, the organization has continued to adapt, organizing against globalization, sweatshops, the Iraq War, and a host of other issues.

Subjects
  • Anti-apartheid movements--Massachusetts
  • Central America--Foreign relations--United States
  • College students--Political activity
  • Communism
  • El Salvador--History--1979-1992
  • Guatemala--History--1945-1982
  • Iraq War, 2003-
  • Nicaragua--History--1979-1990
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • Persian Gulf War, 1991
  • Political activists--Massachusetts--History
  • Racism
  • Socialism
  • Student movements
  • United States--Foreign relations--Central America
  • United States. Central Intelligence Agency
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
Contributors
  • Progressive Student Network
  • Radical Student Union
  • Revolutionary Student Brigade
Types of material
  • Banners

Roxbury Action Program

Roxbury Action Program Collection, 1944-1975 (Bulk: 1966-1974).
2 boxes (1 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 765

Ernest Hamilton, <em>Black Power: What is it?</em> (1966)
Ernest Hamilton, Black Power: What is it? (1966)

The Roxbury Action Program and Black Panther Party of Boston were both founded in the Roxbury section of Boston following the riots of 1968. RAP pursued community revitalization through Black self-determination and enjoyed success in its housing initiatives and in providing social services ranging from support for Black businesses to Black draft counseling, health and legal referrals, a Black library, and community awareness program.

Although the exact provenance of this small collection is uncertain, the materials appear to have been collected by an individual, possibly a woman, associated with the early days of the Roxbury Action Program and Boston branch of the Black Panther Party. Steeped in Black Power ideology, the collection includes publications of the Black Panther Party, the Nation of Islam, and other organizations, as well as an insightful series of transcripts of Roxbury Action Program meetings held during its first few months of operation.

Subjects
  • African Americans--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Black Panther Party
  • Black power
  • Housing--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Nation of Islam (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Roxbury (Boston, Mass.)--History
Contributors
  • Morrison, George
Types of material
  • Newspapers
  • Photographs

Ryan, Christina

Christina Ryan Collection, ca.1978-1995.
15 boxes (8 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 523

The collection includes publications, ephemera, periodicals, and other communications from a range of radical groups. Much of the collection relates to the sedition trial of Raymond Luc Levasseur and the Ohio Seven, but ranges into related topics, including political prisoners, Communist and revolutionary action, Puerto Rican independence, African liberation movements, and anti-Klan and antiracist activity. It is organized into six series: Ohio Seven (3 boxes), Political Prisoners (2 boxes), John Brown Anti-Klan Committee (1 box), Subject Files (5 boxes), and Radical Periodicals (4 boxes).

Subjects
  • Activists--Massachusetts
  • African Americans--Civil rights
  • Anti-imperialist movements--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Black Power
  • Communism--United States--History
  • Levasseur, Raymond Luc
  • Political activists--Massachusetts
  • Political prisoners--United States
  • Racism
  • Radicalism--United States
  • Revolutionaries--Puerto Rico
  • Sedition
Contributors
  • Ryan, Christina

Saltonstall, Stephen L.

Stephen L. Saltonstall Collection, 1962.
60 items
Call no.: PH 014 digital

Civil rights demonstration, Cairo, Ill., 1962
Civil rights demonstration, Cairo, Ill., 1962

In the summer 1962, future Harvard student Steve Saltonstall became one of the early wave of white northerners who went into the Jim Crow south to work for civil rights. During that summer, he worked with SNCC to organize public accommodations in Cairo, Ill., and with an AFSC crew to help clear brush from a drainage ditch near Circle City, Missouri, encountering local resistance in both places. Saltonstall later became an attorney and currently practices in Vermont.

The Saltonstall collection consists of approximately sixty photographs taken by John Engel during his tour with an AFSC crew during the summer of 1962. While most of the images depict the crew’s work near Circle City, Missouri, six photos document a civil rights rally in Cairo, Ill. The images are available in digital form only.

Subjects
  • American Friends Service Committee
  • Cairo (Ill.)
  • Circle City (Mo.)
  • Civil rights demonstrations--Illinois--Photographs
Contributors
  • Engel, John P
  • Saltonstall, Stephen L
Types of material
  • Photographs

Stokes, Daniel M. J.

Daniel M. J. and Joyce Stokes Papers, 1984-1996.
3 boxes (1.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 661

From 1987 through early 1988, Daniel and Joyce Stokes published Into the Night, “a newsletter for freedom for political prisoners held in the United States.” Based in Brooklyn, N.Y., this simply-produced publication offered updates and commentary on Americans imprisoned for politically-motivated acts. Reflecting both the legacy of 1960s radicalism and the resurgent activism associated with U.S. imperialism in Central America, Into the Night offered news on the Ohio 7 sedition trial, the MOVE organization, and the fate of Plowshares war resisters.

The Stokes collection contains correspondence from subscribers and supporters of Into the Night, fleshing out their political philosophy and the conditions of imprisonment. Drawn from groups including the MOVE organization, the United Freedom Front, Black Liberation Army, and Plowshares, the correspondents include Ramona Africa, Alberto Aranda, Philip Berrigan, Marilyn Buck, Carl Kabat, Ray Luc Levasseur, Ruchell Cinque Magee, and Carol Manning. The collection also includes copies of other radical publications and a complete run of Into the Night itself.

Subjects
  • African American prisoners
  • African American radicals
  • Anti-imperialist movements
  • Communists
  • Into the Night
  • MOVE (Group)
  • Ohio 7
  • Plowshares
  • Political prisoners
  • Prisoners
  • Radicals
  • Revolutionaries
  • United Freedom Front
Contributors
  • Africa, Ramona
  • Aranda, Alberto
  • Berrigan, Philip
  • Buck, Marilyn
  • Gelabert, Ana Lucia
  • Hernandez, Alvaro L
  • Kabat, Carl
  • Levasseur, Ray Luc
  • Magee, Ruchell Cinque
  • Stokes, Daniel M. J.
  • Stokes, Joyce
Types of material
  • Newsletters

Urban League of Springfield (Mass.)

Urban League of Springfield Records, 1972-1975.
1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 150

Founded in 1914, the Urban League of Springfield is a community development and service agency working to secure equal opportunity for minority groups in such fields as employment, education, housing, health, and personal welfare.

The collection identifies issues and activities the league was involved in during the mid-1970s, including two surveys they conducted: racial attitudes in Springfield and voting behavior in the city.

Subjects
  • Springfield (Mass.)--History
  • Springfield (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Springfield (Mass.)--Race relations
Contributors
  • Urban League of Springfield (Mass.)

Winston, Robert

Bob Winston Collection, 1964-1993.
(15 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 452

A veteran of the Students for a Democratic Society and the struggle for civil rights in Kentucky, Bob Winston moved to Amherst, Mass., in the early 1970s. He was a committed advocate for peace and social justice and long-time head of the Valley Peace Center.

The Winston Collection includes a remarkable array of Movement-related publications, from the mainstream Ramparts to New Left Notes and hundreds of pamphlets and ephemeral items.

Subjects
  • Civil rights movements
  • Pacifists
  • Peace movements
  • Political activists--Massachusetts
  • Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--Massachusetts

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