Special Collections & University Archives University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Political activism (54 collections)
SCUA

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Cohen, Alvin P.

Alvin P. Cohen Collection, 1957-1968.
2 boxes (1.6 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 145

As an undergraduate at the University of California Berkeley in the late 1950s, Alvin P. Cohen planned on a career in engineering, but after earning his bachelors degree and working as a laboratory technician, he returned to undergraduate status and then to graduate school in Chinese. Cohen’s time at Berkeley coincided with the turbulence of the first wave of student revolt, the civil rights and antiwar movements, and the Free Speech Movement, however as a married man with children, he was more an observer than activist. After completing his dissertation, The Avenging Ghost: Moral Judgment in Chinese Historical Texts, in 1971, he joined the faculty at UMass Amherst, initially with a split appointment teaching Chinese and working as East Asian bibliographer in the library. Over the next three and a half decades, he helped build the Program in Asian Languages and Literature, becoming its Chair in the 1990s and President of the Warring States Project.

Consisting of newsclippings, fliers, and other ephemera collected as the Free Speech Movement was at its height, the Cohen collection provides a valuable window on 1960s activism and the cross-fertilization between the various student movements. The materials cover a range of issues from free speech on campus to the California legislature, civil rights, the war in Vietnam, and the House Un-American Activities Committee. Of particular interest is a letter received by Cohen from a friend Doug Wachter in 1960, shortly after Wachter had been called before HUAC.

Subjects
  • College students--United States--Political activity
  • Student movements--California
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Program in Asian Languages and Literatures
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Contributors
  • Cohen, Alvin P.

Communist Party of Massachusetts

Communist Party of Massachusetts Collection, 1942-1954.
1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 538

Documenting Communist Party activities in Massachusetts during the 1940s-1950s, this small collection consists of pamphlets, broadsides, and election materials, which cover issues such as housing, freedom of speech, McCarthyism, and the war in Korea.

Subjects
  • Communism--United States--History
  • Communists--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Communist Party of Massachusetts

Construyamos Juntos

Construyamos Juntos Collection, 1986.
1 box (1.5 linear feet).
Call no.: PH 052

In May 1985, a group of activists in Western Massachusetts opposed to the interventionist U.S. foreign policy of the Reagan era formed a construction brigade to assist with basic human needs and express solidarity with the people of Central America. Modeled on the Venceremos Brigade, Construyamos Juntos, Building Peace of Nicaragua, raised over $20,000 for construction supplies in addition to funds for individual travel. Between January and March 1986, the 17 activists joined a smaller brigade from West Virginia in constructing the Carlos Armin Gonzales elementary school in San Pedro de Lovago. During their first month in Nicaragua, they witnessed a Contra assault on the town that left one assailant dead and two residents of the town wounded.

This exhibit includes 55 mounted images and 99 35mm slides taken during the brigade’s time in Nicaragua, documenting the brigade’s construction work and providing a valuable visual record of life in Nicaragua during the Contra war. Used in public talks about Contruyamos Juntos, the collection includes exhibit labels that explain the purpose and activity of the brigade, the history of Nicaragua, and the Contra attack in January 1986.

Subjects
  • Nicaragua--History--1979-1990
Types of material
  • Photographs

D’Annunzio, Gabriele, 1863-1938

Gabriele D'Annunzio Collection, 1919-1920.
1 box (0.1 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 763

Seal of the City of Fiume
Seal of the City of Fiume

An Italian poet, journalist, novelist, and dramatist, Gabriele D’Annunzio enjoyed a flamboyant career in international affairs after the First World War when he raised a small army and seized the port of Fiume (now Rijeka, Croatia). Failing in his attempts to annex his territory to Italy, D’Annunzio reigned as Duce over the micro-state for over a year before being forced to relinquish control.

The fifteen imprints comprising this collection of scarce broadsides, all printed in the short-lived Free State of Fiume. During the brief period of his reign in Fiume, D’Annunzio issued propagandistic broadsides, proclamations, and leaflets almost daily, often distributing them by airplane drop over the city. Included is a rare first edition of D’Annunzio’s most famous piece from the Fiume period, Italia e vita.

Subjects
  • Free State of Fiume--History--20th century
  • Italy--History--1914-1922
  • Rijeka (Croatia)--History--20th centur
  • World War, 1914-1918--Baltic State
  • World War, 1914-1918--Italy
Contributors
  • D'Annunzio, Gabriele, 1863-193
  • Druscovich, Marco
  • Zoll, Corrado
Types of material
  • Broadsides
  • Fliers (Printed material)

Diamond, Stephen

Steve Diamond Papers, 1968-2005.
13 boxes (6 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 501

Steve Diamond and border collie<br />at Montague Farm, ca.1980
Steve Diamond and border collie
at Montague Farm, ca.1980

An author and activist, Steve Diamond worked for the newly formed Liberation News Service in 1968 covering stories like the student strike at Columbia University. After more than a year of internal strife resulting from ideological differences, the alternative news service split into two factions, with Marshall Bloom and Raymond Mungo leading a new division of LNS in rural New England. Diamond, among those who left for New England, settled into life in a commune on old Ripley Farm in Montague, Massachusetts. His experiences during the first year on the farm are recorded in his book, What the Trees Said. Diamond later worked as a writer and consultant for Green Mountain Post Films, editor of the Valley Advocate and Boston Phoenix, and as a contributor for The Atlantic Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, and the Village Voice.

This collection consists chiefly of Diamond’s correspondence and writing, including drafts of his stories and articles, research notes, and diary entries. The collection also contains printed articles by and about Diamond, digital images, and audio recordings.

Subjects
  • Activists--Massachusetts
  • Bloom, Marshall, 1944-1969
  • Communal living--Massachusetts
  • Liberation News Service (Montague, Mass.)
  • Liberation News Service (New York, N.Y.)
  • Mungo, Raymond, 1946-
Contributors
  • Diamond, Stephen

Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963

W.E.B. Du Bois Papers, 1803-1984.
328 boxes (168.75 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 312

W.E.B. Du Bois
W.E.B. Du Bois

Scholar, writer, editor of The Crisis and other journals, co-founder of the Niagara Movement, the NAACP, and the Pan African Congresses, international spokesperson for peace and for the rights of oppressed minorities, W.E.B. Du Bois was a son of Massachusetts who articulated the strivings of African Americans and developed a trenchant analysis of the problem of the color line in the twentieth century.

The Du Bois Papers contain almost 165 linear feet of the personal and professional papers of a remarkable social activist and intellectual. Touching on all aspects of his long life from his childhood during Reconstruction through the end of his life in 1963, the collection reflects the extraordinary breadth of his social and academic commitments from research in sociology to poetry and plays, from organizing for social change to organizing for Black consciousness.

Subjects
  • African Americans--Civil rights
  • African Americans--History--1877-1964
  • Crisis (New York, N.Y.)
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Views on democracy
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
  • Pan-Africanism
  • United States--Race relations
Contributors
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963
Types of material
  • Photographs

EarthAction

EarthAction Records, 1992-2008.
26 boxes (39 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 562

Established by Lois Barber in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1992 with their first campaign at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, EarthAction has been organizing international campaigns ever since. As the world’s largest action network, the group’s campaigns address a variety of global issues from climate change and nuclear weapons to children’s rights and empowering women to protect the land. With a mission both to inform people about pressing problems facing the world and to move them to action, EarthAction creates and distributes information kits aimed at different audiences: individuals and groups, policymakers, and journalists.

The collection includes administrative files that illustrate the process of building a campaign, financial records, and publications, as well as action, legislative, and media kits created for many of the group’s international campaigns.

Subjects
  • Environmental justice
  • Environmentalism
  • Peace movements
  • Social action
  • Social justice

Famous Long Ago Archive

Famous Long Ago Collection, ca.1960-2005.

The barn, Montague Farm<br />Photo by Roy Finestone, Oct. 1976
The barn, Montague Farm
Photo by Roy Finestone, Oct. 1976

Ray Mungo’s Famous Long Ago (1970) and Steve Diamond’s What the Trees Said (1971) are classic visions of late 1960s counterculture and of life in New England communes. The communes on which Mungo and Diamond settled, Packer Corner and the Montague Farm, became the center of what might be considered a single extended community, embracing the Wendell Farm and Johnson Pasture and Tree Frog Farm in Vermont. The Farmers themselves were, and remain, a diverse group, including photographers, novelists, and poets, artists, actors, and activists.

An umbrella collection, the Famous Long Ago Archive contains a growing number of collections relating to the communes at Montague Farm, Packer Corners, Johnson Pasture, Wendell Farm, and Tree Frog Farm. These range from the papers of Steve Diamond, Raymond Mungo, and Jonathan Maslow to Randy Kehler and Betsy Corner (the latter of whom lived at Montague Farm), the records of the Liberation News Service, the Alternative Energy Coalition, and Musicians United for Safe Energy, to the photographic collections of Roy Finestone and Stephen Josephs. View all the Famous Long Ago Collections.

Subjects
  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
  • Communal living--Massachusetts
  • Communal living--Vermont
  • Johnson Pasture Community (Vt.)
  • Montague Farm Community (Mass.)
  • Packer Corners Community (Vt.)
  • Political activists--Massachusetts

Ferguson, Ann

Ann Ferguson Papers, 1970-2007.
23 boxes (33 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 101

Ann Ferguson began her tenure at UMass as an Instructor in 1964 as she completed the last year of her doctoral work at Brown under supervision of R.M. Chisolm. With academic interests in ethics, aesthetics, women’s studies, and social and political philosophy, Ferguson has been politically engaged in human rights and social justice initiatives since the 1960s, supporting organizations such as Feminist Aid to Central America, Marxist Activist Philosophers, and the Radical Philosopher’s Association. In 1995, Ferguson accepted a three-year term as Director of Women’s Studies, describing the program as one with the “roots in political activism to fight social injustice.” Despite her 2008 retirement, Ferguson continues to teach in both Philosophy and Women’s Studies.

The Ferguson Papers document Ann Ferguson’s academic career at the University of Massachusetts Amherst as well as her commitment to political activism and social change. The papers include material relating to campus politics, the women’s movement and other social movements, Philosophy Department files (1971-1997) from Ferguson’s tenure as Head of the Philosophy Department, and course materials from both Women’s Studies and Philosophy. Also included among the papers are professional correspondence, feminist pamphlets (1970s-1980s), and several posters from Ferguson’s office.

Subjects
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Philosopy
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Program in Women's Studies
Contributors
  • Ferguson, Ann

Foster, Nancy E.

Nancy E. Foster Papers, 1972-2010.
4 boxes (6 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 753

Nancy E. Foster
Nancy E. Foster

For the better part of four decades, Nancy E. Foster was active in the struggle for social justice, peace, and political reform. From early work in civil rights through her engagement in political reform in Amherst, Mass., Foster was recognized for her work in the movements opposing war, nuclear power, and the assault on civil liberties after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Locally, she worked with her fellow members of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst and with interfaith coalitions to address problems of hunger and homelessness.

Centered in western Massachusetts and concentrated in the last decade of her life (2000-2010), the Nancy Foster Papers includes a record of one woman’s grassroots activism for peace, civil liberties, and social justice. The issues reflected in the collection range from the assault on civil liberties after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to immigration, hunger and poverty, the Iraq Wars, and the conflict in Central America during the 1980s, and much of the material documents Nancy’s involvement with local organizations such as the Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst. The collection also contains a valuable record of Nancy’s participation in local politics in Amherst, beginning with the records of the 1972 committee which was charged with reviewing the Town Meeting.

Subjects
  • Amherst (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Civil rights--Massachusetts
  • Disaster relief
  • El Salvador--History--1979-1992
  • Hunger
  • Interfaith Cot Shelter (Amherst, Mass.)
  • Iraq War, 2003-2011
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001
  • War on Terrorism, 2001-2009
Contributors
  • ACLU
  • Lay Academy for Oecumenical Studies
  • Massachusetts Voters for Clean Elections
  • Olver, John
  • Pyle, Christopher H.
  • Swift, Alice
  • Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst
Types of material
  • Photographs

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