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

Collecting area: Political activism

Taylor, Katya Sabaroff

Katya Sabaroff Taylor Papers

1959-2015
2 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 871
Depiction of Katya Sabaroff Taylor, 2015
Katya Sabaroff Taylor, 2015

Earning a B.A. in Literature from Antioch College and an M.A. in Education from Columbia University, Katya Sabaroff Taylor has worked as a journalist and editor, health educator, women’s studies instructor, massage therapist, yoga teacher and workshop facilitator. In 1980 she founded Creative Arts and Healing workshops, classes, and retreats to nurture the link between creativity and the healing process.

The collection features a wide range of Taylor’s work, reflecting her life-long love of writing and teaching. Her poetry, essays, and fiction are included along with her memoirs and personal accounts, the collected writings of several classes of prison inmates enrolled in Taylor’s creative writing workshops, and the recollections of former members of the Liberation News Service.

Subjects

DiaristsLiberation News Service (New York, N.Y.)Prison educatorsWomen authors

Types of material

EssaysMemoirsPoemsShort stories
UMass Peacemakers

UMass Peacemakers Records

1965-1990 Bulk: 1983-1990
10 boxes 20 linear feet
Call no.: MS 309
Depiction of Peacemakers contingent at the Four Days in April protests, 1984
Peacemakers contingent at the Four Days in April protests, 1984

Although the precise origins of UMass Peacemakers are murky, by 1982, the group was an active presence on the UMass Amherst campus organizing opposition to militarism and the nuclear arms race and providing support for the nuclear freeze movement. Organizing vigils, demonstrations, informational workshops, and providing civil disobedience training, the Peacemakers were the most visible pacifist group on the UMass Amherst campus in the 1980s.

The UMass Peacemakers Records focus on the activities of the student group between 1983 and 1990, documenting their role in confronting the aggressive international expansionism of the Reagan administration and its “Star Wars” program, while also engaging at the local and national level by organizing rallies, lectures, poetry readings, and film screenings. At UMass, Peacemakers was part of the larger Progressive Student Network, and worked alongside other student organizations including the Radical Student Union.

Gift of Peacemakers through Peter Sakura, May 1991

Subjects

Antinuclear movements--Massachusetts--AmherstCentral America--Foreign relations--United StatesDisarmament--MassachusettsPeace movements--Massachusetts--AmherstStudent movements--Massachusetts--AmherstUnited States--Foreign relations--Central AmericaUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--StudentsVietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--Massachusetts

Contributors

American Friends Service CommitteeUMass Peacemakers

Types of material

BrochuresPhotographs
University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst. Oral History Collection

1974-2014
ca.300 interviews
Call no.: RG 001/207

Beginning in the 1970s, UMass Amherst began conducting oral histories to record the memories and experiences its community, and it has conducted several focused projects since, including projects tied to the 125th and 150th anniversaries of the university. The Department of Special Collections in the University Libraries regularly conducts audio and video interviews throughout the university and with members of the local community.

The interviews that comprise the this collection represent a lengthening history of oral historical work centered on the history of the UMass Amherst community. The topics of interviews range widely from administration, academic research teaching, state and local politics, student life, and activism

Subjects

University of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--HistoryUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--StaffUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--Students

Types of material

Oral historiesSound recordings
Unzicker, Rae

Rae Unzicker Papers

1979-1997
1 box 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 818
Depiction of Rae Unzicker
Rae Unzicker

Rae Unzicker’s exposure to the psychiatric system began at a young age. Growing up in an abusive home, her parents sent her to psychiatrists off and on for years before she was involuntarily committed. While there, she was quickly introduced to the chaotic and damaging atmosphere of a psychiatric institution, exposing her to mandatory drugs, seclusion rooms, forced feeding, and work “therapy” that required her to wash dishes six hours a day. Once she was release, Unzicker’s road to recovery was long, but after several suicide attempts and stays at other treatment facilities, she ultimately counted herself–along with her friend Judi Chamberlin, an early leader in the movement–a psychiatric survivor. Like Chamberlin, Unzicker embraced her role as an advocate of patient’s rights and for the radical transformation of the mental-health system. In 1995, President Clinton appointed her to the National Council on Disability; two years later she was elected president of the National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy (NARPA). Unzicker was widely known for her public appearances, conferences and speeches, and her writings, including numerous articles and contributions to the book Beyond Bedlam: Contemporary Women Psychiatric Survivors Speak Out. A survivor of cancer of the jaw and breast, Rae Unzicker died at her home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on March 22, 2001 at the age of 52.

Although a small collection, Rae Unzicker’s papers document her activities as a leading advocate for the rights of mental health patients, including transcripts of speeches and videotaped appearances, correspondence and feedback related to workshops and conferences, press kits, and newspaper clippings. The most important materials, however, are her writings. It is through her poems and her full-length memoir, You Never Gave Me M & M’s, that Unzicker’s story and voice are preserved.

Subjects

AntipsychiatryEx-mental patientsPeople with disabilities--Civil rightsPeople with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.Psychiatric survivors movement

Contributors

Unzicker, Rae

Types of material

MemoirsVideotapes
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
Wentworth, Mary L.

Mary L. Wentworth Papers

1966-1968
13 boxes 19.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 522

The activist Mary Wentworth has worked throughout New England on behalf of a variety of progressive causes, beginning with the antiwar and feminist movements in the 1960s and 1970s and working against racism and other forms of discrimination, militarism, patriarchy, corporate power, and U.S. imperialism. In 1984, she ran for U.S. Congress against long-term incumbent Silvio O. Conte, winning almost 30% of the vote in a district in which Conte had run unopposed.

The Wentworth Papers include records relating to her congressional campaign against Conte, material on U.S. involvement in Central America during the 1980s, and other issues of concern throughout her career.

Subjects

Activists--MassachusettsAnti-imperialist movementsCentral America--Foreign relations--United StatesConte, Silvio O. (Silvio Oltavio), 1921-1991Peace movements--MassachusettsUnited States--Foreign relations--Central America

Contributors

Wentworth, Mary L

Types of material

Photographs
WFCR (Radio station : Amherst, Mass.)

WFCR Radio Broadcast Collection

1954-1987 Bulk: 1964-1987
308 boxes 462 linear feet
Call no.: MS 741
Depiction of WFCR studio
WFCR studio

The first public radio station in western New England, WFCR Five College Radio has provided a mix of high quality, locally-produced and nationally syndicated programming since May 1961. In 2012, the station reached over 175,000 listeners per week, with a mix of classical and jazz music, news, and entertainment.

The WFCR Collection contains nearly 4,500 reel to reel recordings of locally-produced radio programs, reflecting over fifty years of the cultural and intellectual life of western Massachusetts. Drawing upon the talents of the faculty and students of the Five Colleges (Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and UMass Amherst), the collection offers a remarkable breadth of content, ranging from public affairs to community and national news, cultural programming, children’s programming, news and current events, scholarly lectures, classical music, and jazz.

Subjects

Amherst (Mass.)Pioneer Valley (Mass.)Radio stations--Massachusetts

Contributors

WFCR (Radio station : Amherst, Mass.)

Types of material

Sound recordings
Whipple, Charles L.

Charles L. Whipple Papers

1925-1991
21 boxes 10.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 360
Depiction of Charles L. Whipple, ca.1935
Charles L. Whipple, ca.1935

Charles Lewis Whipple was a noted journalist, editor, and the first ombudsperson for the Boston Globe. As a student at Harvard in the 1930s, Whipple joined the Young Communist League, carrying his radical politics with him when he joined the Globe’s staff in 1936 and became an active member of the American Newspaper Guild. Although classified as unfit for military duty due to the loss of vision in one eye, Whipple joined the Red Cross during the Second World War, and served with distinction with over thirty months of overseas service. After returning to civilian life and severing ties with the Communist Party, he resumed his position at the Globe, rising steadily to become editor of the opinion page in 1962 and ombudsperson in 1975. An editorial he wrote in 1967 is considered the first editorial in a major American newspaper to oppose the war in Vietnam. Although he formally retired from the Globe in 1979. Whipple worked an additional three years with the Xinhua News Agency in Beijing as editor of the Beijing Review and the China Daily, China’s first English-language daily. Whipple died in Northampton, Mass., in 1991, following complications from surgery.

A mixture of personal and professional correspondence, writing, and subject and clipping files, the Charles Whipple Papers document a long and exceptional career in journalism. The diverse roles that Whipple filled at the Boston Globe from the 1930s through 1970s resulted in rich documentation of his work as an organizer for the American Newspaper Guild on the eve of the Second World War; his writing and editorial work during the Vietnam War and as the Globe’s Ombudsman in the 1970s; and the three years he spent in China setting up an English-language newspaper during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Subjects

American Newspaper GuildBoston GlobeCommunists--MassachusettsJournalists--Massachusetts--BostonLabor unions--Massachusetts--BostonNewspaper employees--Labor unions--MassachusettsVietnam War, 1961-1975

Contributors

Whipple, Charles L.

Types of material

Photographs
Wilson, Douglas Fir

Douglas Fir Wilson Papers

1975-2012
6 boxes 9 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1059

A philosopher, writer, activist, and artist, Douglas Wilson founded the Rowe Conference Center affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist camp in Rowe, Mass. Born in Vancouver, B.C., in 1946, but raised primarily in California, Wilson earned degrees at UC Santa Barbara (1967) and the Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley (1970), before being ordained at the First Uniarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn. He first came to Rowe in 1971 to work as assistant director of the Junior High summer camp, but soon proposed building a center at Rowe modeled on the Esalen Institute which would offer year-round retreats and workshops founded in Unitarian Universalist principles of equality, justice, freedom, peace, and the respect for the interdependent web of all existence. Serving as Executive Director (and after 1985, as co-Executive Director with his partner Prue Berry), Wilson brought together people who were “politically aware, psychologically sophisticated, and religiously based,” ranging from the Berrigans and Nearings to Jean Houston and Abbie Hoffman. The Wilsons retired from Rowe in December 2012.

The Wilson collection contains nearly forty years of files accumulated during Douglas Wilson’s time as Director of the Rowe Conference Center. In addition to a nearly complete run of the Center newsletter, Wilson retained materials on dozens of the thinkers, writers, and activists who came to Rowe, with each file containing correspondence (usually both directions), background notes and clippings.

Gift of Douglas Fir Wilson and Prue Berry, Nov. 2018

Subjects

Peace movements--MassachusettsUnitarian Universalist Rowe Camp & Conference CenterUnitarians--Massachusetts

Types of material

Newsletters