The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Special Collections & University Archives
CredoResearch digital collections in Credo

Collecting area: Civil rights

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

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
Foster, Nancy E.

Nancy E. Foster Papers

1972-2010
4 boxes 6 linear feet
Call no.: MS 753
Depiction of 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 governmentCivil rights--MassachusettsDisaster reliefEl Salvador--History--1979-1992HungerInterfaith Cot Shelter (Amherst, Mass.)Iraq War, 2003-2011Peace movements--MassachusettsSeptember 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001War on Terrorism, 2001-2009

Contributors

ACLULay Academy for Oecumenical StudiesMassachusetts Voters for Clean ElectionsOlver, JohnPyle, Christopher H.Swift, AliceUnitarian Universalist Society of Amherst

Types of material

Photographs
Friends Meeting at Cambridge

Friends Meeting at Cambridge Records

8 vols., 15 boxes 10 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902 C363

The present-day Friends Meeting at Cambridge began as an independent, informal, unprogrammed meeting for worship that met between 1899 and 1901, and then again beginning in 1911. After holding joint meetings with neighboring Boston Monthly Meeting starting in 1926, Cambridge became an official independent monthly meeting in 1937, and during the Quaker union of 1944, merged with Boston Monthly to create the new Friends Meeting at Cambridge.

Although records from Cambridge are beset with significant gaps, they nevertheless provide a rich opportunity for examining the growth of a monthly meeting in New England during the post-World War II era and the commitment shown by its members to creating social justice. The collection includes extensive records of the Peace and Social Concerns Committee (and related endeavors), documenting peace activism during the Cold War and Vietnam years, and initiatives to fight poverty and racial injustice.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, April 2017

Subjects

Cambridge (Mass.)--Religious life and customsPeace movements--Massachusetts--CambridgeQuakers--MassachusettsSociety of Friends--MassachusettsVietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--Massachusetts--Cambridge

Contributors

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

Types of material

Minutes (Administrative records)NewslettersPhotographs
Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley

Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley Records

1979-1994
12 boxes 7 linear feet
Call no.: MS 468

Amherst, Massachusetts, chapter of the national Gray Panther organization that sponsored the weekly Amherst Vigil for Peace and Justice, tackled such issues as fair and affordable housing for people of all ages, nursing home reform, Social Security policy, universal health care, safe-sex, and age discrimination, and also worked to improve the everyday life of senior citizens and the community at large, often collaborating with other local organizations to address world peace, environmental concerns, improved child care, educational opportunities, and handicapped accessibility.

Records include charter, by-laws, histories and mission statements, meeting agendas and minutes, correspondence, financial reports, fund raising materials, membership lists, membership questionnaire, newsletters, press releases, leaflets, clippings, a scrapbook, T-shirts, and program files, that document the founding and activities of the Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley.

Subjects

Older people--MassachusettsPeace movements--MassachusettsSocial justice--Massachusetts

Contributors

Gray Panthers of the Pioneer ValleyHolt, Margaret
Greensboro Justice Fund

Greensboro Justice Fund Records

1966-2009 Bulk: 1979-2002
17 boxes 27.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 697

Five organizers affiliated with the Communist Workers Party were murdered by Klansmen and Nazis in Greenboro, N.C., on Nov. 3, 1979. Although an all white jury acquitted the defendants of murder and a second jury acquitted them of civil rights violations, a civil suit filed by survivors of the assault resulted in eight Klansmen being found liable for wrongful death in 1985. First conceived in 1980 as an organization to support the survivors of the assault, the Greensboro Justice Fund grew to support grassroots organizations and activists working for civil rights, social change, and radical democracy in the South.

The records of the Greensboro Justice Fund offer dramatic testimony to the impact of the Greensboro Massacre of 1979, and the manner in which a community of survivors and supporters cooperated to establish an organization that supplied grants to support grassroots social justice initiatives throughout the South.

Subjects

Communists--United StatesGreensboro (N.C.)--HistoryKu Klux KlanNeo-NazisRacism

Contributors

Greensboro Civil Rights FundNathan, MartyNathan, Michael

Types of material

NewsclippingsPhotographs
Gwin, Lucy

Lucy Gwin Papers

1982-2005
6 boxes 9 linear feet
Call no.: MS 822

Born in Indiana, the writer Lucy Gwin (1943-2014) lived “a lot of lives,” in her own words, working in advertising, as a dairy farmer, civil rights activist, and deckhand on ships servicing oil rigs, all before the age of 40. While living in Rochester, N.Y., in 1989, however, her life took a sudden turn. After a head-on collision with a drunk driver left her with traumatic brain injury, Gwin was remanded for care to the New Medico Brain Rehabilitation Center, where she witnessed a world of isolation, patient abuse, and powerlessness. Never one to shrink from a challenge, she escaped from the Center and used her skills as an organizer and writer to expose conditions at New Medico and shut the facility down. Through her experiences, Gwin emerged as a powerful, often acerbic voice in all-disability rights advocacy, becoming the founder, designer, and editor of the influential Mouth Magazine in 1990.

Lucy Gwin’s papers document the advocacy of an important figure in the disability rights movement. The rich documentation for Mouth Magazine includes comprehensive editorial files arranged issue by issue, some correspondence with authors and supporters, and copies of the published issue. The balance of the collection contains Gwin’s other work as a writer, personal correspondence, and materials relating to her experiences with and campaign against New Medico.

Subjects

Disabled--Civil rightsMouth Magazine
Hefner, William K.

William K. Hefner Papers

1962-1978
6 boxes 9 linear feet
Call no.: MS 129
Depiction of Bill Hefner for Congress
Bill Hefner for Congress

In 1960, William K. Hefner (1915-1993) became one of the first of new breed of radical pacifists to run for elective office, when he ran as a peace candidate for Congress in the 1st district of Massachusetts. An accountant from Greenfield, Hefner was involved at a national level with movements for peace and civil rights. An early member of SANE, a founder of Political Action for Peace in 1959 (now CPPAX) and the Greenfield Peace Center (1963), and an active member of the American Friends Service Committee, War Resisters League, Turn Toward Peace, and the World Without War Conference, Hefner was an energetic force in the movements for peace and disarmament, civil rights, and a more just economic system. He ran unsuccessfully for office in three elections between 1960 and 1964, and supported peace candidate H. Stuart Hughes in his bid for election to the U.S. Senate in 1962.

The Hefner papers offer a remarkable record of politically-engaged activism for peace and social justice in the early 1960s. With an intensely local focus, Hefner was tied in to the larger movements at the state and national level, corresponding with major figures such as A.J. Muste, Bayard Rustin, Benjamin Spock, and Arthur Springer. The collection includes particularly rich documentation of the early years of Political Action for Peace, which Hefner helped found, with correspondence, minutes of meetings, and publications, as well as equally rich materials on Hefner’s bids for congress in 1960 and 1962.

Subjects

American Friends Service Committee Western MassachusettsAntinuclear movement--MassachusettsCivil Rights movements--MassachusettsGreenfield Community Peace CenterMassachusetts Political Action for PeaceNonviolencePacifists--MassachusettsPeace movements--MassachusettsPlatform for Peace (Organization)Political Action for PeaceSANE, IncTurn Toward Peace (Organization)United States. Congress--Elections, 1960United States. Congress--Elections, 1962Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements

Contributors

Boardman, Elizabeth FHefner, William K.Hughes, H. Stuart (Henry Stuart), 1916-1999Muste, Abraham John, 1885-1967Rustin, Bayard, 1912-1987Springer, Arthur

Types of material

Minutes
Hoagland, Everett

Everett Hoagland Papers

1966-2018
4 boxes, 37 books 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 910
Everett Hoagland
Everett Hoagland at the PAWA World Poetry Conference in Accra, Ghana, 1999.

Poet Everett Hoagland was born and raised in Philadelphia and attended and graduated from Lincoln University, and later Brown University on a full fellowship for pursuing his Masters of Arts. Hoagland’s poetry came of age during the civil rights struggles of the 1960s and the Black Arts Movement, and is often powerfully political. Driven by the history, music, rhythms, and both collective and individual stories from African and African American culture and experiences, Hoagland is one of the most significant African American poets of the late twentieth century. His second chapbook, Black Velvet, was published by the pioneering Broadside Press in 1970, and he has remained widely published and anthologized through to the present day, including his most recent anthology addition, a poem about the Black Lives Matter movement. In addition to his writing, Hoagland has given readings across the nation and globe, and also served as a teacher and mentor to many, primarily in his position as a Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth for over thirty years. He has won numerous awards and honors, including the Gwendolyn Brooks Award for Fiction, two state-wide poetry competitions for Massachusetts Artists Foundation fellowships, the Distinguished Service to University award from UMass Dartmouth, two MA Local Cultural Council grants for book publications, ForeWord Magazine’s Best Poetry Book award, and most recently in 2015, the Langston Hughes Society Award. Hoagland also served, from 1994 to 1998, as the inaugural poet laureate of his adopted hometown of New Bedford, MA.

The Everett Hoagland Papers include manuscript materials and over twenty books documenting Hoagland’s decades-long career as a poet and writer on racial politics and African American experiences. They consist of photographs; performance and presentation programs, reviews, and recordings; interviews and articles; and unpublished and published writings including copies of Hoagland’s column in the New Bedford The Standard Times, a draft of his Master’s thesis, short fiction stories, a scrapbook of unpublished poetry, and poetry in magazines, periodicals, Hoagland’s authored poetry books, and numerous anthologies.

Gift of Everett Hoagland, 2016

Subjects

African American poetsAfrican American writersAfrican Americans--PoetryAmerican poetry--African American authorsBlack Arts MovementPoetry--New England--Massachusetts

Types of material

AnthologiesBooksPoems
Holmes, Francis W.

Francis W. Holmes Southern Student Project Collection

1964-1972
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1008
Depiction of Deborah Craig as majorette, ca.1966
Deborah Craig as majorette, ca.1966

Between 1957 and 1968, the Southern Student Project of the American Friends Service Committee brought academically gifted African American high school students from the south to live and study in the north. Working initially through its New York office, the AFSC announced its desire to bring “to promising young people, thwarted by the doctrine of the separation of the races, the fullest development of their gifts” while providing northern whites with “an experience which will increase our understanding and deepen our involvement with the human community.”

A dense and nearly comprehensive record of participation in the Southern Student Project of the American Friends Service Committee, the Holmes collection documents a Quaker response to the civil rights crisis of the late 1950s and 1960s. Holmes carefully filed nearly every relevant piece of paper associated with his participation, from the fliers that introduced him to the project to listings of eligible students, his lengthy letter of inquiry and application, and his numerous exchanges with his support committee, the local high school, and the American Friends Service Committee. Perhaps more important, he kept both sides of an extensive and often lengthy correspondence with the Craig family, describing Deborah’s adjustment and progress in Amherst and the response of the local community. The collection also includes Holmes’ report of the Friends Conference on Race Relations and some correspondence between Holmes and Craig during her time in college, when Holmes attempted to provide counsel and financial support to help Craig continue her education.

Gift of Becky Holmes, May 2018

Subjects

African Americans--EducationCivil rights movementsRace relations

Contributors

American Friends Service Committee. Southern Student ProjectCraig, DeborahMount Toby Monthly Meeting of Friends
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