Special Collections & University Archives University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Social justice (63 collections)
SCUA

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Laymen’s Academy for Oecumenical Studies (LAOS)

Laymen's Academy for Oecumenical Studies Records, 1956-1976.
22 boxes (11.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 020

An oecumenical ministry based in Amherst, Massachusetts, that sought to inspire local citizens to act upon their religious faith in their daily lives and occupations, and to reinvigorate religious dialogue between denominations.

Includes by-laws, minutes, membership records, news clippings, press releases, treasurer’s reports, letters to and from David S. King, correspondence between religious leaders and local administrators, and printed materials documenting programs and organizations in which the Laymen’s Academy for Oecumenical Studies (L.A.O.S.) participated or initiated, especially Faith and Life Meetings. Also contains questionnaires, announcements, bulletins, and photographs.

Subjects
  • Christian union--Massachusetts--History
  • Interdenominational cooperation--Massachusetts--History
Contributors
  • King, David S., 1927-
  • Laymen's Academy for Oecumenical Studies (Amherst, Mass.)
Types of material
  • Photographs

Lerner, Steve, 1946-

Steve Lerner Papers, 1994-2011.
15 boxes (22.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 673

Diamond, La.
Diamond, La.

For decades, the writer Steve Lerner has been a significant contributor to public awareness of the issues surrounding environmental justice. Immersed in the environmental movement through his work as research director at Commonweal, a health and environment research institute founded with his brother Michael in 1976, Lerner earned wide recognition for his first book, Eco-Pioneers (1998), about “practical visionaries” who developed pragmatic solutions to environmental problems. In two subsequent books, Lerner turned to an examination of the impact of environmental toxins and industrial pollutants on low-income communities and people of color and the rise of grassroots opposition within those communities. In Diamond (2006), Lerner explored the impact of a Shell Chemical plant in Louisiana as a microcosm of the broader environmental-justice movement, and more recently, Sacrifice Zones (2010) traced the organization and resistance against industrial and chemical pollutants in a dozen communities in the eastern United States. In 2007, Lerner left his position at Commonweal, but continues his research and writing on environmental issues.

The research notes, interviews, photographs and other documentation comprising the Lerner collection form the basis for Lerner’s three major books.

Subjects
  • Environmental justice
  • Environmentalism
Types of material
  • Audiotapes
  • Photographs

Liberation News Service

Famous Long Ago Archive

Liberation News Service Records, 1967-1974.
(30.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 546

Raymond Mungo, 1968
Raymond Mungo, 1968

In 1967, Marshall Bloom and Raymond Mungo, former editors of the student newspapers of Amherst College and Boston University, were fired from the United States Student Press Association for their radical views. In response they collaborated with colleagues and friends to found the Liberation News Service, an alternative news agency aimed at providing inexpensive images and text reflecting a countercultural outlook. From its office in Washington, D.C., LNS issued twice-weekly packets containing news articles, opinion pieces, and photographs reflecting a radical perspective on the war in Vietnam, national liberation struggles abroad, American politics, and the cultural revolution. At its height, the Service had hundreds of subscribers, spanning the gamut of college newspapers and the underground and alternative press. Its readership was estimated to be in the millions.

Two months after moving to New York City in June 1968, the LNS split into two factions. The more traditional Marxist activists remained in New York, while Bloom and Mungo, espousing a broader cultural view, settled on farms in western Massachusetts and southern Vermont. The story of LNS, as well as of the split, is told in Mungo’s 1970 classic book Famous Long Ago. By 1969 Bloom’s LNS farm, though still holding the organization’s original press, had begun its long life as a farm commune in Montague, Mass. Montague (whose own story is told in Steve Diamond’s What the Trees Said) survived in its original form under a number of resident groups until its recent sale to another non-profit organization. Mungo’s Packer Corners Farm, near Brattleboro, the model for his well-known book, Total Loss Farm, survives today under the guidance of some of its own original founders.

The LNS Records include a relatively complete run of LNS packets 1-120 (1967-1968), along with business records, miscellaneous correspondence, some artwork, and printing artifacts, including the LNS addressograph.

Subjects
  • Activists--Massachusetts
  • Communal living--Massachusetts
  • Journalists--Massachusetts
  • Liberation News Service (New York, N.Y.)
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • Political activists--Massachusetts
  • Social justice--Massachusetts
  • Student movements
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Liberation News Service (Montague, Mass.)

Massachusetts. Special Commission on Unequal Educational Opportunity

Massachusetts Special Commission on Unequal Educational Opportunity Records, 1970-1986.
1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 126

The Special Commission on the Reorganization of Higher Education was established to investigate and review Massachusetts laws concerning elementary and secondary education. In order to determine the existence and extent of unequal educational opportunity services, the commission reviewed the state’s school systems as well as the educational laws, programs, and school systems of other states.

Consists of records of the Special Commission on the Reorganization of Higher Education Records, including materials relating to the Boston Community Reorganization, a federal finance proposal, lottery distribution, and school finance reform.

Subjects
  • Education--Massachusetts--History
Contributors
  • Massachusetts. Special Commission on Unequal Educational Opportunity

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

Morehouse, Ward, 1929-

Ward Morehouse Papers, ca.1950-2012.
120 boxes (180 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 764

A writer, educator, and activist for human rights and social justice, Ward Morehouse was a prominent critic of corporate power and globalization. Raised in a family of progressive political economists and academics in Wisconsin, Morehouse began his research in international political economy while a student at Yale (BA 1950, MA 1953) and embarked on a standard academic career path. After teaching political science at New York University for a time, he became director of international education at the Center for International and Comparative Studies in 1963, building a particularly strong program in India. However in 1976, conservative opposition to his political views led Morehouse to leave for a new post as president of the Council on International and Public Affairs (CIPA), a human rights organization he had helped found twenty years before. Throughout, he remained an activist at heart. Galvanized by the 1984 industrial disaster in Bhopal, India, he organized the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, and went on to form or work with many other organizations seeking to resist corporate power and build democracy, including the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy (POCLAD) and the Permanent People’s Tribunal, operating the radical Apex Press. Morehouse died in June 2012 at the age of 83.

The Morehouse collection is a massive archive documenting six decades of research, writing, and activism. A prolific writer and editor, Morehouse left a deep record of his activities, his research and writing on corporate power, and the full breadth of his commitments in labor relations, alternative economics, “people’s law,” and peace.

Subjects
  • Anti-globalization movement
  • Bhopal Union Carbide Plant Disaster, Bhopal, India, 1984
  • Economics
  • India--Economic conditions
Contributors
  • Apex Press
  • Center for International and Comparative Studies
  • Council on International and Public Affairs
  • Permanent Peoples' Tribunal
  • Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy

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

Peace Development Fund

Peace Development Fund Records, 1981-2010.
53 boxes (79.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 427

Traprock Peace Center and PDF<br />arms race flip chart
Traprock Peace Center and PDF
arms race flip chart

First conceived in 1980, the Peace Development Fund (PDF) was founded by a small group of activists and donors with a vision: to raise money to fund grassroots organizations promoting peace, global demilitarization, and non-violent conflict resolution. During the foundation’s first funding cycle, PDF awarded 19 grants to projects designed to increase understanding of the arms race; some to organizations as nearby as Deerfield and Northampton and others to organizations as far away as California. With the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s, PDF changed focus. Instead of thinking of peace as the absence of war, the Foundation began to see peace as “the presence of equitable relationships among people, nations, and the environment.” Since that time, PDF has developed a new perspective on peacework, one centered on fostering social, environmental, and economic justice.

The records of the Peace Development Fund consist chiefly of grant-making files documenting the many organizations that submitted and received awards. Also included is a nearly complete run of PDF’s annual reports, newsletters, and other publications, which together offer a full picture of the foundation’s funding and programmatic history. Exchange Project files record PDF’s efforts to provide training, not just money, to organizations lacking the skills necessary for effective fund-raising, strategic planning, instituting sound organizational structures, and dismantling racism.

Subjects
  • Antinuclear movement
  • Charitable uses, trusts, and foundations--United States
  • Peace movements--United States
  • Social change--United States
  • Social justice--United States
Contributors
  • Peace Development Fund

People for Economic Survival

People for Economic Survival Records, 1974-1977.
3 boxes (1.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 535

Established in October 1974, People for Economic Survival (PES) was a Socialist group based in Northampton, Massachusetts, first organized with the short-term goal of pressuring local banks to sell food stamps. The group’s vision for the longer term, however, was to stimulate change that would result in the replacement of an economy based on corporate profit with one based on people’s needs. After two and half years of community activity, including working for lower utility rates and against cutbacks in welfare, human services, and unemployment benefits, PES disbanded.

The PES collection consists of flyers, meeting minutes, and a full run of Take It, the group’s newsletter.

Subjects
  • Food stamps--Massachusetts
  • Northampton (Mass.)--Economic conditions
  • Northampton (Mass.)--History
  • Public welfare--Law and legislation--Massachusetts
  • Socialism--Massachusetts
  • Unemployment--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • People for Economic Survival

Pioneer Valley Activists

Pioneer Valley Activist Collection, 2000-2007.
2 boxes (1 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 474

Collection of posters and newspaper clippings documenting the work of activists throughout the Pioneer Valley. Although the bulk of the materials relate to protests against the war in Iraq, other issues include rallies and protests at UMass, revival of SDS, the Valley Anarchist Organization, and pro-union demonstrations.

Subjects
  • Political activists--Massachusetts
  • Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)

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