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

Collecting area: Antiracism

Stokes, Daniel M. J.

Daniel M. J. and Joyce Stokes Papers

1984-1996
3 boxes 1.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 661

From 1987 through early 1988, Daniel and Joyce Stokes published Into the Night, “a newsletter for freedom for political prisoners held in the United States.” Based in Brooklyn, N.Y., this simply-produced publication offered updates and commentary on Americans imprisoned for politically-motivated acts. Reflecting both the legacy of 1960s radicalism and the resurgent activism associated with U.S. imperialism in Central America, Into the Night offered news on the Ohio 7 sedition trial, the MOVE organization, and the fate of Plowshares war resisters.

The Stokes collection contains correspondence from subscribers and supporters of Into the Night, fleshing out their political philosophy and the conditions of imprisonment. Drawn from groups including the MOVE organization, the United Freedom Front, Black Liberation Army, and Plowshares, the correspondents include Ramona Africa, Alberto Aranda, Philip Berrigan, Marilyn Buck, Carl Kabat, Ray Luc Levasseur, Ruchell Cinque Magee, and Carol Manning. The collection also includes copies of other radical publications and a complete run of Into the Night itself.

Subjects

African American prisonersAfrican American radicalsAnti-imperialist movementsCommunistsInto the NightMOVE (Group)Ohio 7PlowsharesPolitical prisonersPrisonersRadicalsRevolutionariesUnited Freedom Front

Contributors

Africa, RamonaAranda, AlbertoBerrigan, PhilipBuck, MarilynGelabert, Ana LuciaHernandez, Alvaro LKabat, CarlLevasseur, Ray LucMagee, Ruchell CinqueStokes, Daniel M. J.Stokes, Joyce

Types of material

Newsletters
Urban League of Springfield

Urban League of Springfield Records

1972-1975
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 150

A community development and service agency founded in 1914, the Urban League of Springfield works to secure equal opportunity for minority groups in such fields as employment, education, housing, health, and personal welfare.

This small collection is tightly focused on the period of the school busing (desegregation) crisis in Springfield, 1974-1975, and the League’s efforts to analyze and respond to the underlying issues in race relations and political engagement. The contents include surveys on racial attitudes and voting behavior in the city along with a selection of publications from the League and a set of board minutes and handouts.

Subjects

School integration--Massachusetts--SpringfieldSpringfield (Mass.)--History--20th centurySpringfield (Mass.)--Politics and governmentSpringfield (Mass.)--Race relations
Vega, Carlos

Carlos Vega Collection

ca.1966-1995
148 volumes, 1 box, 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 800
Depiction of Carlos Vega ca. 1990
Carlos Vega ca. 1990

An Ecuadorian-born community activist, Carlos Vega moved to Holyoke, Massachusetts, with his family in 1955. Settling in the working-class “Flats” neighborhood at a time when many of Holyoke’s factories were relocating to the southern United States or Asia, the Vegas were one of the few Spanish-speaking families in the city, but when Carlos began to work on a local tobacco farm at the age of 14, he encountered the new influx of migrants from Puerto Rico who had been lured to the Connecticut Valley as agricultural laborers by the Department of Labor. With the Puerto Rican economy declining in the 1960s, many of these farm workers settled permanently in Springfield and Holyoke, but they soon discovered that the declining economy there combined with racism and urban decay blocked their hopes for upward mobility. Radicalized by the anti-colonial, anti-war, and Civil Rights movements of the late 1960s, Vega emerged as an important community organizer in the 1970s, working with Fair Share, New Unity, Urban Ministry, and other progressive organizations. With a backdrop of riots, arson, and racial tension, these organizations focused on issues relevant to the Puerto Rican community, particularly voter education and registration, fair housing, and education. In 1982, Vega helped found Nueva Esperanza, a non-profit community development organization whose mission was to restore and maintain blighted buildings in South Holyoke. He worked with Nueva Esperanza for over 30 years, continuing until 2010 after a brain cancer diagnosis in 1995.  He survived until April 2012.

The materials in this collection reflect Vega’s interests in left wing movements in Central America, the Caribbean, Asia, South America and Africa from the 1960s through 1980s and include leaflets, pamphlets, books, and newsletters. The approximately 300 items offer sometimes scarce documentation of internationalist liberation movements such as the PAIGC in Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, the Tupamaros in Uruguay, and the EFLNA in Eritrea. Of particular note is a small collection documenting Vega’s participation in the 1974 Venceremos Brigade and a collection of clippings, newsletters, notes, fliers, conference material, and newspapers from various groups such as New England Action Research, Friends of the Filipino People, The Latin American Student Association, and the Ethiopian Students Union of North America. Some printed materials are cataloged and housed with the rare books collection.

Gift of Jesse Vega-Fry, Apr. 2012

Subjects

Central America--Foreign relations--United StatesCivil Rights movements--AfricaCivil Rights movements--Central AmericaCivil Rights movements--ChileCivil Rights movements--United StatesCivil Rights movements-AsiaCivil Rights movements-CaribbeanLatin America--PeriodicalsNicaragua--History--1979-1990Radicalism--United StatesRevolutionary literatureSocialismUnited States--Foreign relations--Central AmericaVenceremos Brigade
Weather Underground Collection

Weather Underground Organization Collection

1918-1978 Bulk: 1973-1978
5 boxes 2.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1145

The 1960s and 1970s were decades rich with activist organizations intent on radically transforming U.S. politics and society as well as striving to end racial and gender inequality. One such group was Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Launched in 1962, with the infamous Port Huron Statement, SDS helped the nascent anti-Vietnam war movement gain traction in 1965 by organizing the first national demonstration in Washington, D.C. Over the course of the next four years, the organization grew at a rapid pace, claiming over 300 chapters under its moniker. Arguments over tactics and strategy culminated during an eventful national convention in June of 1969 in which three factions, all claiming to represent “the true SDS”, split the organization apart.
               
The most notorious of these factions was the Weathermen, (later renamed the less patriarchal Weather Underground Organization [WUO]). The WUO aimed to spark revolution in the United States, initially, through the use of targeted political bombings, political communiques, and support of Black liberation movements. Following the March 1970 accidental self-bombing of three of its New York collective members, Ted Gold, Diana Oughton, and Terry Robbins in a New York townhouse owned by Cathy Wilkerson’s father, the organization opted to conduct more targeted bombings where no one would be hurt.
               
After two-to three-years of high-profile bombings, including the U.S. Capitol, Pentagon, corporate buildings, and law enforcement institutions, with minimal impact, the organization began to consider how to regain influence with the greater Left. This began WUO’s “inversion” phase which included the publication of a book/manifesto titled Prairie Fire, the establishment of the Prairie Fire Organizing Committee, and a periodical, Osawatomie. The WUO’s Central Committee believed that this inversion strategy would allow them to influence and lead the greater anti-war/anti-imperialist movement.

The inversion strategy did not spark the all-encompassing revolution imagined by the WUO and members slowly began to surface, breaking apart the organization in the mid-late 1970s. While the WUO did not accomplish what they set out to do, their extreme tactics and notoriety with the FBI left lasting impressions on American society and the history of activism in the 1970s.
     
This small collection of materials donated by a member of the WUO includes books, pamphlets, manuscripts, notes, military manuals, maps of correctional facilities, and correspondence between members from 1973 to 1978, many of them coded through the use of letters replacing names. It also holds papers critical of  the WUO written by its own members between 1976 and 1978. This represents the period when Clayton Van Lydegaf gathered members in his “Cadre School”, to rigorously analyze and document how the organization fell apart, including a transcript from a recorded interview session in which Bernadine Dohrn repudiated all methods and practices of the WUO. These papers reflect the power struggle seen later within the WUO, as well as the contempt that many of its members grew to nurture for the organization as it strayed from its original purpose.

The collection also contains many political papers on subjects such as women and their place within the WUO, the anti-fascist movement, Black liberation movements, imperialism, and the origins of fascism. It also holds accounts of the WUO’s history, along with critiques, notes, and adaptations for their manifesto, Prairie Fire.

Gift of Jeff Perry, 2021

Subjects

FeminismImperialismRevolutionariesWeather Underground Organization--History

Types of material

CorrespondenceManuals (instructional materials)Notes (documents)Pamphlets
Winston, Robert

Bob Winston Papers

1964-1993
36 boxes 49.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 452

Temporarily stored offsite; contact SCUA to request materials from this collection.

An educator and activist, Robert (Bob) M. Winston was born in New York City during the first wave of the baby boom and lived many of the principles associated with his generation. Winston became active in the civil rights and antiwar movements while a graduate student at Indiana University in the mid-1960s, working in cause while building his academic career. After being dismissed from a position at the University of New Hampshire for his antiwar activities, he moved on to UMass Amherst, where he earned a doctorate in education, serving as head of the Valley Peace Center at the same time. His activism continued to include social and environmental justice with organizations such as the Greensboro Justice Fund, Karuna Center for Peace Building, and the Performance Project.

The Winston Papers contain a dense assemblage of personal correspondence, subject files, posters, and audiovisual and printed materials documenting a career in social justice movements. The earliest materials in the collection stem from Winston’s involvement in the civil rights movement in Indiana and his opposition to the war in Vietnam, including a surprisingly wide array of materials from left-oriented periodicals to antiwar newspapers printed for servicemen and women, and the collection documents the ups and downs of his academic career. Later materials touch on his interests in U.S. intervention in Central America during the 1980s, the prison-industrial complex, civil liberties, and environmental issues.

Subjects

Alinsky, Saul David, 1909-1972Amherst (Mass.)--HistoryCivil rights movementsDraft--United States--HistoryKennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968Peace movementsPolitical activists--MassachusettsRosenberg, Ethel, 1915-1953Rosenberg, Julius, 1918-1953Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--Massachusetts
World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance (2001 : Durban, South Africa)

World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance Collection

2001
1 box, 1 tube 1.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 715

The 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance was held in Durban, South Africa, under the auspices of the United Nations as an international forum to address a range of issues, from the legacy of colonialism and slavery to Zionism. In response to a draft document equating Zionism with racism, both the United States and Israel withdrew from the Conference, and although it is often considered a landmark in the antiracist struggle, political events following the September 11 terrorist attacks have blunted its impact.

This small collection consists of a selection of ephemera and approximately 20 collected by an American attendee at the World Conference.

Gift of Mary Cowhey, Jan. 2011

Subjects

Racism
Wulkan, Ferd

Ferd Wulkan Collection

1968-1985
8 boxes 12 linear feet
Call no.: MS 841

A 1968 graduate in mathematics from MIT, Ferd Wulkan has been a fixture in activist circles for many years. A member of SDS in college and a rank-and-file clerical union leader at Boston University, Wulkan moved to Amherst in 1989. His passion has been the intersection of the labor movement with other progressive movements; he served for 15 years as a field representative with Locals 509 and 888 of SEIU, working with non-faculty professional personnel at UMass Amherst and Boston, and then as a representative and organizer for the Massachusetts Society of Professors from 2004 to 2016. In 2007, Wulkan became organizing director for the Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts (PHENOM), a grassroots advocacy organization for affordable and accessible public higher education.

The Wulkan Collection consists of a fascinating array of material from Leftist and radical political movements during the late 1960s and early 1980s, with an emphasis on the Cambridge-Somerville area. In addition to a rich assemblage of formally published pamphlets and magazines, the collection includes a large number of fliers, handouts, informally published works, and underground newspapers on Socialist, Feminist, and anarchist topics and relating to the war in Vietnam, the labor movement, civil rights, and Black Power.

Subjects

Cambridge (Mass.)--HistoryFeminism--MassachusettsRadicals--Massachusetts--CambridgeSomerville (Mass.)--HistoryUnderground press publicationsVietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements

Contributors

Black Panther Party
Ziths, Frankie

Frankie Ziths Collection

ca. 1968-1990
20 boxes ca. 30 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1130
Depiction of Frankie Ziths in front of the Black Panther Party Harlem Branch office, 1977. Photo by Kwesi Balagoon (with Ziths's camera).
Frankie Ziths in front of the Black Panther Party Harlem Branch office, 1977. Photo by Kwesi Balagoon (with Ziths's camera).

Frankie “Ashbuloh” Ziths, born Frank Gumbs, Jr. on December 6, 1933 in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, was a vital member of the Black Panther Party, joining in the late 1960s. Ziths served as the official New York photographer for the Party’s newspaper, The Black Panther, and covered the Panther 21 trial first for The Black Panther, then for Right On!, the East Coast Panther newspaper. As more of the members of the Harlem Branch were arrested and jailed or forced underground, Ziths kept the Branch’s business and programs moving forward until it closed in 1981. One of the programs Ziths took over was the National Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners, which raised awareness and funds to support political prisoners in the US. Through the NCDPP, Ziths maintained long-standing correspondences with incarcerated fellow activists and sent them money, often from his own pocket. In the late 1970s, Ziths began honing his skills as a photographer and became a respected New York paparazzi, eventually working as one of the city’s most sought-after news photographers and a stringer for the Associated Press and The New York Times. Ziths died of lung cancer on December 31, 1990.

Prompted by his wife Barbara Dee Ziths (now Barbara Heller), who recognized the historical significance of the work of Black community activists in New York, Ziths began preserving material documenting the Panther 21 trial, and eventually the activities of the Harlem Branch of the Black Panther Party. Heller and Ziths saved all the material that was in the branch when it closed in 1981. The Frankie Ziths Collection includes administrative files, publications, posters, original artwork and layouts, and memorabilia from the Party’s Harlem Branch, documenting the ideological split of the Black Panther Party in 1971 and support for the Black Liberation Army; administrative files and correspondence from the NCDPP; Ziths own notebooks and journals, including notebooks recording his experiences at the Panther 21 trial; and Ziths complete archive of photographic negatives, slides, and prints, representing his career as a paparazzi and press photographer and documenting activism in New York and elsewhere in the East Coast Black Panther Party community.

Gift of Barbara Heller

Subjects

Black Panther Party

Contributors

National Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners

Types of material

Photographs