Africa (6 collections) SCUA

Africa-America Institute

Africa-America Institute Records, ca.1953-2014.

ca.500 (750 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 849

Founded in 1953 by a multi-racial collective of educators including Horace Mann Bond, then President of Lincoln University, and William Leo Hansberry, a professor of history at Howard University, the Africa American Institute has encouraged and supported African students in pursuit of higher education in the United States. From its early years, AAI provided financial and social support for African students studying in the U.S., but it has expanded its activities in scope with the goal of helping to building leadership for Africa within the academic, professional, business, and policy making classes. It has become a vibrant intellectual center for developing human capacity, drawing together thought leaders, researchers, and entrepreneurs interested in issues relating to the continent.

A massive body of material documenting the history of the AAI from its founding in the early 1950s to the present, the collection is a remarkable resource for study of American relations with Africa as the continent emerged from colonial domination. With a focus on the history of educational support and exchange between the contintents, the collection contains a vibrant record of the growth of leadership in Africa.

Subjects

  • Africa--Foreign relations--United States
  • Education, Higher--Africa
  • United States--Foreign relations--Africa

Contributors

  • Bond, Horace Mann, 1904-1972

Dethier, V. G. (Vincent Gaston), 1915-1993

Vincent G. Dethier Papers, 1943-1993.

8 boxes (12 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 168
Vincent Dethier, 1978
Vincent Dethier, 1978

The Gilbert L. Woodside Professor of Zoology at UMass Amherst from 1975-1993, Vincent Dethier was an authority on the biophysics of insect chemosensation and neuroethology. Born in Boston in 1915 into a family of accomplished musicians, Dethier received his doctorate at Harvard in 1939 for a study of the feeding behavior of swallowtail butterfly caterpillars. After service with the Army Air Corps in North Africa and the Middle East during the Second World War and a stint at the Army Chemical Center in Maryland, he resumed his academic career, joining the zoology faculty at Ohio State, Johns Hopkins (1947-1958), the University of Pennsylvania (1958-1967), and Princeton (1967-1975) in succession. His appointment at UMass marks the founding of the university’s program in Neuroscience and Behavior. In addition to over 170 scholarly papers and five scholarly monographs on insect physiology, Dethier wrote several popular works on natural history as well as short stories and children’s books. The recipient of numerous honors during his academic career, Dethier was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1960), the National Academy of Sciences (1965), and the American Philosophical Society (1980), and was recipient of the Entomological Society of America’s Founders’ Memorial Award (1967) and the John Burroughs Medal (1993) for nature writing.

Documenting his post-World War II career, Vincent Dethier’s correspondence relates to scientific organizations, publishing, travel, and speaking engagements, with somewhat sparser information on his research. There are also a handful of photographs, including a series of lantern slides from Dethier’s work in Africa, as well as a scrapbook, a complete set of his publishing scientific papers, and a sampling of short stories and creative writing.

Subjects

  • Entomology
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Biology Department

Types of material

  • Photographs

Grout, Aldin

Aldin Grout papers, 1833-2002 (Bulk: 1833-1894).

1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 797
Rev. Aldin Grout
Rev. Aldin Grout

Aldin Grout was among the first American missionaries to the Zulu nation. After experiencing a religious conversion in his early twenties, Grout dedicated his life to the ministry, studying at Amherst College (1831) and Andover Theological Seminary (1834) before accepting an appointment from the American Board of Christian and Foreign Missions. In Nov. 1835, Grout and his new wife Hannah sailed for South Africa, arriving in Port Natal in June, and building their first outpost among the Zulu, who were in a temporary lull in their long war with Boer settlers. Although Hannah died barely a year later, Grout and his second wife Charlotte remained at the mission station at Umlozi for over thirty years. After settling into retirement in Springfield, Mass., in 1870, Grout took part in the ABCFM effort to translate the Bible into Zulu (1883) and wrote about his missionary experiences for a general audience. Aldin Grout died in Springfield on 1894.

In nearly fifty letters to his in-laws, Grout provided a remarkable commentary on his missionary activities in colonial South Africa, his personal religious convictions, and the lives of the Zulus to whom he ministered. The collection also includes a handful of fragmentary autobiographical and historical sketches written after Grout’s retirement, a handful of letters from his wives and fellow missionary workers, Hannah and Charlotte, and some photographs of Groutville, S.A., and other materials from Grout’s great-great-granddaughter Norine Lee (formerly Phillips).

Subjects

  • American Board of Christian and Foreign Missions
  • Dingane, King of the Zulu, approximately 1793-1840
  • Missionaries--South Africa
  • South Africa--Description and travel--19th century
  • South Africa--History--19th century
  • Zulu (African people)--History

Contributors

  • Grout, Charlotte Bailey
  • Grout, Hannah Davis

Types of material

  • Photographs

Lewis, David L., 1936-

David Levering Lewis Papers, ca.1955-2012.

54 boxes (81 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 827
David Levering Lewis
David Levering Lewis

The historian David Levering Lewis is the author of eight remarkably diverse monographs. Raised in an academic family, his father was president of Morris Brown College, Lewis enrolled at Fisk University at the age of 15 and was only 26 when he was awarded a doctorate in modern European history from the London School of Economics (1962). Through an academic career that has included numerous stops, including Morgan State, Notre Dame, Howard, the University of the District of Columbia (1970-1980), and Rutgers (1985-2003), Lewis remained consistently productive. Author of the first academic biography of Martin Luther King (1970) and a history of the Dreyfus Affair (1974), he wrote an influential study of the Harlem renaissance (1981) and important works on colonialism in Africa (1987) and Islamic Spain (2008), but he is best known for his two monumental biographies of W.E.B. Du Bois (1993, 2000), each of which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. One of the most lauded African American historians of his generation, Lewis was recipient of the Bancroft Prize, the Francis Parkman Prizes, the 2009 National Humanities Medal, and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and he was elected as a Fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. Lewis was Julius Silver University Professor in History at New York University from 2003 until his retirement.

The papers of David Levering Lewis document a long and productive career as an academic historian and scholar of African American history and culture. Beginning with his years in college and graduate school, the collection offers a rich perspective on the evolution of his career. Lewis’s essential biographies of W.E.B. Du Bois are particularly well documented, however the collection includes abundant materials for each of his earlier projects, including correspondence, research notes, and drafts.

Subjects

  • African Americans--History
  • Colonies--Africa--History
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963
  • Harlem Renaissance
  • Historians--United States
  • King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968
  • United States--History--20th century

Types of material

  • Photographs

Perry, Cynthia Shepard

Cynthia Shepard Perry Papers, 1946-2010.

7 boxes (10.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 842
Cynthia Shepard Perry, ca.1986
Cynthia Shepard Perry, ca.1986

An educator, diplomat, and expert on Africa, Cynthia Shepard Perry was the first recipient of a PhD from of the Program in International Education at UMass Amherst (1972). Born in Burnett, Indiana, in 1928, Perry was raising a family when she set a twenty-five year goal of earning doctorate and entering international service. One year after earning a bachelor’s degree at Indiana State University in 1967, she arranged for her first trip to Africa, leading a secretarial training project at the University of Nairobi, and over succeeding decades, her connections to the continent deepened dramatically. On faculty at Texas Southern University (1971-1982), Perry served as Associate Director of the university’s Peace Corps Program, which resulted in her leading educational projects in Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, and Kenya. In demand for the expertise she had gained, she worked as a consultant to the US Information Service in Kenya, Nigeria, and Zambia and as Staff Development Officer at the UN Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa. Having become a full professor and Dean of International Affairs, she left TSU in 1982 to take her first diplomatic post as an officer of the Africa Bureau of the US Agency for International Development, followed by successive appointments as Ambassador to Sierra Leone (1986-1989) and Burundi (1989-1993), as Honorary Consul General of Rwanda, and finally an appointment as U.S. Executive Director of the African Development Bank (1996-2001). Although officially retired, Perry remains active in supporting education and development in Africa from her home in Houston. Among many other awards she has received, Perry was the recipient of an honorary doctorate from UMass for her international work and was recognized by the Salute to Service Award.

A record of a life in international service in Africa, the Perry papers includes materials from Perry’s time as head of the African Development Bank and her two ambassadorial appointments, including speeches, some correspondence, and a handful of publications. The collection also includes a series of awards and plaques, some family photographs, and memorabilia.

Subjects

  • Africa--Foreign relations--United States
  • Burundi--History
  • Sierra Leone--United States
  • United States--Foreign relations--Africa

Types of material

  • Memorabilia
  • Photographs

Thrasher, Sue

Sue Thrasher Poster Collection, ca.1975-2010.

50 posters, 1 box (1.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 861

The activist, writer, and educator, Sue Thrasher became involved in the civil rights movement while a student at Scarritt College in 1961. A native of rural West Tennessee, Thrasher was drawn to the local chapter of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee shortly after arriving on campus, and in 1964, she helped found the Southern Students Organizing Committee, serving as its first executive director and taking part in the “white folks project” during Mississippi Summer. As a stalwart of the freedom movement and its historian, she joined the staff at the Highlander Center in 1978, helping to organize their archives and conducting oral histories. After more than twenty years of social activism in the South, Thrasher came to UMass Amherst to earn a doctorate in Educational Policy and Research, and from 1997 until her retirement in 2013, she worked as Partnership Coordinator at Five Colleges Incorporated, linking faculty with public school districts in western Massachusetts. Among her several works on the civil rights movement is the collaborative volume Deep in Our Hearts: Nine White Women in the Freedom Movement (2000).

A visual record of Sue Thrasher’s involvement in movements for social justice, the collection includes dozens of posters reflecting international liberation movements (Mozambique, Palestine, Central America), Cuba, the antiwar movement, campaigns for literacy in Nicaragua, the International Council on Adult Education (Chile and Bangladesh), and activities at the Highlander Center (benefit concerts by Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, and Sweet Honey in the Rock). The collection also includes two Nicaraguan masks collected by Thrasher.

Types of material

  • Masks
  • Posters
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