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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
Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

Massachusetts Law Reform Institute Records

1966-1993 Bulk: 1975-1985
3 boxes 3.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 889

Founded in 1968, the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI) is a statewide non-profit poverty law and policy center. Their mission is to advance economic, racial, and social justice through legal action, education, and advocacy, specializing in large-scale impact litigation and policy reforms in a wide range of poverty law fields. The MLRI Housing Unit was involved in several cases attempting to protect low-income and minority housing in urban settings in Massachusetts in the 1980s. In a 1982 case, Olga Ramos et al. v. Ernest Proulx et al., nine minority residents of Holyoke and two Hispanic non-profit service agencies sued Mayor Proulx and the City of Holyoke for discriminatory practices related to disproportionately demolishing housing in low income and minority neighborhoods. In Boston, MLRI joined as council for the plaintiffs in a 1981 case, Viviana Munoz-Mendoza, et al. v. Samuel R. Pierce, Jr., et al., where South End residents sued the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), claiming federal funds were being used to racially desegregate their neighborhood when a HUD grant for the Copley Place development did not make a thorough study of the impact on residential integration or address a long standing desire for low-income housing on an adjacent site known as Tent City.

The MLRI Records consist of legal records, memos, correspondence, and strategy related to litigation for fair housing practice in the Holyoke and Boston cases, Ramos v. Proulx and Munoz-Mendoza v. Pierce. Newspaper clippings, city statistics and reports, and other documents stemming from the discovery portions of the cases are also abundant.

Subjects

Boston (Mass.)--HistoryDiscrimination in housing--Law and legislationHolyoke (Mass.)--HistoryHousing--Law and legislation

Types of material

Legal documents
Greensboro Justice Fund

Greensboro Justice Fund Records

1966-2009 Bulk: 1979-2002
17 boxes 27.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 697

Five organizers affiliated with the Communist Workers Party were murdered by Klansmen and Nazis in Greenboro, N.C., on Nov. 3, 1979. Although an all white jury acquitted the defendants of murder and a second jury acquitted them of civil rights violations, a civil suit filed by survivors of the assault resulted in eight Klansmen being found liable for wrongful death in 1985. First conceived in 1980 as an organization to support the survivors of the assault, the Greensboro Justice Fund grew to support grassroots organizations and activists working for civil rights, social change, and radical democracy in the South.

The records of the Greensboro Justice Fund offer dramatic testimony to the impact of the Greensboro Massacre of 1979, and the manner in which a community of survivors and supporters cooperated to establish an organization that supplied grants to support grassroots social justice initiatives throughout the South.

Subjects

Communists--United StatesGreensboro (N.C.)--HistoryKu Klux KlanNeo-NazisRacism

Contributors

Greensboro Civil Rights FundNathan, MartyNathan, Michael

Types of material

NewsclippingsPhotographs
Justice for Woody

Justice for Woody Records

1998-2005
3 boxes 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 444
Depiction of Rally against police brutality
Rally against police brutality

The organization Justice for Woody (JFW) was formed in December of 2001 in the weeks immediately following the death of Robert “Woody” Woodward, a political and environmental activist, social worker, teacher, and mountaineer. JFW seeks not only to honor Woody’s legacy, but also to advocate for a fair an independent investigation. The collection consists primarily of newspaper articles from various New England papers as well as Attorney General Sorrell’s Report and an independent analysis of it.

Subjects

Brattleboro (Vt.). PoliceLaw enforcemnet--VermontPolice brutality--VermontPolice discretionWoodward, Robert, d. 2001Wrongful death--Vermont
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
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
Cooley, Bertha Strong

Bertha Strong Cooley Collection

1901-1949
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 506

An educator, farmer’s wife, and resident of South Deerfield, Massachusetts, Bertha Strong Cooley was an ardent Socialist who published regularly in local newspapers on topics ranging from anti-imperialism, democracy, capitalism, Communism, Russia, World War II, and civil rights.

The Cooley scrapbooks reflect the views of a teacher and farmer’s wife who used the newspapers to express her passion for social justice. Cooley ranged widely in responding to the news of the day, espousing Socialism and opposing racial injustice, war, imperialism, economic oppression, and Capitalism. One scrapbook contains writings by Cooley, the other clippings of articles dealing with topics of interest.

Subjects

African Americans--Civil rightsPacifists--MassachusettsRace relations--United StatesSocial justice--MassachusettsSocialists--MassachusettsWorld War, 1939-1945

Contributors

Cooley, Bertha Strong

Types of material

Letters to the editorScrapbooks
d’Errico, Peter

Peter d'Errico Papers

1976-2011
8 boxes 11 linear feet
Call no.: FS 154

With a law degree from Yale in hand in 1968, Peter d’Errico began work as a staff attorney with Dinebeiina Nahiilna Be Agaditahe Navajo Legal Services in Shiprock, Arizona, representing indigenous People’s interests in the US courts. Stemming from his frustrations with a stilted legal system, however, he evolved into an “anti-lawyer,” and in 1970 returned to academia. Joining the faculty at UMass Amherst, d’Errico focused his research and writing on the legal issues affecting indigenous Peoples, and he regularly taught courses on indigenous People’s law and the role of the law in imposing state systems on non-state societies. His impact was instrumental in establishing the Department of Legal Studies. Both before and after his retirment in 2002, d’Errico also remained active as a practitioner in indigenous People’s law.

The d’Errico collection contains a significant record of d’Errico’s high profile legal work in indigenous People’s law, including his work with Western Shoshone land rights and on the case Randall Trapp, et al. v. Commissioner DuBois, et al. In Trapp, a long-running, but ultimately successful First Amendment case, he and Robert Doyle represented prisoners in the Massachusetts Department of Corrections seeking to establish a sweat lodge.

Gift of Peter d'Errico, Feb. 2012

Subjects

Freedom of religionIndians of North America--Legal status, laws, etc.University of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Legal Studies

Contributors

d'Errico, Peter
Forman, Sylvia Helen, 1944 or 1945-1992

Sylvia Forman Collection

1983-1987
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 341

Shortly after receiving her doctorate from the University of California Berkeley in 1972, the anthropologist Sylvia Helen Forman joined the faculty at UMass Amherst. A staunch feminist and activist, Forman was known for her commitment to her students and to the political life at the university, and for her engagement in the community. She died of cancer in 1992, just 48 years old.

The nine papers in this collection were the products of studies by students enrolled in Forman’s Anthropology 497 class at UMass Amherst. All are intensive analyses of issues of race, gender, and social justice in local communities, including disability, teenage pregnancy, child care, Cambodian refugees, and attitudes toward community living and community change.

Gift of Sylvia Forman, 1989.

Subjects

Amherst (Mass.)--Social conditionsAnthropology--MassachusettsCambodians--MassachusettsChild care--MassachusettsCommunity and college--Massachusetts--AmherstDeerfield (Mass.)--Social conditionsHadley (Mass.)--Social conditionsLeverett (Mass.)--Social conditionsPelham (Mass.)--Social conditionsTeenage pregnancy--Massachusetts--Holyoke
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
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