Special Collections & University Archives University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Political activism (54 collections)
SCUA

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Activism of the 1980s

Activism of the 1980s Photograph Collection, 1985-1987.
(0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: PH 012

During the academic year 1986-1987, the campus at UMass Amherst was a hotbed of political protest, fueled in part by the US intervention in Central America. The arrival on campus of a CIA recruiting officer in November set off a string of demonstrations that attracted the support of activists Abbie Hoffman and Amy Carter, daughter of former president Jimmy Carter. The occupation of the Whitmore Administration Building was followed by a larger occupation of adjacent Munson Hall, resulting in a number of arrests. Hoffman, Carter, and eleven co-defendants were tried and acquitted on charges of disorderly conduct were tried in April 1987.

The Collection contains 61 mounted photographs of marches, demonstrations, and protests in Amherst and Northampton, Mass., taken by Charles F. Carroll, Byrne Guarnotta, and Libby Hubbard, all students at UMass Amherst. The photographs are a vivid record of campus and community activism, and particularly the mobilization against the CIA and American intervention in Central America, as well as the arrest and trial of Abbie Hoffman and Amy Carter.

Subjects
  • Amherst (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Anti-apartheid movements--Massachusetts
  • CIA on Trial Project (Amherst, Mass.)
  • Carter, Amy
  • Central America--Foreign relations--United States
  • Demonstrations--Massachusetts
  • Hoffman, Abbie
  • Northampton (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Student movements
  • United States--Foreign relations--Central America
  • United States. Central Intelligence Agency
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Students
Contributors
  • Carroll, Charles F
  • Guarnotta, Byrne
  • Hubbard, Libby
  • Radical Student Union
Types of material
  • Photographs

Albertson, Jeff

Jeff Albertson Photograph Collection, ca.1966-2005.
7 boxes (10.5 linear feet).
Call no.: PH 057

Born in Reading, Mass., on Sept 13, 1948, Jeff Albertson was still a student at Boston University, working on the staff of the BU News, when he was hired as a photographer by the Boston Globe. Reflecting the youth culture of the late 1960s and early 1970s, his photographs earned him positions with several prominent Boston alternative media outlets. Covering news, music, and the political interests of his generation, he served as photo editor for the Boston Phoenix and associate publisher for the Real Paper, and his work appeared regularly in mainstream publications such as Rolling Stone, People, and Boston Magazine. After becoming photo editor for the Medical Tribune News Group and moving to New York City in the 1980s, he met and married Charlene Laino. In later years, he became involved in early efforts to create websites devoted to issues surrounding health. Albertson died in 2008.

As a photographer, Albertson covered a wide range of subjects, with particular focus on music and social change. The many thousands of prints, slides, and negatives in the collection include stunning shots of Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, Neil Young, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and John Lee Hooker, activists such as Abbie Hoffman, politicians, and public personalities. The collection also includes several photographic essays centered on poverty, old age, fire fighting in Boston, and prisoners in Massachusetts (among other issues) along with a wide array of landscapes and street scenes.

Subjects
  • Boston (Mass.)--Photographs
  • Musicians--Photographs
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1965--Protest movements
Contributors
  • Simon, Peter
Types of material
  • Photographs

Alternative Energy Coalition

Alternative Energy Coalition, ca.1975-1985.
9 boxes (13.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 586

A product of the vibrant and progressive political culture of western Massachusetts during the early 1970s, the Alternative Energy Coalition played a key role in the growth of antinuclear activism. In 1974, the AEC helped mobilize support for Sam Lovejoy after he sabotaged a weather tower erected by Northeast Utilities in Montague, Mass., in preparation for a proposed nuclear power plant, and they helped organize the drive for a referendum opposing not only the proposed plant in Montague, but existing plants in Rowe, Mass., and Vernon, Vt. Forming extensive connections with other antinuclear organizations, the AEC also became one of the organizations that united in 1976 to form the Clamshell Alliance, which made an art of mass civil disobedience.

The AEC Records provide insight into grassroots activism of the 1970s and 1980s, galvanized by the seemingly unrestrained growth of the nuclear power industry. The records, emanating from the Hampshire County branch, contain both research materials used by the AEC and organizational and promotional materials produced by them, including publications, minutes of meetings, correspondence, and materials used during protests. Of particular interest are a thick suite of organizational and other information pertaining to the occupation of the Seabrook (N.H.) nuclear power plant in 1979 and minutes, notes, and other materials relating to the founding and early days of the Clamshell Alliance. The collection is closely related to the Antinuclear Collection (MS 547).

Subjects
  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
  • Hampshire County (Mass.)--History
  • Nonviolence--Massachusetts
  • Nuclear energy--Massachusetts
  • Pacifists--Massachusetts
  • Political activists--Massachusetts
  • Renewable energy source
  • Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant (N.H.)
  • Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station
Contributors
  • Alternative Energy Coalition
  • Clamshell Alliance
Types of material
  • Realia

Barton, Thomas

Thomas Barton Papers, 1947-1977 (Bulk: 1960-1974).
4 boxes (2 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 539

YPSL logo
YPSL logo

In the early 1960s, Tom Barton (b. 1935) emerged as a leader in the Left-wing of the Young People’s Socialist League, the national youth affiliate of the Socialist Party. Deeply committed to the civil rights and antiwar struggles and to revolutionary organizing, Barton operated in Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York and was a delegate and National Secretary at the 1964 convention in which tensions within YPSL led to its dissolution.

A small, but rich collection, the Barton Papers provide a glimpse into the career of a long-time Socialist and activist. From Barton’s entry into the Young People’s Socialist League in the latest 1950s through his work with the Wildcat group in the early 1970s, the collection contains outstanding content on the civil rights and antiwar movements and the strategies for radical organizing. The collection is particularly rich on two periods of Barton’s career — his time in the YPSL and Student Peace Union (1960-1964) and in the Wildcat group (1968-1971) — and particularly for the events surrounding the dissolution of YPSL in 1964, following a heated debate over whether to support Lyndon Johnson for president. The collection includes correspondence with other young radicals such as Martin Oppenheimer, Lyndon Henry, Juan McIver, and Joe Weiner.

Subjects
  • Antiwar movements
  • Civil rights movements
  • Communists
  • Revolutionaries
  • Socialist Party of the United States of America
  • Socialists--United States
  • Student Peace Union
  • Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
  • Wildcat
  • Young People's Socialist League
Contributors
  • Barton, Thomas
  • Gilbert, Carl
  • Henry, Lyndon
  • MacFadyen, Gavin
  • McIver, Juan
  • Oppenheimer, Martin
  • Shatkin, Joan
  • Shatkin, Norm
  • Verret, Joe
  • Weiner, Joe

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

Bowman, Mitzi

Mitzi Bowman Papers, ca.1970-2010.
12 boxes (18 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 761

Mitzi Bowman, 2012
Mitzi Bowman, 2012

For years, Mitzi Bowman and her husband Pete were stalwarts of the progressive community in Connecticut, and tireless activists in the movements for social justice, peace, and the environment. Shortly after their marriage in 1966, the Bowman’s settled in Milford, Conn., where Pete worked as an engineer. In close collaboration, the couple became ardent opponents of the war in Vietnam as well as opponents of nuclear weaponry. The focus of their activism took a new direction in 1976, when they learned of plans to ship spent nuclear fuel rods near their home. Founding their first antinuclear organization, STOP (Stop the Transport of Pollution), they forced the shipments to be rerouted, and they soon devoted themselves to shutting down nuclear power in Connecticut completely, including the Millstone and Connecticut Yankee facilities, the latter of which was decommissioned in 1996. The Bowmans were active in a wide array of other groups, including the New Haven Green Party, the Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone, the People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE), and they were founding members of Fight the (Utility Rate) Hike, the Progressive Action Roundtable, and Don’t Waste Connecticut. Two years after Pete died on Feb. 14, 2006 at the age of 78, Mitzi relocated to Vermont, carrying on her activism.

The Bowman Papers center on Mitzi and Pete Bowman’s antinuclear activism, dating from their first forays with STOP in the mid-1970s through the growth of opposition to Vermont Yankee in the approach to 2010. The collection offers a valuable glimpse into the early history of grassroots opposition to nuclear energy and the Bowmans’ approach to organizing and their connections with other antinuclear activists and to the peace and environmental movements are reflected in an extensive series of notes, press releases, newsclippings, talks, ephemera, and correspondence. The collections also includes extensive subject files on radiation, nuclear energy, peace, and related topics.

Subjects
  • Antinuclear movement--Connecticut
  • Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone
  • Don't Waste Connecticut
  • STOP (Stop the Transport of Pollution)
Contributors
  • Bowman, Pete

Brabant (Belgium)

Brabant Revolution Collection, 1789-1790.
(9 linear feet).
Call no.: RB

Sparked in January 1789 by the efforts of Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II to remake politics in the Austrian-dominated Low Countries, the Brabant Revolution began with a series of intense riots coupled with rising political opposition to foreign rule. After a rebel army defeated Austrian forces at the Battle of Turnhout in Oct. 1789, the revolution gained steam and by December, the Brabant declared its indepedence, forming the new United States of Belgium. Although resistance to Austrian rule spread throughout the region and several key towns fell to the rebels, the new state was fragile and gained little support from foreign powers. After dissension began to afflict the revolutionary ranks, pitting conservative “Statists” against allegedly anticlerical “Vonckists,” Emperor Leopold II (successor to Joseph) moved in in force. By the end of 1790, the rebellion was crushed.

The Brabant Revolution produced a vigorous literature on all sides, favoring and opposing revolution, representing the various factional interests, and the wide range of ideologies and political ideas wrapped up in the revolutionary struggle. The collection (also known as the Collection Brabançonne) consists of dozens of pamphlets and books issued in the years 1789 and 1790, many of exceptional scarcity, reflecting a rising national consciousness that resulted in the formation of the modern state of Belgium. The publications are written primarily in French or Dutch.

Subjects
  • Belgium--History--Revolution, 1789-1790
  • Brabant (Belgium)--History--18th century

Chamberlin, Judi, 1944-2010

Judi Chamberlin Papers, ca.1970-2010.
23 boxes (34.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 768

Judi Chamberlin, 2000
Judi Chamberlin, 2000

A pioneer in the psychiatric survivors’ movement, Judi Chamberlin spent four decades as an activist for the civil rights of mental patients. After several voluntary hospitalizations for depression as a young woman, Chamberlin was involuntarily committed for the only time in 1971, having been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her experiences in the mental health system galvanized her to take action on patients’ rights, and after attending a meeting of the newly formed Mental Patients’ Liberation Project in New York, she helped found the Mental Patients’ Liberation Front in Cambridge, Mass. Explicitly modeled on civil rights organizations of the time, she became a tireless advocate for the patient’s perspective and for choice in treatment. Her book, On Our Own: Patient Controlled Alternatives to the Mental Health System (1978), is considered a key text in the intellectual development of the movement. Working internationally, she became an important figure in several other organizations, including the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilition at Boston University, the Ruby Rogers Advocacy Center, the National Disability Rights Network, and the National Empowerment Center. In recognition of her advocacy, she was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities in 1992, the David J. Vail National Advocacy Award, and the 1995 Pike Prize, which honors those who have given outstanding service to people with disabilities. Chamberlin died of pulmonary disease at home in Arlington, Mass., in January 2010.

An important record of the development of the psychiatric survivors’ movement from its earliest days, the Chamberlin Papers include rich correspondence between Chamberlin, fellow activists, survivors, and medical professionals; records of her work with the MPLF and other rights organizations, conferences and meetings, and her efforts to build the movement internationally.

Subjects
  • Antipsychiatry
  • Ex-mental patients
  • People with disabilities--Civil rights
  • People with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.
Contributors
  • Mental Patients Liberation Front
  • Mental Patients Liberation Project
  • National Empowerment Center
Types of material
  • Videotapes

Citizens for Participation in Political Action. Franklin and Hampshire Counties

CPPAX Franklin and Hampshire Chapter Records, 1991-1999.
2 boxes (2 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 558

Founded in 1962, the mission of Citizens for Participation in Political Action (CPPAX) was to increase citizen involvement in politics and policy making, and to promote social and economic justice both within the U.S. and globally through U.S. foreign policy. The Franklin and Hampshire Counties chapter of CPPAX has been active in a number of issues of both local and national significance.

Minutes of meetings, subject files, and newsletters reveal issues of importance to the local chapter of CPPAX, issues that include clean elections, peace, nuclear abolition, and health care.

Subjects
  • Activists--Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Citizens for Participation in Political Action. Franklin and Hampshire Counties

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