The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Robert S. Cox Special Collections & University Archives Research Center
CredoResearch digital collections in Credo

Collecting area: African American

Meier, August, 1923-2003

August Meier Collection

1837-1984
3 boxes, 329 titles 34.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 844
Depiction of

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.

Organized in two discrete parts, the Meier collection bookends a long career in the study of African American history. The first part of the collection is centered on Meier’s association with the Pioneer Youth summer camp in Rifton, N.Y., and his growing consciousness of the fundamental problems of race and class in American society, with some materials from his wartime years as an undergraduate at Oberlin College. The second part of the collection includes books collected by Meier during his academic career, mostly on African American history and culture. Titles range from works on the Civil Rights movement to literature and poetry of the late nineteenth century and Harlem Renaissance, works on slavery and antislavery, race theory, the South, and African American education and religion.

Subjects

African Americans--HistoryAntislavery movementsCamps--New York (State)Civil rights movementsCommunists--United StatesDepressions--1929Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt),1868-1963Oberlin College--StudentsPioneer Youth of AmericaRace relationsWorld War, 1939-1945

Contributors

Braunthal, Gerard, 1923-

Types of material

NewslettersSongbooks
Miscellaneous Manuscripts

Miscellaneous Manuscripts

1717-2003
6 boxes 5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 719

Miscellaneous Manuscripts is an artificial collection that brings together single items and small groups of related materials. Although the collection reflects the general collecting emphases in SCUA, particularly the history of New England, the content ranges widely in theme and format.

Subjects

Massachusetts--Economic conditions--18th centuryMassachusetts--Economic conditions--19th centuryMassachusetts--HistoryMassachusetts--Politics and governmentMassachusetts--Social conditions--18th centuryMassachusetts--Social conditions--19th centuryMassachusetts--Social conditions--20th century

Types of material

Account booksCorrespondencePhotographs
Moore, Robert B., 1947-

Robert B. Moore Collection

1974-2019
1 box .20 linear feet
Call no.: RG 050/6 1969 M66

An educator and activist for understanding race awareness, racial bias, and racism, Robert B. Moore created white-on-white awareness training as a way to help white educators and other white people confront and understand the white chauvinism and distorted white self-image that American culture conditions and perpetuates. Born on February 18, 1947, in Haverill, Mass., Moore also lived in Bangor, Me., as a child. At UMass, he majored in government, graduating in 1969. He returned to pursue his doctorate in the School of Education and received his Ed.D. in February 1974. Moore’s dissertation, “A rationale, description and analysis of a racism awareness and action training program for white teachers,” formed the basis of his presentation and training program, “The Cultural Perpetuation of the Rightness of Whiteness,” which was used by him and other trainers from 1974 into the early 2000s. Moore worked as a consultant specializing in antiracist behavior and focusing on the impacts—social, economic, political, and more—of racism on both victims and oppressors, and he was also involved in SISA (Sisters in Support of Sisters in South Africa). His work took him all over the U.S. and into Canada and New Zealand. He died in New York in 1991.

The heart of the Moore Collection is a digitally recreated version of his original presentation, encompassing a slide show and a recording of Moore’s voice. Also included are a draft transcript of the presentation, some documentation of Moore’s life and work, and an appreciation by his colleague and friend Jim Edler. Moore’s and Edler’s dissertations are available in the Libraries’ ScholarWorks digital repository.

Gift of James M. Edler, Dec. 2019

Subjects

Race awareness--Study and teaching--United StatesRace discrimination--HistoryRace identity--Study and teaching--United StatesStereotypes (Social psychology)Stereotypes (Social psychology) in mass media--United States

Contributors

Edler, James M.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Portsmouth Branch (Portsmouth, N.H.)

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Portsmouth Branch (Portsmouth, N.H.) Records

1963-1966
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1006

The first New Hampshire branch of the NAACP was formed in Portsmouth in 1958, meeting initially in the home of its first president, the local businessman Thomas Cobbs. Growing steadily during the 1960s, the Portsmouth membership were engaged in addressing local concerns over discrimination in housing and employment and were stalwart supporters of the national civil rights struggle.

This small collection of records from a local New England branch of the NAACP consists of minutes of meetings between 1963 and 1966 and a relatively miscellaneous assortment of fliers and other materials from the national organization. Although the collection is slight, it includes records NAACP actions in Portsmouth and, notably, the minutes were kept by Betty Hill and her husband Barney, who became well known for their claim to having an encounter with a UFO.

Subjects

African Americans--New HampshireCivil rights movements--New HampshireDiscrimination in housing--New Hampshire

Contributors

Cobbs, ThomasHill, Barney, 1922-1969Hill, Betty (Eunice)

Types of material

Minutes (Administrative records)
Neill, D. Monty

D. Monty Neill Collection

1986 Feb.-Apr.
2 boxes 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1061

An educator and scholar of educational assessment, Monty Neil is the Executive Director of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest). For his doctorate at Harvard in the mid-1980s, Neill examined the impact of the 1974 desegregation order affecting Boston’s public schools and the ongoing search within the city’s African American community for quality and equity in education. He completed his dissertation, The Struggle of Boston’s Black Community for Quality and Equality in Education: 1960-1985, in 1987.

The 33 audiocassettes in this collection include interviews with 29 activists and educational and political leaders in Boston, predominantly from the city’s African American community, include in-depth discussions about the busing crisis in Boston during the late 1970s and early 1980s, its aftermath, and the ongoing search for educational equity and quality. The tapes were recorded between January and April 1986 as part of Neill’s dissertation research.

Gift of Monty Neill, Dec. 2018

Subjects

African Americans--Massachusetts--BostonBoston (Mass.)--History--20th centuryBoston (Mass.)--Politics and government--20th centuryBusing for school integration--Massachusetts--BostonCivil rights movements--Massachusetts--BostonPublic schools--Massachusetts--BostonSegregation in education--Massachusetts--Boston

Contributors

Breeden, James P. (James Pleasant)Haskins, Kenneth, 1923-1994Jones, Hubie, 1933-King, Melvin, 1928-O'Bryant, John D., 1931-1992Owens, Bill, 1937-Owens-Hicks, ShirleySmith, Mary EllenSnowden, Muriel S. (Muriel Sutherland), 1916-

Types of material

Audiocassettes
New York Anti-Klan Network Records

New York Anti-Klan Network Records

1977-1983
4 boxes
Call no.: 1160

Sandy Smith, one of the Communist Workers' Party activists killed at the Death to the Klan March, Nov. 1979

The National Anti-Klan Network (NAKN) was founded in Atlanta, Georgia by Rev. C.T. Vivian and Anne Braden in 1979, following attacks by armed members of the Ku Klux Klan during a march organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Decatur, Alabama, and the murder of five demonstrators of the Communist Workers Party in Greensboro, North Carolina in November 1979. The organization grew throughout the 1980s, working with other anti-Klan organizations to spread awareness of the continued violence and growing influence of the Klu Klux Klan.

In 1984, NAKN leadership began examining and reconsidering what the organization stood for, trying to ensure it was focused on working to end white supremacy. In 1985, after this year-long reassessment, the National Anti-Klan Network changed their name to the Center for Democratic Renewal to articulate their broader goals towards fighting racism.

This small collection contains correspondence, contact lists, anti-Klan handouts, and sources of information used by the New York chapter of the Anti-Klan Network, some of which pertain to the NAKN. It also includes newspaper clippings documenting KKK activity and other examples of racism in the early 1980s, and numerous reports of KKK activity and newsletters from other anti-klan groups. There is also a series of color slides used as part of an organizing slide show entitled “Greensboro Massacre – Turn the Country Upside Down to Avenge the CWP5” that documents the Greensboro murders of the Communist Workers’ Party activists and anti-racist/labor organizing.


              

Gift of Jeff Perry, 2021.

Subjects

Activists--United StatesCivil rightsGreensboro Massacre, Greensboro, N.C., 1979Political activists--United StatesRacism against Black people

Contributors

Speigel, Mike

Types of material

Color slidesCorrespondenceHandbillsNewslettersNewspaper clippingsOfficial reports
Restrictions: none none
Paros, Lawrence

Larry Paros Papers

1965-2015
6 boxes 7 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1081
Part of: Irma McClaurin Black Feminist Archive
Yale Summer High School brochure
Yale Summer High School brochure, 1968

The educator and writer, Lawrence “Larry” Paros was born in Springfield, Mass., in 1934. After undergraduate work at UMass Amherst (1958), Paros earned his masters degree from Yale in American Diplomatic History and Russian Studies, and began teaching high school in Connecticut, where he became a lightning rod for promoting discussions of the Vietnam War among his students. The Yale Summer High School came calling in 1967, giving Paros the reins to a three-year old program that brought underprivileged youth from across the country for rigorous pre-collegiate study at the Yale Divinity School. Begun as a progressive response to the federal “War on Poverty,” Paros soon sought to move the school in a more radical direction. Along with a small group of concerned educators, he redesigned the curriculum to deal directly and deeply with the most challenging contemporary issues in America and to address fundamental questions about the human condition, race, and the future of the country. Paros subsequently founded and led two experimental schools in Providence, R.I., and has written prolifically on topics ranging from education to etymology.

The Paros papers are the product of an innovator in alternative education and a advocate for social justice, and are particularly rich in documenting the efforts of educators in the 1960s and 1970s to make education relevant to contemporary students. The collection includes a rich record of Paros’s brief time as director of the Yale Summer High School (YSHS), including organizational, pedagogical, and administrative documents, dozens of photographs, and an important set of DVDs and transcripts of interviews with former students, teacher, and administrators from the 1968 cohort, recorded for the film Walk Right In. Paros’s work in alternative education is also well represented, with materials from his two schools in Providence (School One and the Alternative Learning Project).

Subjects

African American high school studentsAlternative EducationAlternative educationYale Summer High School

Types of material

Oral histories (Literary works)PhotographsVideo recordings (physical artifacts)
Paynter, Robert

Robert Paynter Papers

ca. 1970-2015
17 boxes 25.5 linear feet
Call no.: FS 175

After graduating from Brown University with an A.B. in 1971, Robert “Bob” Paynter received his M.A. (1975) and Ph.D. (1980) from the Anthropology Department at UMass Amherst. He taught at Queens College and the Graduate Center at CUNY before returning to UMass in 1981 as an Assistant Professor, where he conducted research and taught for the remainder of his career. Paynter studied and practiced historical archaeology on sites throughout Western Massachusetts, most notably Deerfield Village and the W. E. B. Du Bois Homesite in Great Barrington. Throughout his tenure at UMass, he was active on several university and departmental committees, including service to the Massachusetts Society of Professors (MSP), as well as a member of the Historic Northampton Board of Trustees and a member of the Academic Advisory Board of Historic Deerfield. Bob Paynter retired from the Anthropology Department in 2015.

The Robert Paynter Papers span the length of his career from early articles and presentations given in the 1970s to his more recent research, writing, and teaching. Materials include grant applications, lecture notes, drafts of articles, and committee work, including contributions to the Massachusetts Society of Professors (MSP). Paynter’s ongoing efforts to preserve the Du Bois homesite in Great Barrington are also documented, both his archeological site work and his service on the Advisory Board of the W. E. B. Du Bois Foundation.

Gift of Robert Paynter, 2016

Subjects

Archaeology--MassachusettsDu Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Homes and haunts--Massachusetts--Great BarringtonUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Anthropology

Contributors

Paynter, Robert
Perry, Cynthia Shepard

Cynthia Shepard Perry Papers

1946-2010
7 boxes 10.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 842
Depiction of Cynthia Shepard Perry, ca.1986
Cynthia Shepard Perry, ca.1986

An educator, diplomat, and expert on Africa, Cynthia Shepard Perry was the first recipient of a Ed.D. from of the Program in International Education at UMass Amherst (1972). Born in Burnett, Indiana, in 1928, Perry was raising a family when she set a twenty-five year goal of earning a doctorate and entering international service. One year after earning a bachelor’s degree at Indiana State University in 1967, she arranged for her first trip to Africa, leading a secretarial training project at the University of Nairobi, and over succeeding decades, her connections to the continent deepened dramatically. On faculty at Texas Southern University (1971-1982), Perry served as Associate Director of the university’s Peace Corps Program, which resulted in her leading educational projects in Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, and Kenya. In demand for her expertise, she worked as a consultant to the United States Information Service in Kenya, Nigeria, and Zambia and as Staff Development Officer at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa. Having become a full professor and Dean of International Affairs, she left TSU in 1982 to take her first diplomatic post as an officer of the Africa Bureau of the United States Agency for International Development, followed by successive appointments as Ambassador to Sierra Leone (1986-1989) and Burundi (1989-1993), as Honorary Consul General of Rwanda, and finally an appointment as United States Executive Director of the African Development Bank (1996-2001). Although officially retired, Perry remains active in supporting education and development in Africa from her home in Houston. Among many other awards she has received, Perry was the recipient of an honorary doctorate from UMass for her international work and was recognized by the Salute to Service Award.

A record of a life in international service in Africa, the Perry Papers include materials from Perry’s time as head of the African Development Bank and her two ambassadorial appointments, including speeches, some correspondence, and a handful of publications. The collection also includes a series of awards and plaques, some family photographs, and memorabilia.

Gift of Cynthia Shepard Perry, Oct., 2014

Subjects

Africa--Foreign relations--United StatesBurundi--HistorySierra Leone--United StatesUnited States--Foreign relations--Africa

Types of material

MemorabiliaPhotographs
Primus, Pearl

Pearl Primus Collection

1995-2006
3 boxes 1.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 912

A pioneer of African dance in the United States and a vital scholarly voice, Pearl Primus burst onto the scene in the early 1940s as a choreographer, performer, composer, and teacher. Born in Trinidad in 1919 and raised in New York City, Primus was introduced to performance through the National Youth Administration and the New Dance Group. Her interest in the dance cultures of Africa and the African diaspora formed the conceptual center of her work throughout her career, drawing upon her deep scholarly research. In addition to her creative work, Primus earned a doctorate in anthropology from NYU and taught at a number of universities, including the Five Colleges. She died in New Rochelle, N.Y., in October 1994.

Conducted with Pearl Primus’ fellow dancers, musicians, friends, and collaborators between 1995 and 2005, the interviews comprising this collection were recorded by Peggy and Murray Schwartz for use in their book, The Dance Claimed Me: A Biography of Pearl Primus (New Haven, 2011). The oral histories provide insights into Primus’s sometimes controversial life career, her performances, teaching, and legacy.

Gift of Peggy and Murray Schwartz, Dec. 2013

Subjects

ChoreographersDance--AfricaDancers

Contributors

Nash, Joe, 1919-2005Washington, Donald

Types of material

AudiocassettesBetacam-SPVideotapes