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National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy

National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy Collection

1993-2002
5 boxes 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 988

The National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy supports people with psychiatric diagnoses to exercise their legal and human rights, with the goals of abolishing forced treatment and ensuring autonomy, dignity, and choice.

The NARPA collection contains audio tapes of conferences held between 1993 and 2002.

Gift of Tom Behrendt, Sept. 2017

Subjects

People with disabilities--Civil rightsPeople with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.Psychiatric survivors movement

Types of material

Audiotapes
Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. Hampshire-Franklin County Chapter

Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts Hampshire-Franklin County Chapter Records

1947-1973
2 boxes 1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 303

Minutes and correspondence of the Executive Committee, correspondence and general files of chairmen Philip Eddy, David E. Matz, and Donn Kesselheim, as well as correspondence, briefs, and clippings related to legal cases and inquiries undertaken by the chapter.

Subjects

Civil rights--Massachusetts

Contributors

Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. Hampshire-Franklin County ChapterEddy, PhilipKesselheim, DonnMatz, David E
Committee to Defend Johnny Imani Harris Collection

Committee to Defend Johnny Imani Harris Collection

1973-1983 Bulk: 1974-1979
5 5 linear feet
Call no.: 1171

Committee to Defend Johnny Imani Harris pamphlet

Administrative records of the Committee to Defend Johnny Imani Harris, which supported efforts to free Imani (aka Johnny Harris) from death row in Alabama in the late 1970s early 1980s. Originally sentenced to five life terms for 4 small robberies and an alleged rape in 1970, Imani was eventually given the death penalty under Alabama’s capital offenses law due to an inadequate defense by his court appointed lawyers. Harris was put in the brutal Atmore Prison, where he experienced extreme racism, poor medical care, overcrowding, and slave wages. In 1972 the inmates organized a group called Inmates for Action (IFA) and led a work stoppage of over 1,200 prisoners. The prisoners were beaten by guards and the strike leaders were placed in isolation. Two years later, in 1974 an IFA member was beaten to death by guards. The prisoners reacted by capturing a cellblock and taking two guards hostage. In the ensuing take-back by the prison, a guard and IFA leader were killed. Harris and others were charged with the guard’s death. Imani was convicted of the murder and sentenced to death.

The Committee worked throughout the 1970’s and 1980s for Harris’ freedom through endorsements, fundraising, and networking to national and international groups. Thanks to the participation of Amnesty International and other groups, Harris’s murder conviction was dismissed in 1987 after a new trial and he was given parole.

The records reflect the dedicated work of Tom Gardner, a civil rights and union organizer/journalist, and others on the Committee who tirelessly toiled on behalf of Harris to secure his freedom. Contained in the collection are the fruit of those efforts, including: fliers, clippings, correspondence, photographs, donor appeals, posters, buttons, legal documents, and additional administrative records of the Committee as well as material from Inmates for Action.

Gift of Tom Gardner, 2022

Subjects

African American prisonersDeath row inmatesPolitical prisoners--United StatesPrisoners--United StatesPrisons

Contributors

Johnny Imani HarrisThomas N. Gardner

Types of material

CorrespondenceFliersMailing listsPamphletsPosters
Blum, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Blum Papers

1961-1968
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1136

Named for Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, the “Rebel Girl,” Elizabeth “Liz” Blum has worked to live up to her name through public activism, organizing, and community service in the civil rights, anti-war, women’s, anti-apartheid, co-op, and other movements. After graduating from Bennington College in 1964, Blum went south as a part of the Mississippi Freedom Vote, going door to door in northwestern Mississippi until her house in Tupelo was firebombed, forcing her to relocate to Columbus for the remainder of the registration drive. She continued her work and connections with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in New Haven as a worker for the Freedom School and the Economic Research and Action Program, and additionally lived in New York City and San Francisco before returning to Vermont in 1967 to live in a commune and teach French at Castleton University. There Blum organized an SDS chapter and women’s group before moving to Cambridge, Mass., joining the Boston Women’s Health Collective and helping to edit Our Bodies, Ourselves. A retired Occupational Therapist, Blum is currently county chair of the Vermont Progressive Party, serves on the Board of the Hanover Co-op Food Stores where she heads the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, and continues her diverse advocacy work through personal and community action.

Small in size, but generous in topic and form, the Blum Papers consist of correspondence and two newsletter portions with commentary on numerous events and activist groups during the first half of the 1960s. Personal experiences and reflections on national politics and trends, student and community organizing, and the anti-Vietnam War and civil rights movements, reveal how individuals negotiated and prioritized their thoughts and actions during such turbulent times. Correspondents include Henry M. Aronson, Ike Coleman, Vernon Grizzard, and Mike Miller, and updates from and to Blum are mostly from Mississippi, but also San Francisco, Cambridge, New Haven, and Selma.

Gift of Liz Blum, 2020.

Subjects

Activists--United States

Types of material

Correspondence
Hudson, Judith Collings

Judith Collings Hudson Collection

1964-2000
2 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 896

A 1967 graduate of Springfield College, Judith Collings Hudson earned doctoral degree in 2001 through the UMass Amherst School of Education for her dissertation, Freedom teachers: Northern White women teaching in southern Black communities, 1860s and 1960s. The project was an ambitious comparative study of the experiences of White teachers, mostly northern women, living and teaching in southern Black communities during the Reconstruction era south and those who taught during Mississippi Freedom Summer.

The Hudson Papers focus closely on the second half of her dissertation, relating to the Freedom Schools and educational initiatives associated with the Mississippi Freedom Summer and the civil rights movement. In addition to her dissertation, research notes, some correspondence, and background materials, the collection includes an important array of audio interviews with teachers and participants in the Freedom Summer, most of which have been transcribed.

Gift of Judith Hudson, June 2016

Subjects

Civil rights movements--MississippiMississippi Freedom ProjectTeachers--Mississippi

Contributors

AudiocassettesOral histories (literary works)
Strickland, William, 1937-

William Strickland Papers

1988-1997
4 boxes 4 linear feet
Call no.: FS 159

A native of Boston and graduate of Boston Latin School and Harvard, Bill Strickland was a scholar, activist, and longtime member of the Department of Afro-American Studies at UMass Amherst. After fulfilling his service with the Marine Corps, Strickland became active in civil rights and Black liberation work, serving as Executive Director of the Northern Student Movement, working in Mississippi for the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and then as Northern Coordinator of the Party’s Congressional Challenge. He was a founding member of Malcolm X’s Organization of Afro-American Unity in 1964 and in 1969, was also a founding member of the Institute of the Black World in Atlanta. An exacting scholar, Strickland was a key member of the faculty in Afro-American Studies at UMass Amherst teaching history and politics and held a number of important roles, including acting as Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Papers. He retired in 2013.

The Strickland Papers contain materials from two of Strickland’s many commitments during his time at UMass: the presidential campaign of Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow People’s Party in 1988 and an initiative to commemorate the complex life and legacy of Jackie Robinson in 1996-1997. Additional materials for Strickland are included in the records of the Department of Afro-American Studies.

Gift of Bill Strickland, 2013-

Subjects

Elections--United States--1988Jackson, Jesse, 1941-Rainbow People's PartyRobinson, Jackie, 1919-1972
Platt, Gerald M.

Gerald M. Platt Papers

1961-2004
8 boxes 12 linear feet
Call no.: FS 174

Born in Brooklyn in 1933, Gerald Platt worked his way through Brooklyn College as a stevedore at the Navy Yard and went on to earn a PhD in Sociology under Ralph Turner at UCLA in 1963. Interdisciplinary in approach from the outset of his career, Platt became known for linking psychoanalytic theory and sociology in analyzing large-scale events, such as revolutions and mass social movements. After beginning his academic career at Harvard, he joined the Sociology Department at UMass Amherst in1970. He was the author of two noted works in psychoanalytic sociology, The Wish to Be Free: Society, Psyche and Value Change, with Fred Weinstein (1969) and Advances in Psychoanalytic Sociology, with Jerome Rabow and Marion Goldman (1987), and was co-author with Talcott Parsons of The American University (1973). Platt died of complications of Alzheimers disease on May 7, 2015.

Active in his academic field and in departmental and university administration, Platt left a substantial record of his years on faculty at UMass Amherst. His collection includes substantial professional correspondence, research materials on his study of the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, and other topics, grant applications, and annual reports. As chair of the Department, Platt also left a body of materials relating to his administrative duties, including work on university committees.

Gift of Gerald M. Platt, Apr. 2015

Subjects

Civil rights movementsSociologists--MassachusettsUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Sociology
Mainzer, Lewis C. (Lewis Casper), 1928-

Lewis C. Mainzer Papers

1953-2000 Bulk: 1965-1985
4 boxes 4 linear feet
Call no.: FS 160

Since his arrival at UMass in 1953, Lewis Mainzer has been an affable, influential, and well-respected member of the university community. He joined the faculty of four that at the time made up the department of government, later the department of political science. A dedicated educator, he was instrumental in the expansion of that department and demonstrated a profound commitment to education reform and social engagement against the backdrop of campus upheaval during the 1960s and 1970s. Mainzer retired in 1997 and is now a professor emeritus and author of several books of poetry.

The Lewis C. Mainzer papers consist of personal notes, correspondence, meeting minutes, memoranda, and other materials documenting Mainzer’s activities as a member of numerous Faculty Senate and other committees, and the administrative responses to such events as the Vietnam War protests, the civil rights movement, the expansion of the UMass system, and higher education reform in Massachusetts. There are also materials relating to his interests as a poet, his professional work as an educator, and documents relating to various campus events of the late twentieth century.

Subjects

Educational Change--United StatesPoets--MassachusettsUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Political Science
Howard, James E.

James E. Howard Collection

1947-1953
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1085

An advertising man from Brooklyn, and a neighbor and friend of W.E.B. Du Bois, James E. Howard was an active supporter of the Committee for the Negro in the Arts during its brief period of activity. Organized in 1947 with Communist Party support, the Committee was an arts-focused civil rights organization, opposing degregation and promoting the employment of African Americans in the performing and visual arts. Criticized by the House Un-American Activities Committee as a Communist front, the Committee was also criticized by the intellectual Harold Cruse, a former member, as a “sad flop,” a patronizing and opportunistic endeavor of white radical that was so constrained by the desire to appeal to white audiences that it was incapable of exploring work of deeper significance to African American audiences.

This small collection contains printed materials from the Committee for the Negro in the Arts (CNA), a politically progressive interracial cultural organization. The collection includes CNA newsletters, event programs, invitations, and an assortment of mailings and other items used in publicity and public relations.

Gift of Jonathan Howard, Sept. 2017.

Subjects

African American theater

Contributors

Committee for the Negro in the Arts
Evans, Cheryl L.

Cheryl L. Evans Papers

1946-2019 Bulk: 1960-2015
3 boxes, 1 oversized folder 3 linear feet
Call no.: RG 050/6 E93
Part of: Irma McClaurin Black Feminist Archive

Cheryl Evans singing at Medford High School, ca. 1962

A lifelong activist, performer, and educator, Cheryl Lorraine Evans was born in 1946 in west Medford, MA, the eldest of five. As a high school student, Evans attended the march on Washington in 1963, and was then the first in her family to attend college, in 1964 joining the largest class at UMass Amherst to date. She graduated four years later as a pivotal organizer of African American students across campus, the Five Colleges, and in the region – during the period when Black student groups, the Black Cultural Center, and the Black Studies department all had their origins at UMass. Evans was the first elected president of an African American student organization at UMass, and remains an organizer to this day, particularly as a key connector for Black alumni and through her UMass Black Pioneers Project.

Evans went on to work at UMass as an assistant area coordinator of Orchard Hill, an area housing the majority of the students of color and CCEBS students on campus at the time, and then for the Urban University Program at Rutgers University. She worked for over a decade in early childhood education, mostly in New Jersey and New York City, then while working for the State of Massachusetts received her MA in Communication from Emerson College, partially to help her public radio show, “Black Family Experience.” Evans was the first African American woman to run for City Council in Medford, and was appointed to the Massachusetts Area Planning Council by Governor Dukakis. She taught for five years at Northshore Community College, received her PhD from Old Dominion University in 1997, and ended her career at Bloomfield College, where she was a professor for 18 years until her retirement in 2016. A prolific singer as a child and young adult, Evans was, and continues to be, a performance artist, with several theater pieces focused on Black history, all in addition to her outreach, organizing, and workshops, many focused on increasing the number of Black graduate and doctoral students.

The Cheryl Evans Papers document over 60 years of the life of the educator and activist, including childhood report cards and essays, clippings from the civil rights movement she followed and joined as a high school student, undergraduate records and ephemera, documentation of Black UMass alumni events, and records from her careers in public advocacy, education, and the theater. Evan’s time at UMass is especially well documented, including schoolwork, numerous photographs of student life on campus, social and political organization records, including contact lists of and correspondence with Black students, and the original protest demands from the 1970 Mills House protest and march to Whitmore.

Gift of Cheryl L. Evans, 2018

Subjects

African American college students--MassachusettsAfrican American women teachersUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--AlumniUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--Students

Types of material

Photographs