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American Friends Service Committee. Western Massachusetts

American Friends Service Committee Records

1960-2007 Bulk: 1975-2005
25 boxes, 1 oversized folder 36.2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 459

Established in 1968 in response to the war in Vietnam, the AFSC office in western Massachusetts did not limit its focus to draft and military counseling, instead the organization broadened its focus over time to include educational and outreach programs for a variety of peace and socal justice issues. Today the chapter focuses on economic justice, campaigns against U.S. military intervention, and actions to combat racism and classism. With an emphasis on serving the community of western Massachusetts, the program is equally committed to calling attention to issues of both national and local importance. Recent campaigns range from ending the war in Iraq and supporting peace in Columbia to preventing the construction of a new jail in Chicopee.

The collection consists chiefly of subject files that together provide a picture of the various issues in which the western Massachusetts AFSC was involved. Topics range from the organization’s earliest focus, the Vietnam War, to the first Gulf War, landlord/tenant relations, immigration, and landmines. The collection also includes materials relating to public figures, some of whom traveled to the region to speak.

Subjects

Activists--MassachusettsMassachusetts--Economic conditionsPeace movements--MassachusettsSocial justice--Massachusetts

Contributors

American Friends Service Committee. Western Massachusetts
Amherst Disarmament Coalition. Vigil for Peace and Justice

Amherst Disarmament Coalition Collection

1979-1987.
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 165

Vigil for Peace and Justice group that peacefully protested the Vietnam War, nuclear weapons, and government policy in Central America and the Middle East by organizing a weekly vigil in downtown Amherst, Massachusetts. Includes handouts and news clippings.

Subjects

Amherst (Mass.)--Social conditions--20th centuryAnti-imperialist movements--Massachusetts--AmherstAntinuclear movement--MassachusettsNuclear Moratorium Vigil (Amherst, Mass.)Peace movements--Massachusetts--AmherstSocial movements--Massachusetts--AmherstVigil for Peace and Justice (Amherst, Mass.)

Contributors

Amherst Disarmament Coalition (Amherst, Mass.)Crowe, Frances, 1919-

Types of material

Handbills
Communist Party of Massachusetts

Communist Party of Massachusetts Collection

1932-1957
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 538

A branch of the Communist Party of the United States of America, the Communist Party of Massachusetts enjoyed strong popularity during the 1930s and 1940s, organizing the textile and other manufacturing industries.

This small collection is comprised of a miscellaneous assemblage of fliers, broadsides, and ephemera issued by the Communist Party of Massachusetts and its affiliates from the mid-1930s through the repression of the McCarthy era. Originating mostly from Boston, the items in the collection center on significant themes in Communist thought, including opposition to Fascism and militarism, labor solidarity against capital, and elections. A small number of items relate to Party-approved cultural productions, including plays and gatherings to celebrate Lenin or the Russian Revolution. Many items are associated with Otis A. Hood, a perpetual candidate for public office on the Communist Party ticket who became a target for McCarthy-era repression in the mid-1950s.

Acquired from Eugene Povirk, 2008

Subjects

Antiwar movements--MassachusettsCommunists--MassachusettsElections--MassachusettsWorld War, 1939-1945

Contributors

Communist Party of Massachusetts

Types of material

BroadsidesFliers
Greenfield Peace Center

Greenfield Peace Center Records

1959-1973
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 121

Formed in 1963, the Greenfield Peace Center viewed itself as an educational organization teaching about and advocating for world peace. Their activities included organizing peace marches, warning against the dangers of nuclear war, conducting teach-ins, campaigning against war toys, and counseling on the alternatives to the draft.

Correspondence, administrative documents, and news clippings relating to peace activism centered in Greenfield, Massachusetts and in the upper Pioneer Valley, especially by the Greenfield Community Peace Center, William Hefner, and Turn Toward Peace.

Gift of Irmarie Jones, 1986

Subjects

Peace movements--MassachusettsTurn Toward PeaceVietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--Massachusetts

Contributors

Hefner, William K
Traprock Peace Center

Traprock Peace Center Records

1979-2008
ca.50 boxes 75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 080

The Traprock Peace Center is a grassroots organization based in Deerfield, Massachusetts, that trains and educates people locally and globally in matters relating to disarmament and nonviolence. In 1980, the Center organized the first successful attempt in the United States to get a nuclear weapons moratorium referendum on the ballot, and the Center has served as a focal point for organizing on a wide array of issues in peace and social and environmental justice.

The records of Traprock Peace Center include correspondence, campaign materials (resolutions, organizing committee records, legislative packets), program reports, newsletters, newsclippings, and posters relating to the nuclear freeze campaign and many subsequent initiatives. Recent additions to the collection document the group’s work to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; these later additions are open for research, but are not processed.

Subjects

Antinuclear movement--MassachusettsDeerfield (Mass.)--Social conditions--SourcesNonviolence--Massachusetts--History--SourcesNuclear disarmament--History--SourcesPacifists--MassachusettsPolitical activists--Massachusetts

Contributors

Traprock Peace Center
Restrictions: unprocessed materials in this collection have been temporarily moved offsite; these boxes are closed to research. Contact SCUA for more information.
Valley Peace Center (Amherst, Mass.)

Valley Peace Center Records

1965-1973
28 boxes 13.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 301

In the summer of 1967, members of University of Massachusetts Amherst campus groups, such as the Faculty Group on War and Peace and the Students for Political Action, joined with individuals from other area colleges and from the community at large to form the Valley Peace Center of Amherst for the purposes of opposing the Vietnam War, providing draft counseling, eliciting pledges from the government to avoid first use of nuclear and biological weapons, and reduction of the power of the “military-industrial complex”. The Center was active for more than five and a half years, drawing its financial support largely from the community and its human resources from student and community volunteers.

Correspondence, minutes, volunteer and membership lists, financial records, newsletters, questionnaires, notes, petitions, clippings, posters, circulars, pamphlets, periodicals, other printed matter, and memorabilia. Includes material relating to alternative service, boycotts, war tax resistance, prison reform, environmental quality, and political candidates.

Gift of Nonny Burack and Dean A. Allen, 1974

Subjects

Amherst (Mass.)--Social conditions--20th centuryDraft--United States--HistoryPacifists--MassachusettsPeace movements--Massachusetts--AmherstSocial movements--Massachusetts--AmherstVietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--Massachusetts--AmherstWestover Air Force Base (Mass.)--History--20th century

Contributors

Valley Peace Center (Amherst, Mass.)

Types of material

EphemeraPamphlets
Alternative Energy Coalition

Alternative Energy Coalition

ca.1975-1985
9 boxes 13.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 586

A product of the vibrant and progressive political culture of western Massachusetts during the early 1970s, the Alternative Energy Coalition played a key role in the growth of antinuclear activism. In 1974, the AEC helped mobilize support for Sam Lovejoy after he sabotaged a weather tower erected by Northeast Utilities in Montague, Mass., in preparation for a proposed nuclear power plant, and they helped organize the drive for a referendum opposing not only the proposed plant in Montague, but existing plants in Rowe, Mass., and Vernon, Vt. Forming extensive connections with other antinuclear organizations, the AEC also became one of the organizations that united in 1976 to form the Clamshell Alliance, which made an art of mass civil disobedience.

The AEC Records provide insight into grassroots activism of the 1970s and 1980s, galvanized by the seemingly unrestrained growth of the nuclear power industry. The records, emanating from the Hampshire County branch, contain both research materials used by the AEC and organizational and promotional materials produced by them, including publications, minutes of meetings, correspondence, and materials used during protests. Of particular interest are a thick suite of organizational and other information pertaining to the occupation of the Seabrook (N.H.) nuclear power plant in 1979 and minutes, notes, and other materials relating to the founding and early days of the Clamshell Alliance. The collection is closely related to the Antinuclear Collection (MS 547).

Subjects

Antinuclear movement--MassachusettsHampshire County (Mass.)--HistoryNonviolence--MassachusettsNuclear energy--MassachusettsPacifists--MassachusettsPolitical activists--MassachusettsRenewable energy sourceSeabrook Nuclear Power Plant (N.H.)Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station

Contributors

Alternative Energy CoalitionClamshell Alliance

Types of material

Realia
Bruskin, Gene

Gene Bruskin Papers

1963-2018
6 boxes 8 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1020
Depiction of Gene Bruskin
Gene Bruskin

Gene Bruskin arrived at Princeton in 1964 as a basketball player and left as a political radical. After taking part in the Second Venceremos Brigade, Bruskin got involved in antiracist and labor organizing in Boston. As president of the United Steelworkers of America local during the busing crisis of the 1970s, he helped win overwhelming support among the city’s bus drivers to have the union represent them, leading successful campaigns for better wages and working conditions. In the years since, he has held numerous high-profile positions nationally and internationally, including as labor director for Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition, Secretary Treasurer for the Food and Allied Service Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, and co-convener of U.S. Labor Against the War, an organization promoting peace and the demilitarization of U.S. foreign policy. Bruskin was a major figure in the largest private union election in the history of the United Food and Commercial Workers when he led the successful campaign to unionize 5,000 workers at Smithfield Foods in North Carolina. Since retiring in 2012, he has continued to consult with unions. In addition he has returned to some of his earlier undertakings in producing cultural works as a poet, songwriter, and playwright, centered on social justice and working class themes.

Documenting nearly fifty years of activism, Gene Bruskin’s papers are an exceptional resource for the labor movement in the 1970s through early 2000s, and particularly its radical end. Although Bruskin’s early years are relatively sparsely represented, there is a significant run of Brother, the first anti-sexist, “male liberation” journal that he helped found while in Oakland, and the collection includes important material from his work in Boston with the Hyde Park Defense Committee, the Red Basement Singers, and especially with the School Bus Drivers and their tumultuous three-week strike in 1980. The collection also contains a rich assortment of material on labor left and antiwar organizing in the 1990s and 2000s, the Justice at Smithfield campaign, and Bruskin’s work on behalf of single payer insurance, for International Solidarity, the American Federation of Teachers, and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees.

Gift of Gene Bruskin, April 2018

Subjects

Boston (Mass.)--HistoryBus drivers--Labor unionsCharter schoolsJackson, Jesse, 1941-Labor unions--MassachusettsLabor unions--North CarolinaNational Rainbow Coalition (U.S.)Public schoolsSmithfield Foods, Inc.Strikes and lockouts--Bus driversWeatherman (Organization)

Contributors

Boston School Bus Drivers UnionUnited Steelworkers of America
Foster, Nancy E.

Nancy E. Foster Papers

1972-2010
4 boxes 6 linear feet
Call no.: MS 753
Depiction of Nancy E. Foster
Nancy E. Foster

For the better part of four decades, Nancy E. Foster was active in the struggle for social justice, peace, and political reform. From early work in civil rights through her engagement in political reform in Amherst, Mass., Foster was recognized for her work in the movements opposing war, nuclear power, and the assault on civil liberties after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Locally, she worked with her fellow members of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst and with interfaith coalitions to address problems of hunger and homelessness.

Centered in western Massachusetts and concentrated in the last decade of her life (2000-2010), the Nancy Foster Papers includes a record of one woman’s grassroots activism for peace, civil liberties, and social justice. The issues reflected in the collection range from the assault on civil liberties after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to immigration, hunger and poverty, the Iraq Wars, and the conflict in Central America during the 1980s, and much of the material documents Nancy’s involvement with local organizations such as the Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst. The collection also contains a valuable record of Nancy’s participation in local politics in Amherst, beginning with the records of the 1972 committee which was charged with reviewing the Town Meeting.

Subjects

Amherst (Mass.)--Politics and governmentCivil rights--MassachusettsDisaster reliefEl Salvador--History--1979-1992HungerInterfaith Cot Shelter (Amherst, Mass.)Iraq War, 2003-2011Peace movements--MassachusettsSeptember 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001War on Terrorism, 2001-2009

Contributors

ACLULay Academy for Oecumenical StudiesMassachusetts Voters for Clean ElectionsOlver, JohnPyle, Christopher H.Swift, AliceUnitarian Universalist Society of Amherst

Types of material

Photographs
Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley

Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley Records

1979-1994
12 boxes 7 linear feet
Call no.: MS 468

Amherst, Massachusetts, chapter of the national Gray Panther organization that sponsored the weekly Amherst Vigil for Peace and Justice, tackled such issues as fair and affordable housing for people of all ages, nursing home reform, Social Security policy, universal health care, safe-sex, and age discrimination, and also worked to improve the everyday life of senior citizens and the community at large, often collaborating with other local organizations to address world peace, environmental concerns, improved child care, educational opportunities, and handicapped accessibility.

Records include charter, by-laws, histories and mission statements, meeting agendas and minutes, correspondence, financial reports, fund raising materials, membership lists, membership questionnaire, newsletters, press releases, leaflets, clippings, a scrapbook, T-shirts, and program files, that document the founding and activities of the Gray Panthers of the Pioneer Valley.

Subjects

Older people--MassachusettsPeace movements--MassachusettsSocial justice--Massachusetts

Contributors

Gray Panthers of the Pioneer ValleyHolt, Margaret
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