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

Collecting area: Civil rights

Nash, Herman B., Jr.

Herman B. Nash Papers

ca.1918-2016
26 boxes 11 linear feet
Call no.: MS 895
Depiction of Civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., March 1965
Civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., March 1965

In 1944, eighteen-year old Herman B. “Keek” Nash enlisted in the Army, and after intensive Japanese language training, was assigned for duty as an intelligence officer in American-occupied Osaka, Japan. Settling in northern New Jersey after his discharge from the service in 1947, Nash held a succession of jobs, including brakeman on the Pennsylvania Railroad, before deciding to try his hand at teaching, earning a master’s degree in education at Columbia Teachers College. A solid leftist politically and a strong supporter of social justice causes and civil rights, he marched with Martin Luther King at Selma and Washington, though his ardor and political convictions came at a cost. Investigated by the FBI for alleged Communist sympathies in the late 1950s, Nash was fired from his position teaching high school science in Teaneck, N.J., in 1969, after leading a sit-in protest against school tracking. He subsequently returned to work on the railroad, where he was active with the union and took part in efforts to increase participation by African Americans and women. Yoneko Nash, Nash’s wife of 43 years, died in 2004, with Keek following in 2010.

A rich assemblage, the papers of Herman Nash offer a glimpse into the life experiences of a socially conscious veteran of the Second World War. Nearly a quarter of the collection stems from Nash’s time in the military service, including while he was learning Japanese at the University of Chicago (1944-1945) and while he was stationed in occupied Japan from spring 1946 through the following winter. Among other noteworthy items are a thick series of intelligence reports on the reaction of the local population to the occupation, noting episodes of civil unrest, crime, and other forms of social instability. The collection also contains a significant body of correspondence with family and friends, including serval whom he met in Japan. The balance of the collection relates to Nash’s interests in social justice causes, highlighted by a significant series of photographs taken during a massive civil rights demonstration in Montgomery, Ala.

Gift of Alice Nash, 2015, 2017
Language(s): Japanese

Subjects

Civil rights movementsEducational changeJapan--History--Allied occupation, 1945-1952Socialists--United States

Types of material

Photographs
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 England Yearly Meeting of Friends

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends Records

1633-2018
384.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 902

In 1661, less than a decade after the first Friends arrived in British North America, the precursor to the New England Yearly Meeting was organized as the Rhode Island Yearly Meeting. As one of approximately two dozen yearly meetings in the United States, the NEYM currently comprises eight quarterly meetings and approximately 85 monthlies, which are the basic unit of organization for the Society. Like many Yearly meetings, the NEYM has been diverse in spiritual practice, reflected in a history of separations and reunions. Most famously, Orthodox Friends in New England divided in the 1840s into the increasingly evangelically-oriented Gurneyites, who went by the name Yearly Meeting of Friends for New England (joining Friends United Meeting in 1902), and the Wilburites, sometimes called Conservative Friends. In 1945, the disparate branches formally reunited.

Consolidated beginning in the 1960s, the NEYM collection contains the official records of the New England Yearly Meeting from its founding in the seventeenth century to the present, along with records of most of its constituent Quarterly, Monthly, and Preparative Meetings and records of Quaker schools and trusts. As varied as the Quaker practice they document, these records include minutes of meetings for business; committee records; newsletters, financial records; some personal papers; printed books and serials; and an assortment of photographs, audiovisual materials, microfilm, and electronic records. Of particular note are the vital statistics recorded by the Monthly Meetings, including general information on births, deaths, marriages, membership, and obituaries, and specifically-Quaker information on removals (formal letters written as members moved from one meeting to another), denials, testimonies (beliefs and convictions), and sufferings (penalties suffered by Quakers for following testimonies). The Archives Committee of the NEYM is a partner in records management and on-going documentation of the Meeting and its constituent bodies. The collection also includes several thousand Quaker books and pamphlets, including the libraries of Moses and Obadiah Brown and several individual monthly meetings. The records of most monthly meetings in Maine are held at the Maine Historical Society, while important bodies of records are held at the Newport Historical Society (some Nantucket and Rhode Island Meetings) or at individual Monthly Meetings.

An overview of the NEYM collections and a comprehensive inventory and finding aid prepared by Richard Stattler in 1997 at the Rhode Island Historical Society are available online. Stattler’s inventory includes materials in the NEYM Collection at UMass, as well as NEYM materials held at other institutions. SCUA’s updated inventory will follow in 2017.

Subjects

Quakers--New EnglandSociety of Friends--New England--History
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
Northampton Domestic Partnership Coalition

Northampton Domestic Partnership Coalition Collection

1993-1995.
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 512

Established in 1995 to gain city-wide support for a domestic partnership ordinance, the Northampton Domestic Partnership Coalition’s campaign included fund raising and neighborhood canvassing. Their early efforts succeeded, and in May 1995, the Northampton City Council passed an ordinance recognizing domestic partnerships in the city allowing people of either gender to register as a couple and entitling them to visitation and child care rights in schools, jails, and health care facilities. After a summer of campaigning on both sides, the measure failed by fewer than one hundred votes.

Consisting chiefly of newspaper clippings covering both sides of the debate over Northampton’s domestic partnership ordinance, this collection includes perspectives extending from Northampton and Boston to Washington D.C. Among the publications represented are The Catholic Monitor, The Washington Blade, and Boston Magazine.

Subjects

Domestic partner benefits--Law and legislation--MassachusettsGay couples--Legal status, laws, etc.--MassachusettsLesbian couples--Legal status, laws, etc.--MassachusettsNorthampton (Mass.)--Politics and governmentNorthampton (Mass.)--Social life and customs

Contributors

Northampton Domestic Partnership Coalition

Types of material

Clippings (Information artifacts)
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)
Penney, Darby

Darby Penney Papers

1887-2008 Bulk: 1992-2004
23 boxes, 1 oversized folder 15 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1166

Darby Penney, born in 1952, was herself a psychiatric survivor and devoted her life to activism and support of the psychiatric consumer/survivor/ex-patient (C/S/X) movement. Above all, she believed the voices of survivors themselves should be used in policy and program design, and she spent the latter part of her life collecting those voices in her C/S/X Oral History Project. Penney worked for the New York State Office of Mental Health for almost fifteen years, with roles including Director of Recipient Affairs and Director of Historical Projects, until she was let go in 2003 due to her outspoken views on coercive treatment of patients. This freed her to devote her time to creating nonprofits and advocacy groups for the C/S/X movement, as well as overseeing the Oral History Project. She designed a museum exhibit to give voice to the patients of Willard State Hospital, based on the contents of more than four hundred suitcases found in the hospital’s attic, and co-authored a book called The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic, published in 2008. Penney died in 2021.

The Darby Penney Papers comprise Penney’s research on psychiatric treatment and patient narratives, her writings and presentations, and her oral history work, including over two hundred interviews done by the C/S/X Oral History Project. The documentation, cassette tapes, and transcripts of this project forms the bulk of the collection.

Gift of Darby Penney, June 2021

Subjects

Ex-mental patientsMental health services--United StatesPeople with disabilities--Civil rightsPsychiatric hospitals--New YorkPsychiatric survivors movement

Types of material

AudiotapesFloppy disksNewslettersOral historiesVideotapes
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
Povirk, Eugene

Eugene Povirk Collection of ACLU Press Releases

1961-1984
3 boxes 4.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 925

The American Civil Liberties Union has played a significant role in working with the courts, legislatures, and the public to protect civil liberties in the United States. Founded in 1920, the organization has a membership of more than a million.

An extensive run of press releases issued by the national office of the ACLU between 1961 and 1984, this collection reflects the organization’s priorities and public communications strategies during a critical time in the struggle for civil liberties. The topics range from organizational changes within the ACLU to the major issues in civil liberties of the day, including those pertaining to the civil rights movement, civic unrest, freedom of the press, the Vietnam War, and the counterculture.

Gift of Eugene Povirk, Mar. 2016

Subjects

Civil rights--United StatesFreedom of the pressVietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements

Types of material

Press releases