The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Special Collections & University Archives
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Collecting area: Civil rights

Howland family

Howland Family Papers

1727-1886 Bulk: 1771-1844
2 boxes 0.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 923

The Howland family of East Greenwich, R.I., figured prominently in New England Quakerism during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and contributed to the state’s public affairs. Brothers Daniel (1754-1834), an approved minister, and Thomas Howland (1764-1845), an educator, were active members of the Society during the tumultuous years between the 1780s and 1840s, caught up in the moral demands for a response to slavery and other social issues and in the divisions wrought by evangelical influences.

Centered largely on the lives of Thomas Howland, his brother Daniel, and Daniel’s son Daniel, the Howland collection is an important record of Quaker life in Rhode Island during trying times. As meeting elders, the Howlands monitored and contributed to the era’s major controversies, and the collection is particularly rich in discussions of the impact of slavery and the passionate struggle between Friends influenced by the evangelically-inclined Joseph John Gurney and the orthodox John Wilbur. Thomas’ complex response to his commitment to the antislavery cause and his fear of disrupting meeting unity is particularly revealing. Also of note is a series of responses from monthly meetings to queries on compliance with Quaker doctrine, obtained during the decade after the American Revolution.

Subjects

Antislavery movements--Rhode IslandEast Greenwich (R.I.)--HistoryPeace movements--Rhode IslandTemperance--Rhode Island

Contributors

Bassett, William, 1803-1871Brown, Moses, 1738-1836Friends' Boarding School (Providence, R.I.)Gurney, Joseph John, 1788-1847Howland, DanielHowland, Daniel, 1754-1834Howland, Thomas, 1764-1845Moses Brown SchoolNew England Yearly Meeting of FriendsShearman, Abraham, 1777-1847Society of Friends--Controversial literatureSociety of Friends--HistoryTobey, Samuel Boyd, 1805-1867Wilbur, John, 1774-1856
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)
Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage

Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage Records

1975-2006 Bulk: 1997-1999
6 boxes 6.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 758
Depiction of Landing at Havana, Cuba, Nov. 24, 1998
Landing at Havana, Cuba, Nov. 24, 1998

Organized at the New England Peace Pagoda in Leverett, Mass., the Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage was a twelve-month walk through the eastern United States, the Caribbean, Brazil, West Africa, and South Africa in 1998-1999, reversing the direction of the Middle Passage symbolically and geographically. A “living prayer of the heart, mind, and body for the sons and daughters of the African Diaspora,” the Pilgrimage was intended by the participants to contribute to a process of healing the wounds inflicted by hundreds of years of slavery and racial oppression. Along the way, participants visited sites associated with the history of slavery, from slaves’ quarters in Virginia to stations on the Underground Railroad and villages that had been raided in Africa, offering prayers for those who had suffered under slavery and commemorating the dignity of those held in bondage and those who resisted.

Chronicling the course of the Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage from conception to conclusion, this collection contains a rich textual and visual record of a spiritual approach to addressing the legacy of slavery in the Americas. The collection includes the range of materials collected by participants during the Pilgrimage, including lists of reading materials, information on the sites visited, a handful of mementoes and souvenirs, some correspondence, and notes and photographs taken along the way.

Subjects

Pilgrims and pilgrimagesSlavery--History

Types of material

Photographs
International Oil Working Group

International Oil Working Group Collection

1957-1987 Bulk: 1980-1985
29 boxes 15 linear feet
Call no.: MS 268

The International Oil Working Group (IOWG) is one of a number of organizations that worked to implement an oil embargo initiated by the United Nations General Assembly against South Africa to protest the country’s policies of apartheid. The IOWG grew out of the Sanctions Working Group established in 1979. Although the nature and timing of the change in names is unclear, it appears that Dr. Teresa Turner was instrumental in the formation of both groups and was primarily responsible for their organization and administration. Other directors included Luis Prado, Arnold Baker and Kassahun Checole. While the group was loosely organized, it maintained the basic structure of a special advisory board with a pool of research associates. Primary activities involved researching topics related to the oil embargo; writing papers for regional, national, and international conferences; giving testimony at UN meetings; providing information to governments, unions and other groups committed to aiding in the implementation of the oil embargo; lecturing to students and members of the community on the subject of sanctions against South Africa; and collaborating with the UN Center Against Apartheid. Research topics included tanker monitoring to detect and expose those shipping companies that broke the embargo; the energy needs in those countries in southern Africa which depend upon South Africa to meet some of their energy demands; ways to effectively implement and enforce the oil embargo; trade union action by oil transport workers; Namibian independence and decolonization; and underground oil storage in South Africa.

Collection consists of administrative papers including financial records, minutes and association history materials; correspondence; printed materials produced by the IOWG; conference files; UN documents relating to South Africa and sanctions; and reference materials, including published reports, news clippings, newsletters and journals, related to oil shipping, tanker information and South African economic and political activity generally.

Subjects

Apartheid--South Africa--HistoryEconomic sanctions--South Africa--HistoryEmbargoNamibia--History--Autonomy and independence movementsNamibia--Politics and government--1946-1990Petroleum industry and trade--History--20th centuryPetroleum industry and trade--Political aspects--South AfricaSouth Africa--Politics and government--1978-1989Tankers--South Africa--History

Contributors

International Oil Working GroupTurner, Terisa
Jaffe, Bernard

Bernard Jaffe Papers

1955-2016
4 boxes 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 906
Depiction of W.E.B. Du Bois at home in Accra, 1963
W.E.B. Du Bois at home in Accra, 1963

A New York native with a deep commitment to social justice, Bernard Jaffe was an attorney, confidant, and longtime friend of W.E.B. Du Bois and Shirley Graham Du Bois. In 1951, Jaffe joined Du Bois’s defense team at a time when the civil rights leader was under indictment for failing to register as a foreign agent. Forging a close relationship through that experience, he was retained as a personal attorney, representing the Du Bois family interests after they settled abroad. Jaffe was later instrumental in placing the papers of both W.E.B. Du Bois and Shirley Graham Du Bois and served on the executive board of the W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation, set up by Shirley’s son, David Graham Du Bois.

This rich collection centers on the close relationship between attorney Bernard Jaffe and his friends and clients, Shirley Graham Du Bois and W.E.B. Du Bois. Although there is little correspondence from W.E.B. Du Bois himself, the collection contains an exceptional run of correspondence with Shirley, from the time of her emigration to Ghana in 1961 until her death in China in 1977 and excellent materials relating to David Graham Du Bois and the work of the W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation.

Gift of Jonathan Klate and Bernard Jaffe, Apr. 2016

Subjects

Ghana--History--1957-

Contributors

Du Bois, David GrahamDu Bois, Shirley Graham, 1896-1977Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963W. E. B. Du Bois Foundation

Types of material

Photographs
Kaplan, Sidney, 1913-

Sidney and Emma Nogrady Kaplan Papers

ca.1937-1993
58 boxes 85 linear feet
Call no.: FS 149
Depiction of Sidney Kaplan, May 1972
Sidney Kaplan, May 1972

An eminent scholar of African American history and activist, Sidney Kaplan was raised in New York City and graduated from City College in 1942. After wartime service as a Lieutenant in the Army, Kaplan returned to his education, completing an MA in history from Boston University (1948) and PhD at Harvard (1960), taking up the study of African American history at a time when few white scholars showed interest. Joining the English Department at UMass in 1946, Kaplan’s influence was widely felt at UMass Amherst and in the local community: he was among the founders of the Department of Afro-American Studies, a founder of the UMass Press, a founder and editor of the Massachusetts Review, and he was the editor of Leonard Baskin’s Gehenna Press. Over more than thirty years at UMass, he worked on diverse projects in history, literature, and the arts, often in partnership with his wife Emma Nogrady, a librarian at Smith College whom he married in 1933, ranging from studies of Poe and Melville to a biographical dictionary of African Americans and a study of Shays’ Rebellion. In 1973, they were co-authors of the first comprehensive study of depictions of African Americans in the visual arts, The Black Presence in the Era of the American Revolution (based on an exhibition planned for the National Portrait Gallery), and in 1991, the UMass Press published a collection of Sidney’s essays, American Studies in Black and White. A Fulbright lecturer in Greece and Yugoslavia and exchange Professor at the University of Kent, Kaplan was the recipient of the Bancroft Award from the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History for best article of the year in the Journal of Negro History, and he was awarded the UMass Amherst Chancellor’s Medal in 1979, one year after his retirement. Sidney Kaplan died in 1993 at age 80 and was followed by Emma in 2010.

The Kaplan Papers document a long career devoted to the study of African American history and life. The extensive correspondence, research notes, and drafts of articles and other materials offer important insight into the growth of African American studies from the 1950s through 1970s as well as the growth of UMass Amherst into a major research university.

Gift of Paul Kaplan, May 2011

Subjects

African Americans--HistoryMassachusetts ReviewUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Afro-American StudiesUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of EnglishUniversity of Massachusetts Press

Contributors

Kaplan, Emma Nogrady, 1911-Kaplan, Sidney, 1913-
Levasseur, Raymond Luc

Raymond Luc Levasseur Papers

1966-2017
10 boxes 12 linear feet
Call no.: MS 971

Raymond Luc Levasseur went underground with a revolutionary Marxist organization in 1974 and spent a decade in armed resistance against the American state. Radicalized by his experiences in Vietnam and by a stint in a Tennessee prison for the sale of marijuana, Levasseur became convinced that revolutionary action was a “necessary step in defeating the enemy — monopoly Capitalism and its Imperialism expression.” As a leader of the Sam Melville/Jonathan Jackson Unit, later called the United Freedom Front, he took part in a string of bombings and bank robberies targeting symbols of the state including government and military buildings and corporate offices. All active members of the UFF were arrested in 1984 and 1985 and sentenced to long prison terms, although the government’s effort to prosecute them (the Ohio 7) on separate charges of seditious conspiracy ultimately failed. Levasseur served twenty years of a 45-year prison sentence, approximately thirteen years of them in solitary confinement, before being released on parole in 2004. He continues to write and speak out for prisoners’ rights.

The Levasseur papers are an important record of a committed revolutionary and political prisoner. Beginning with his work in the early 1970s with the Statewide Correctional Alliance for Reform (SCAR), a prisoners’ rights organization, the collection includes communiques and other materials from revolutionary groups including the UFF, the Armed Resistance Unit, and the Black Liberation Army; Levasseur’s political and autobiographical writings; numerous interviews; selected correspondence; and a range of material on political prisoners and mass incarceration. Consisting in part of material seized by the FBI following Levasseur’s arrest or recovered through the Freedom of Information Act, and supplemented by newsclippings and video from media coverage, the collection has particularly rich content for the criminal and seditious conspiracy trials of UFF members (also known as the “Ohio 7”) in Brooklyn, NY and Springfield, MA, as well as Levasseur’s years in prison and his work on behalf of political prisoners.

Gift of Raymond Luc Levasseur, 2017

Subjects

Anti-imperialist movements--United StatesPolitical prisoners--United StatesPrisons--United StatesRevolutionaries

Contributors

Armed Clandestine MovementBlack Liberation ArmyManning, TomOhio 7Sam Melville/Jonathan Jackson UnitStatewide Correctional Alliance for ReformUnited Freedom FrontWilliams, Raymond C.

Types of material

PhotographsTrials
Lewis, David L., 1936-

David Levering Lewis Papers

ca.1955-2012
54 boxes 81 linear feet
Call no.: MS 827
Depiction of David Levering Lewis
David Levering Lewis

The historian David Levering Lewis is the author of eight remarkably diverse monographs. Raised in an academic family, his father was president of Morris Brown College, Lewis enrolled at Fisk University at the age of 15 and was only 26 when he was awarded a doctorate in modern European history from the London School of Economics (1962). Through an academic career that has included numerous stops, including Morgan State, Notre Dame, Howard, the University of the District of Columbia (1970-1980), and Rutgers (1985-2003), Lewis remained consistently productive. Author of the first academic biography of Martin Luther King (1970) and a history of the Dreyfus Affair (1974), he wrote an influential study of the Harlem renaissance (1981) and important works on colonialism in Africa (1987) and Islamic Spain (2008), but he is best known for his two monumental biographies of W.E.B. Du Bois (1993, 2000), each of which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. One of the most lauded African American historians of his generation, Lewis was recipient of the Bancroft Prize, the Francis Parkman Prizes, the 2009 National Humanities Medal, and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and he was elected as a Fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. Lewis was Julius Silver University Professor in History at New York University from 2003 until his retirement.

The papers of David Levering Lewis document a long and productive career as an academic historian and scholar of African American history and culture. Beginning with his years in college and graduate school, the collection offers a rich perspective on the evolution of his career. Lewis’s essential biographies of W.E.B. Du Bois are particularly well documented, however the collection includes abundant materials for each of his earlier projects, including correspondence, research notes, and drafts.

Subjects

African Americans--HistoryColonies--Africa--HistoryDu Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963Harlem RenaissanceHistorians--United StatesKing, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968United States--History--20th century

Types of material

Photographs
Liberation News Service (New York, N.Y.)

Liberation News Service (New York, N.Y.) Records

1968-1975
6 boxes 4.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1007
Cover of Liberation News Service issue 441, June 10, 1972.
Cover of Liberation News Service issue 441, June 10, 1972.

Founded in 1967, Liberation News Service, an alternative news agency, issued twice-weekly packets aimed at providing inexpensive images, articles, and art reflecting a countercultural outlook. First from its office in Washington, D.C., and then from New York City, LNS provided underground and college papers around the globe with radical and unconventional coverage of the war in Vietnam, global liberation struggles, American politics, and the cultural revolution. Two months after moving to New York City in June 1968, LNS split into two factions, with the sides mirroring common points of dispute within the New Left. The more traditional political and Marxist activists remained in New York, while those more aligned with the counterculture and “hippie” movement settled on farms in western Massachusetts and southern Vermont. For a year each faction put out competing versions of LNS news packets, until the winter conditions and small staff at the farm in Montague caused their production to end in January 1969. LNS-New York continued its production of unique leftist coverage of national and international issues throughout the 1970s, closing in 1981.

The LNS-NY Records include a relatively complete run of packets 102-701 (1968-1975) sent to the subscribing underground press newspaper the Indianapolis Free Press. Some packets and years are more complete than others, and these New York packets are especially dense with photographs compared to earlier LNS packets from before the split in 1968. The collection also includes a small selection of other artwork, articles, and materials kept by the Indianapolis Free Press.

Gift of Ron Haldeman, courtesy of Thomas P. Healy, January 2018

Subjects

News agencies--New York (State)Press and politicsRadicalismUnderground press publications

Contributors

Indianapolis Free PressLiberation News Service (New York, N.Y.)
Lipshires, Sidney

Sidney Lipshires Papers

1932-2012
7 boxes 3.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 730
Depiction of Sidney Lipshires
Sidney Lipshires

Born on April 15, 1919 in Baltimore, Maryland to David and Minnie Lipshires, Sidney was raised in Northampton, Massachusetts where his father owned two shoe stores, David Boot Shop and The Bootery. He attended the Massachusetts State College for one year before transferring to the University of Chicago and was awarded a BA in economics in 1940. His years at the University of Chicago were transformative, Lipshires became politically active there and joined the Communist Party in 1939. Following graduation in 1941, he married Shirley Dvorin, a student in early childhood education; together they had two sons, Ellis and Bernard. Lipshires returned to western Massachusetts with his young family in the early 1940s, working as a labor organizer. He served in the United States Army from 1943 to 1946 working as a clerk and interpreter with a medical battalion in France for over a year. Returning home, he ran for city alderman in Springfield on the Communist Party ticket in 1947. Lipshires married his second wife, Joann Breen Klein, in 1951 and on May 29, 1956, the same day his daughter Lisa was born, he was arrested under the Smith Act for his Communist Party activities. Before his case was brought to trial, the Smith Act was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Disillusioned with the Communist Party, he severed his ties with it in 1957, but continued to remain active in organized labor for the rest of his life. Earning his masters in 1965 and Ph.D. in 1971, Lipshires taught history at Manchester Community College in Connecticut for thirty years. During that time he worked with other campus leaders to establish a statewide union for teachers and other community college professionals, an experience he wrote about in his book, Giving Them Hell: How a College Professor Organized and Led a Successful Statewide Union. Sidney Lipshires died on January 6, 2011 at the age of 91.

Ranging from an autobiographical account that outlines his development as an activist (prepared in anticipation of a trial for conspiracy charges under the Smith Act) to drafts and notes relating to his book Giving Them Hell, the Sidney Lipshires Papers offers an overview of his role in the Communist Party and as a labor organizer. The collection also contains his testimony in a 1955 public hearing before the Special Commission to Study and Investigate Communism and Subversive Activities, photographs, and biographical materials.

Subjects

Communism--United States--HistoryCommunists--MassachusettsJews--Massachusetts--Northampton--HistoryJews--Political activity--United States--History--20th centuryLabor movement--United States--History--20th centuryLabor unions--United States--Officials and employees--Biography

Contributors

Lipshires, David MLipshires, Joann BLipshires, Sidney

Types of material

AutobiographiesPhotographsTestimonies