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

Collecting area: Political activism

Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition (MassCann)

Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition (MassCann) Records

1990-2008
6 boxes 9 linear feet
Call no.: MS 840
Depiction of JoeJoe and Pres. Bill Downing at Boston Freedom Rally, 1996. Photo by Sam Robbins.
JoeJoe and Pres. Bill Downing at Boston Freedom Rally, 1996. Photo by Sam Robbins.

The Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition (MassCann) is a state affiliate of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Founded in October 1990 by a group of Boston-based activists, MassCann is a strictly grassroots not-for-profit group that works to ameliorate laws against the use and possession of marijuana and to raise public awareness about the potential of marijuana and hemp products. In addition to lobbying legislators and promoting ballot initiatives to decriminalize adult possession in the Commonwealth, MassCann sponsors public events, such as the landmark conferences held at Harvard Law School in 1991 and 1994, a series of Tax Day protests (1994-1998) calling for regulation and taxation of marijuana, and most famously the Boston Freedom Rally, the second largest anti-prohibition gathering in the country held annually since 1992.

The MassCann collection documents the work and interests of a grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to ending marijuana prohibition, from oganizational and administrative records relating to events it sponsors, particularly the Boston Freedom Rally, to promotional materials and materials relating to the legal environment, and medical marijuana. The collection also includes a wealth of video, compact discs, and audiotapes documenting MassCann events along with recordings of commerical programming on marijuana.

Subjects

Marijuana--Law and legislationMarijuana--Physiological effectMarijuana--Therapeutic use--Social aspects

Contributors

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (U.S.)

Types of material

Sound recordingsVideotapes
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
Morehouse, Ward, 1929-

Ward Morehouse Papers

ca.1950-2012
120 boxes 180 linear feet
Call no.: MS 764
Depiction of Ward Morehouse at his desk in the Educational Resources Center, New Delhi, 1966
Ward Morehouse at his desk in the Educational Resources Center, New Delhi, 1966

A writer, educator, and activist for human rights and social justice, Ward Morehouse was a prominent critic of corporate power and globalization. Raised in a family of progressive political economists and academics in Wisconsin, Morehouse began his research in international political economy while a student at Yale (BA 1950, MA 1953) and embarked on a standard academic career path. After teaching political science at New York University for a time, he became director of international education at the Center for International and Comparative Studies in 1963, building a particularly strong program in India. However in 1976, conservative opposition to his political views led Morehouse to leave for a new post as president of the Council on International and Public Affairs (CIPA), a human rights organization he had helped found twenty years before. Throughout, he remained an activist at heart. Galvanized by the 1984 industrial disaster in Bhopal, India, he organized the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, and went on to form or work with many other organizations seeking to resist corporate power and build democracy, including the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy (POCLAD) and the Permanent People’s Tribunal, operating the radical Apex Press. Morehouse died in June 2012 at the age of 83.

The Morehouse collection is a massive archive documenting six decades of research, writing, and activism. A prolific writer and editor, Morehouse left a deep record of his activities, his research and writing on corporate power, and the full breadth of his commitments in labor relations, alternative economics, “people’s law,” and peace.

Gift of Ward Morehouse and Carolyn Oppenheim, Nov. 2013

Subjects

Anti-globalization movementBhopal Union Carbide Plant Disaster, Bhopal, India, 1984EconomicsIndia--Economic conditions

Contributors

Apex PressCenter for International and Comparative StudiesCouncil on International and Public AffairsPermanent Peoples' TribunalProgram on Corporations, Law and Democracy
Mungo, Raymond, 1946-

Raymond Mungo Papers

1966-2008
6 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 659
Depiction of Raymond Mungo, 1967
Raymond Mungo, 1967

Born in a “howling blizzard” in February 1946, Raymond Mungo became one of the most evocative writers of the 1960s counterculture. Through more than fifteen books and hundreds of articles, Mungo has brought a wry sense of humor and radical sensibility to explorations of the minds and experiences of the generation that came of age against a backdrop of the struggles for civil rights and economic justice, of student revolts, Black Power, resistance to war, and experimentation in communal living.

Consisting of the original typescripts and manuscripts of ten of Raymond Mungo’s books, along with corrected and uncorrected galleys and a small number of letters from publishers. Among the other materials in the collection are thirteen photographs of Mungo taken by Clif Garboden and Peter Simon during and immediately after his undergraduate years at Boston University; a DVD containing motion pictures of life at Packer Corners in 1969 and 1977; and an irate letter from a writer regarding the status of poems he had submitted to Liberation News Service.

Subjects

Communal living--MassachusettsCommunal living--VermontLiberation News Service (Montague, Mass.)Montague Farm Community (Mass.)Nineteen SixtiesPacker Corners Community (Vt.)Porche, Verandah

Contributors

Garboden, ClifMungo, Raymond, 1946-Simon, Peter, 1947-

Types of material

Photographs
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (U.S.)

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (U.S.) Records

1970-2008
84 boxes 91 linear feet
Call no.: MS 757
Depiction of Keith Stroup, ca. 1975
Keith Stroup, ca. 1975

Founded by attorney Keith Stroup in 1970, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is the nation’s oldest and most prominent organization advocating for an end to cannabis prohibition. A nonprofit public-interest advocacy group based in Washington, DC, NORML has lobbied at the state and federal levels for the elimination of penalties for the cultivation, possession, and responsible use of cannabis, and it has met with success in state-level efforts at decriminalization. Over the years, NORML has led a wide variety of educational initiatives and coordinated its activities with other organizations working for cannabis reform. More recently, NORML has become a significant voice in the struggle to legalize the therapeutic use of marijuana.

The records of NORML offer a perspective on more than forty years of grassroots advocacy in cause of drug policy legislation. Highly varied in nature, the records include organizational records, research files on marijuana and marijuana use, promotional materials prepared by NORML, and letters from persons incarcerated for possession. The collection is currently being received by SCUA with new additions expected in the near term.

Subjects

Marijuana--Law and legislationMarijuana--Physiological effectMarijuana--Therapeutic use--Social aspects

Contributors

Stroup, Keith, 1943-

Types of material

Letters (correspondence)PhotographsVideotapes
National Priorities Project

National Priorities Project Records

1983-2015
15 boxes 22.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 913

A national non-partisan, not-for-profit organization based in Northampton, Mass., the National Priorities Project was founded in 1983 by Greg Speeter, Brenda Loew, Ricky Fogel, and Alwin Schmidt to conduct research into the depths of the federal budget. Their first effort was to analyze the dramatic reductions affecting many social programs, but the organization grew around the principle of making the complex federal budget transparent and more publicly accessible so that the public can better influence how their tax dollars are spent. Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 in recognition of its pioneering work in tracking military spending, the NPP continues to work toward a federal budget that reflects Americans’ priorities, including funding for issues such as inequality, unemployment, education, healthcare, and the need to build a green economy.

The NPP collection documents over thirty years of a not-for-profit organization devoted to research-informed advocacy for a federal budget that reflects the priorities of most Americans. In addition to a run of NPP publications, the collection includes a series of topical files from Greg Speeter and his associates, selected correspondence, talks, and notes on their work.

Gift of Kris Elinevsky, 2016

Subjects

Military spendingUnited States--Appropriations and expenditures

Contributors

Speeter, Greg
New Song Library

New Song Library Collection

1974-2018
16 boxes 24 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1043

Founded by Johanna Halbeisen in 1974, the New Song Library was a collaborative resource for sharing music with performers, teachers and community activists, who in turn shared with a wide variety of audiences. Based initially in Boston, the Library was devoted to the music of social change and particularly music that reflected the lives and aspirations of workers, women and men, elders and young people, gays and lesbians, other minorities, and Third World people.

This collection contains over forty years of organizational and operational records of the New Song Library along with hundreds of sound recordings, primarily audiocassettes made at concerts, music festivals, song swaps, and gatherings of the People’s Music Network. The Library also collected newsletters and magazines on folk music, and most importantly dozens of privately produced songbooks and song indexes.

Gift of Johanna Halbeisen, 2017-2018

Subjects

Folk music

Types of material

Audiocassettes
Pioneer Valley Activists

Pioneer Valley Activist Collection

2000-2007
2 boxes 1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 474

Collection of posters and newspaper clippings documenting the work of activists throughout the Pioneer Valley. Although the bulk of the materials relate to protests against the war in Iraq, other issues include rallies and protests at UMass, revival of SDS, the Valley Anarchist Organization, and pro-union demonstrations.

Subjects

Political activists--MassachusettsStudents for a Democratic Society (U.S.)
Pyle, Christopher H.

Christopher Pyle Papers

ca.1970-1985
20 boxes 30 linear feet
Call no.: MS 545

As an army captain teaching constitutional law at the U.S. Army Intelligence School in Fort Holabird, Maryland during the late 1960s, Christopher Pyle learned about the army’s domestic spying operation that targeted antiwar and civil rights protesters. Disclosing his knowledge about that surveillance in 1970 in two award-winning articles, Pyle led the fight to end the military’s domestic spying program by testifying before three Congressional committees. Currently a professor of politics at Mount Holyoke College, Pyle continues to write about civil liberties and rights to privacy focusing his attention now on the Patriot Act and the detention of aliens and citizens without trial.

Documenting Pyle’s investigation into the military domestic spying operation, the collection consists of court transcripts, telephone logs, surveillance binders, correspondence, research notes, and news clippings.

Subjects

Civil rights--United StatesMilitary intelligenceMilitary surveillance--United States
Rodin, Phyllis

Phyllis Rodin Papers

1950-2014
ca.50 boxes 75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 894
Depiction of Phyllis Rodin
Phyllis Rodin

Born into a Jewish Lithuanian family in Williamsburg., N.Y., on May 10, 1914, Phyllis Rodin was drawn to the struggle for peace and social justice from early in life. Her widowed mother set an example as an antiwar activist and advocate for women’s rights, and after marrying at age 18, Phyllis and her husband ran a dairy farm that they reorganized on cooperative principles in the 1930s. A watershed in her life came after witnessing the suffering of war first hand while engaged as a psychiatric aid worker for the Red Cross during the Second World War. From that point, Rodin was an unrelenting activist for peace, traveling internationally and remaining vocal through the McCarthy era and Vietnam War and diving headlong into the second wave of the feminist movement. Returning to school late in life, she completed an undergraduate degree at Wisconsin before moving to Amherst in 1980 to study for a doctorate in Future Studies through the UMass Department of Education. Her activism barely skipped a beat as she worked closely with Quaker groups and stalwart activists such as her friend Frances Crowe to oppose nuclear weapons and violence in all forms. Rodin died in Amherst on Jan. 2015.

The Rodin Papers are the product of a long life of a woman devoted to the struggle for peace, feminism, and social justice. Richer in documenting Rodin’s latter decades and the philosophy of world peace she honed, the collection contains an abundance of correspondence, ephemera, and audiovisual materials related to international work in peacebuilding.

Acquired from Anne Griffin, Dec. 2015

Subjects

Antinuclear movement--MassachusettsFeministsPeace movements--Massachusetts