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African American history

Founders of the Niagara Movement, ca.1905

Founders of the Niagara Movement, ca.1905

The acquisition of the papers of W.E.B. Du Bois in 1972 established SCUA as a center for research in African American history. In subsequent years, UMass has supported publication of three volumes of Du Bois’ correspondence and SCUA has digitized the papers and made them freely available on the internet while serving as a resource for many dozens of scholarly articles and books. SCUA continues in its efforts to build around the Du Bois collection, adding other important printed and manuscript materials both in African American history and in the history of efforts to promote social change.

Every February, SCUA and the Du Bois Department of Afro-Americans Studies at UMass Amherst commemorate Du Bois’s birthday by co-sponsoring a public colloquium on Du Bois and his legacy. Our lecturers have included distinguished scholars such as Herbert and Bethina Aptheker, Randolph Bromery, Clayborne Carson, Arnold Rampersad, and David Levering Lewis.

Significant collections (view all)

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Great Barrington (Mass.)

Charles Taylor Collection
1731-1904
(5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 104

Collection of historical documents compiled by Charles Taylor, author of the 1882 town history of Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Includes Court of Common Pleas cases, deeds, estate papers, indentures, land surveys, sheriff’s writs, town history reference documents, Samuel Rossiter’s financial papers, and genealogical research papers for over 40 families.

Subjects
  • Debt--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
  • Farm tenancy--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
  • Great Barrington (Mass.)--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Great Barrington (Mass.)--Genealogy
  • Great Barrington (Mass.)--History
  • Great Barrington (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Great Barrington (Mass.)--Social conditions
  • Land use--Massachusetts--Great Barrington
Contributors
  • Ives, Thomas
  • Kellogg, Ezra
  • Pynchon, George
  • Pynchon, Walter
  • Root, Hewitt
  • Rossiter, Samuel
  • Taylor, Charles J. (Charles James), 1824-1904
Types of material
  • Deeds
  • Genealogies
  • Land surveys
  • Writs

Miscellaneous Manuscripts

Miscellaneous Manuscripts
1717-2003
6 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 719

Miscellaneous Manuscripts is an artificial collection that brings together single items and small groups of related materials. Although the collection reflects the general collecting emphases in SCUA, particularly the history of New England, the content ranges widely in theme and format.

Subjects
  • Massachusetts--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Massachusetts--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Massachusetts--History
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government
  • Massachusetts--Social conditions--18th century
  • Massachusetts--Social conditions--19th century
  • Massachusetts--Social conditions--20th century
Types of material
  • Account books
  • Correspondence
  • Photographs

Association for Gravestone Studies

Association for Gravestone Studies Book Collection
1812-2005
269 items (14 linear feet)
Call no.: RB 004

Founded in 1977, the Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS) is an international organization dedicated to furthering the study and preservation of gravestones. Based in Greenfield, Mass., the Association promotes the study of gravestones from historical and artistic perspectives. To raise public awareness about the significance of historic gravemarkers and the issues surrounding their preservation, the AGS sponsors conferences and workshops, publishes both a quarterly newsletter and annual journal, Markers, and has built an archive of collections documenting gravestones and the memorial industry.

The AGS Books Collection contains scarce, out of print, and rare printed works on cemeteries and graveyards, epitaphs and inscriptions, and gravemarkers, with an emphasis on North America. The AGS Books Collection also includes the AGS publication, Markers. The collection is divided into three series: Series 1 (Monographs and Offprints), Series 2 (Theses and Dissertations), and Series 3 (Markers).

Subjects
  • Cemeteries
  • Epitaphs
  • Gravestones
Contributors
  • Association for Gravestone Studies

W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture

Du Bois and Mao Tse-Tung, 1959

Du Bois and Mao Tse Tung, 1959

The Department of Special Collections and University Archives and the Department of Afro-American Studies at UMass Amherst co-sponsor an annual colloquium to commemorate W.E.B. Du Bois. Timed to coincide with the anniversary of his birth (February 23), the departments invite a distinguished Speaker to discuss Dr. Du Bois’ life, work, and legacy.

 

22nd Annual W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture, 2016
2016 Feb. 26. 4pm. Campus Center Auditorium, UMass Amherst
Speaker: Aldon Morris, Leon Forrest Professor of Sociology and African American Studies, Northwestern University
Title: W.E.B. Du Bois and the founding of Sociology
21st Annual W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture, 2015
2015 Feb. 23. 4pm. Campus Center Auditorium, UMass Amherst
Speaker: David Levering Lewis, Julius Silver University Professor and Professor of History at New York University
Title: W.E.B. Du Bois
20th Annual W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture, 2014
2014 Feb. 25. 4pm. Campus Center Auditorium, UMass Amherst
Performer: Brian Richardson and Pulse Ensemble Theatre
Title: “A Man for All Times: W.E.B. Du Bois”
Brian Richardson as W.E.B. Du Bois

This year’s Du Bois Birthday Celebration features performances of “A Man for All Times: W.E.B. Du Bois,” performed by the Pulse Ensemble Theatre. The one-hour one-man show of the 95-year-long life of W.E.B. Du Bois unfolds in a gripping performance by Brian Richardson, and a moving script by writer/director Alexa Kelly. Learn more about Great Barrington’s native son, civil rights leader, and visionary of equality and democracy at this free performance by Pulse Theatre Ensemble.

Additional free performances will be held on Saturday, February 22, 7:00 p.m., at Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and on Sunday, February 23, 10:00 a.m., at St. John’s Congregational Church, Springfield, Massachusetts.

19th Annual W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture, 2013
2013 Feb. 26. 4pm. Lower Level, W.E.B. Du Bois Library
Speaker: Arthur McFarlane II
Title: “The Life of W.E.B. Du Bois and Its Relevance to Today
Colorado Department of Public Health and Envrionment

McFarlane, the great-grandson of W.E.B. Du Bois, will discuss the legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois, civil rights activist, co-founder of the NAACP, and the first African American to receive a PhD from Harvard University.

Previous Du Bois Lectures:
2012 Feb. 23
Speaker: Derrick Alridge
Title: “Ideas Have Consequences: The Radical Pedagogy of W.E.B. Du Bois”
Professor in the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Derrick Alridge

Derrick Alridge is author of The Educational Thought of W.E.B. Du Bois: An Intellectual History, lead editor of Message in the Music: Hip Hop, History, and Pedagogy, and Distinguished Lecturer for the Association of the Study of African American Life and History. He is currently completing an intellectual history of Hip Hop as a social movement called The Hip Hop Mind: An Intellectual History of the Social Consciousness of a Generation (University of Wisconsin Press) and is conducting research for a book on the role of education in the civil rights movement.

An educational and intellectual historian, Alridge is associate editor of the Journal of African American History and served as Director of the Institute for African American Studies. Alridge’s areas of scholarship include the history of African America education, African American intellectual history and the history of ideas, and civil rights studies. His work has been published in the Journal of African American History, the Journal of Negro Education, and teh History of Education Quarterly, among others.

2011 Feb. 28
Speaker: Bettina Aptheker
Title: “W.E.B. Du Bois: Personal Stories/Political Reflections”
Distinguished Professor of Feminist Studies and History
University of California, Santa Cruz
Bettina Aptheker

Bettina Aptheker is Distinguished Professor of Feminist Studies and History at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she has taught for more than 30 years. Her most recent book is a memoir, Intimate Politics: How I Grew Up Red, Fought for Free Speech and Became a Feminist Rebel (2006). It contains many stories of her early friendship with W.E.B. and Shirley Graham Du Bois. Other major books include, The Morning Breaks: The Trial of Angela Davis (1976; 2nd edition, 1999); Woman’s Legacy: Essays on Race, Sex, and Class in American History (1982) and Tapestries of Life: Women’s Work, Women’s Consciousness, and the Meaning of Daily Experience (1989). She is the biographer of Shirley Graham Du Bois for Notable American Women, and is currently writing a critical essay on Graham Du Bois’ creative career as an opera composer, playwright, biographer, and novelist. She is also at work on a major research project: “Queering the History of the American Left: 1940s-1980s.”

2010 Feb. 25
Speaker: Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham
Title: “The Many Lives of W.E.B. Du Bois in the New From Slavery to Freedom
Victor S. Thomas Professor of History and of African and African American Studies
Harvard University
Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham

Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham has been chair of the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard since 2006. She also served as Acting-Director of Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute in the Spring 2008. A prolific author, she is co-editor with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., of the African American National Biography (2008)—a multivolume-reference work that presents African American history through the lives of people, and she and Gates also co-edited African American Lives (2004), which served as the forerunner to the AANB. Professor Higginbotham was the editor-in-chief of The Harvard Guide to African-American History (2001) with general editors Darlene Clark Hine, and Leon Litwack. She also co-edited History and Theory: Feminist Research, Debates and Contestations (1997).

Professor Higginbotham is the author of Righteous Discontent: The Women’s Movement in the Black Baptist Church: 1880-1920 (1993), which won numerous book prizes, most notably from the American Historical Association, the American Academy of Religion, the Association of Black Women Historians, and the Association for Research on Non-Profit and Voluntary Organizations. Righteous Discontent was also included among the New York Times Book Review’s Notable Books of the Year in 1993 and 1994.

2009 Feb. 26
Speaker: Howard Dodson
Chief of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
New York Public Library
Howard Dodson

A scholar, historian, educator, curator, consultant, and lecturer, Howard Dodson, has committed his professional life to the retrieval, preservation, interpretation, and dissemination of the history and culture of African and African American peoples.

Since 1984, Dodson has served as chief of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the world’s leading and most prestigious repository for materials and artifacts on black cultural life. Under Dodson’s leadership, the Schomburg Center has developed into the world’s most comprehensive public research library devoted exclusively to documenting and interpreting African diasporan and African history and culture.

Dodson’s books include Becoming American: The African American Journey (Sterling Publishing, Inc., 2009), In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience (National Geographic Press, 2004), Jubilee: The Emergence of African-American Culture (National Geographic Press, 2002), and The Black New Yorkers: Four Hundred Years of African American History (Wiley, 2000).

2008 Feb. 28: W.E.B. Du Bois and Ralph Ellison
Speaker: Arnold Rampersad
Department of English, Stanford University

A distinguished biographer and literary critic, Arnold Rampersad is the Sara Hart Kimball Professor in the Humanities and Professor of English at Stanford University. A scholar of race and American literature and the Harlem Renaissance, Rampersad has written books on W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, and most recently, Ralph Ellison. He has been elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and was a 1991 recipient of a MacArthur “genius grant.” He is a recipient of fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Professor Rampersad has recently published Ralph Ellison, a biography of the novelist (1914-1994). His other books include The Art and Imagination of W.E.B. Du Bois (1976); The Life of Langston Hughes (2 vols., 1986, 1988); Days of Grace: A Memoir (1993), co-authored with Arthur Ashe; and Jackie Robinson: A Biography (1997). In addition, he has edited several volumes including Collected Poems of Langston Hughes; the Library of America edition of works by Richard Wright, with revised individual editions of Native Son and Black Boy; and (as co-editor with Deborah McDowell) Slavery and the Literary Imagination. He was also co-editor, with Shelley Fisher Fishkin, of the Race and American Culture book series published by Oxford University Press. His teaching covers such areas as nineteenth and twentieth-century American literature; American autobiography; race and American literature; and African-American literature.

2007 March 9: The Unknown Du Bois: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Future of Black Studies in the Twenty-First Century
Speaker:James Turner
Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University
Poster (pdf)
2006: W.E.B. Du Bois and Martin Luther King
Speaker: Clayborne Carson
Stanford University, editor, Papers of Martin Luther King
Press release (pdf)


2005: The Enduring Greatness of the The Souls of Black Folk
Speaker: Robert Hill
UCLA, editor, Papers of Marcus Garvey
Press release (Word file)


2004: Du Bois and Bond: Black Education in the Age of Jim Crow
Speaker: John H. Bracey
Afro-American Studies, UMass Amherst


2003: Revisiting The Souls of Black Folk: A Centenary Celebration
Panelists:
Horace Clarence Boyer
Music, UMass Amherst
Esther Terry
Afro-American Studies, UMass Amherst
Phil Zuckerman, “Du Bois, Religion, and The Souls of Black Folk
Sociology, Pitzer College
David Blight, “A Poet’s Sense of the Past: The Souls of Black Folk as History”
History, Yale University
Ernest Allen, “The Education of Black Folk: The Educational Philosophies of W.E.B. Du Bois”
Afro-American Studies, UMass Amherst
Gerald Friedman, “Reconstructing the Color Line: The New Economics of Race in the Post-bellum South”
Economics, UMass Amherst


2002: Recollections of W.E.B. Du Bois in the McCarthy Era by His Friends and Colleagues
Panelists:
Esther Cooper Jackson
Co-founder, Freedomways
James Jackson
Editor, Daily Worker
Abbott Simon
Executive director, Peace Information Center and co-defendant with Dr. Du Bois


2001: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Problem of the Twenty-first Century
Speaker: David Levering Lewis
History, Rutgers University


2000: Du Bois’ Prophecy: The Color Line and Education at the Start of a New Century
Speaker: Ruth Simmons
President, Smith College


1999: Du Boisian Double Consciousness: The Unsustainable Argument
Speaker: Ernest Allen
Afro-American Studies, UMass Amherst


1998: Du Bois in Context
Speaker: Randolph W. Bromery
President, Springfield College and former Chancellor, UMass Amherst


1996: W.E.B. Du Bois
Speaker: David Levering Lewis
History, Rutgers University


1995: Celebration of Learning
Panelists:
David Du Bois
William Strickland
Michael Thelwell


1987: The Du Bois Legacy: Reflections on His Birthday
Speaker: Herbert Aptheker
Editor, Complete Published Works of W.E.B. Du Bois
Listen to a recording of Aptheker’s lecture.

Brinley Family

Brinley Family Papers
1643-1950
(4.75 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 161
Image of Deborah Brinley and infant son Francis, 1729<br />Copy by Charles U. Bond (1830)<br />after John Smibert
Deborah Brinley and infant son Francis, 1729
Copy by Charles U. Bond (1830)
after John Smibert

A prosperous family of merchants and landowners, the Brinleys were well ensconced among the social and political elite of colonial New England. Connected by marriage to other elite families in Rhode Island and Massachusetts — the Auchmutys, Craddocks, and Tyngs among them — the Brinleys were refined, highly educated, public spirited, and most often business-minded. Although many members of the family remained loyal to the British cause during the Revolution, the family retained their high social standing in the years following.

The Brinley collection includes business letters, legal and business records, wills, a fragment of a diary, documents relating to slaves, newspaper clippings, and a small number of paintings and artifacts. A descendent, Nancy Brinley, contributed a quantity of genealogical research notes and photocopies of Brinley family documents from other repositories. Of particular note in the collection is a fine nineteenth century copy of a John Smibert portrait of Deborah Brinley (1719), an elegant silver tray passed through the generations, and is a 1713 list of the library of Francis Brinley, which offers a foreshadowing of the remarkable book collection put together in the later nineteenth century by his descendant George Brinley.

Subjects
  • American loyalists--Massachusetts
  • Book collectors--United States--History--19th century
  • Brinley family
  • Brinley, George, 1817-1875--Library
  • Businessmen--Massachusetts--History
  • Businessmen--Rhode Island--History
  • Craddock family
  • Landowners--Massachusetts--History
  • Landowners--Rhode Island--History
  • Libraries--Rhode Island--18th century
  • Massachusetts--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--19th century
  • Rhode Island--Economic conditions--18th century
  • Rhode Island--Genealogy
  • Rhode Island--Politics and government--19th century
  • Slavery--United States--History
  • Tyng family
  • United Empire Loyalists
Types of material
  • Deeds
  • Realia

Hapgood, Beth

Beth Hapgood Papers
1789-2005
67 boxes (35 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 434
Image of Beth Hapgood and members of the Brotherhood, ca.1969
Beth Hapgood and members of the Brotherhood, ca.1969

Daughter of a writer and diplomat, and graduate of Wellesley College, Beth Hapgood has been a spiritual seeker for much of her life. Her interests have led her to become an expert in graphology, a student in the Arcane School, an instructor at Greenfield Community College, and a lecturer on a variety of topics in spiritual growth. Beginning in the mid-1960s, Hapgood befriended Michael Metelica, the central figure in the Brotherhood of the Spirit (the largest commune in the eastern states during the early 1970s) as well as Elwood Babbitt, a trance medium, and remained close to both until their deaths.

The Hapgood Papers contain a wealth of material relating to the Brotherhood of the Spirit and the Renaissance Community, Metelica, Babbitt, and other of Hapgood’s varied interests, as well as 4.25 linear feet of material relating to the Hapgood family.

Subjects
  • Brotherhood of the Spirit
  • Channeling (Spiritualism)
  • Communal living--Massachusetts
  • Graphology
  • Hapgood family--Correspondence
  • Massachusetts--Social life and customs--20th century
  • Mediums--Massachusetts
  • Nineteen sixties--Social aspects
  • Occultism--Social aspects
  • Popular culture--History--20th century
  • Renaissance Community
  • Rock music--1971-1980
  • Warwick (Mass.)--History
Contributors
  • Babbitt, Elwood, 1922-
  • Boyce, Neith, 1872-1951
  • Hapgood, Beth--Correspondence
  • Hapgood, Charles H
  • Hapgood, Elizabeth Reynolds
  • Hapgood, Hutchins, 1869-1944
  • Hapgood, Norman, 1868-1937
  • Metelica, Michael

Stonewall Center

Stonewall Center Records
1962-2005
22 boxes (33 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 030/2/6

Following a series of homophobic incidents on the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1985, the Program for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Concerns was established as an administrative center in the Office of Student Affairs. Later renamed after the notorious riots in New York, the Stonewall Center has provided the campus and surrounding community with cultural and educational programming through speakers, films, video and book library, Speakers Bureau on LGBTQ issues, referrals and support, advocacy and community outreach.

The records of the Stonewall Center include documentation of day to day operations, including phone logs, memos, and budget information, as well as posters and press releases for events, publications, campus and external reports, training manuals, surveys, newspaper clippings, and ephemera such as banners, tee-shirts, and buttons.

Subjects
  • Gay college students--Massachusetts
  • Gays--Services for
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Students
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Program for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Concerns
Contributors
  • Stonewall Center
  • Yeskel, Felice

Great Barrington and Alford Turnpike Corporation

Great Barrington and Alford Turnpike Corporation Records
1833-1846
1 vol. (0.1 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 033 bd

In June 1811, the Great Barrington and Alford Turnpike Corporation was incorporated with the aim of constructing a road at the northern end of the Fifteenth Massachusetts Turnpike, stretching from Great Barrington, Mass., through Alford and North Egremont before crossing the state line and ending in Hudson, New York. Under the direction of Josiah Milland and Jacob and John Van Deusen (who lived near the road), the corporation was apparently not exceptionally profitable. A leg of the turnpike through Great Barrington was made free in 1831, and in 1846, having failed in their petition to receive compensation for loss of privileges, the corporation transferred the road into public management.

Although only a slender 21 pages in length, this record book is nearly the only documentation of the finances for a small, but typical turnpike company in antebellum Massachusetts. The book includes somewhat sparse records of receipts from the toll booths and expenditures for maintenance, extending from 1833 until the corporation was dissolved in 1846. At the end of the book are two pages of personal expenses associated with a trip to Ohio.

Subjects
  • Great Barrington (Mass.)--History
  • Toll roads--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Milland, Josiah
  • Van Deusen, Jacob H.
  • Van Deusen, John

Maland, Jeanine

Jeanine Maland Papers
1951-2007
24 boxes (36 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 467

Born in 1945 in Iowa, Jeanine Maland attended Iowa State University before enrolling at UMass Amherst to pursue a second bachelor’s degree in women’s studies in 1978. While in Western Massachusetts, Maland continued the advocacy work she began at the Rhode Island Women’s Health Collective. Throughout the 1970s-1990s Maland was involved in countless organizations representing a variety of activist movements from prison reform and labor to disarmament and peace.

Jeanine Maland’s papers represent a wide sampling of the activity and career of a lifelong activist, spanning the years 1951-2007. Although the collection contains limited personal information, these materials reflect Maland’s passion and commitment to social justice and social action. Her interests intersect with a number of the major social movements since the 1960s, ranging from the peace and antinuclear movements to critiques of the growing Prison Industrial Complex. While much of Maland’s activism took place on a local level, her efforts were often coordinated with national and international interests and movements.

Gift of Jeanine Maland, 2005
Subjects
  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
  • Iraq War, 2003-
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Persian Gulf War, 1991
  • Political activists--Massachusetts--History
  • Prisoners--Massachusetts
  • Racism
  • United States--Foreign relations--Central America
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
Contributors
  • Maland, Jeanine
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