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Collecting area: African American Page 1 of 7
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Abramson, Doris E.

Doris E. Abramson Papers

ca.1930-2007
25 linear feet
Call no.: FS 127
Depiction of Doris Abramson
Doris Abramson

After earning her masters degree from Smith College in 1951, Doris Abramson (class of 1949) returned to UMass in 1953 to become instructor in the English Department, remaining at her alma mater through a long and productive career. An historian of theatre and poet, she was a founding member of the Speech Department, Theatre Department, and the Massachusetts Review. In 1959, a Danforth grant helped Abramson pursue doctoral work at Columbia. Published in 1969, her dissertation, Negro Playwrights in the American Theatre, 1925-1969, was a pioneering work in the field. After her retirement, she and her partner of more than 40 years, Dorothy Johnson, ran the Common Reader Bookshop in New Salem.

An extensive collection covering her entire career, Abramson’s papers are a valuable record of the performing arts at UMass, her research on African American playwrights, her teaching and directing, and many other topics relating to her diverse interests in literature and the arts.

Gift of Dorothy Johnson, Apr. 2008

Subjects

  • African-American theater
  • Poets--Massachusetts
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Theater

Contributors

  • Abramson, Doris E.
Africa-America Institute

Africa-America Institute Records

ca.1953-2014
439 boxes 658.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 849
Depiction of Studying in Lesotho, 1963
Studying in Lesotho, 1963

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 continents, the collection contains a vibrant record of the growth of leadership in Africa.

Gift of Africa America Institute, 2014-2015

Subjects

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

Contributors

  • Bond, Horace Mann, 1904-1972

Types of material

  • Photographs
Allen, Dwight William, 1931-

Dwight William Allen Papers

1967-1975
7 boxes 8.5 linear feet
Call no.: FS 165
Depiction of Dwight Allen in classroom
Dwight Allen in classroom

A influential and flamboyant educational reformer, Dwight W. Allen served as Director of Teacher Education at his alma mater Stanford from 1959 until accepting a position as Dean of the School of Education at UMass Amherst in 1967. A proponent of integrating technology into teaching and co-developer of the technique of microteaching, Allen cemented his reputation as an innovator during his time at UMass (1968-1975), a time that coincided with the rapid expansion of the university. Allen helped recruit students of color to the graduate program in significant numbers, opened admissions to students with unconvential credentials, allowed students a voice in directing and governing the program, and abolished grading, among other initiatives, but while supporters lauded the creativity and excitement of the period, his radical ideas elicited considerable opposition as well. He resigned in 1975, in part due to the increasing demands his international consulting, later accepting a position at Old Dominion University, where he remained until his retirement in 2008. Allen is author of nine books, including American Schools: The $100 Billion Challenge, written with his former graduate student Bill Cosby.

The Allen papers contain a wealth of materials pertaining to the tumultuous years at UMass, including Allen’s curricular and teaching reforms, special projects, and his efforts to recruit African American students and address institutional racism. The correspondence, memos, and private reports that Allen maintained are particularly valuable for understanding the period as are the various surveys, studies, and reports on the state of the School of Education. The collection also includes material relating to some of Allen’s academic interests in education, including microteaching, alternative schools, and certification.

Gift of Dwight Allen, Aug. 2013

Subjects

  • Alternative education
  • Educational change
  • Racism in education
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. School of Education
Allen, Theodore W., 1919-2005

Theodore W. Allen Papers

1946-2005
132 boxes 197.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1021
Part of: Jeffrey B. Perry Collection
Depiction of Theodore W. Allen
Theodore W. Allen

An anti-white supremacist, working class intellectual and activist, Theodore W. “Ted” Allen was one of the most important thinkers on race and class in the twentieth century. He developed his pioneering class struggle-based analysis of “white skin privilege” beginning in the mid-1960s; authored the seminal two-volume The Invention of the White Race in the 1990s; and consistently maintained that the struggle against white supremacy was central to efforts at radical social change in the United States. Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Allen was raised in Kentucky and West Virginia, where he was “proletarianized” by the Great Depression. A member of the American Federation of Musicians and the United Mine Workers, and a member of the Communist Party, Allen moved to Brooklyn after injuring his back in the mines, and spent the last fifty years of his life at various jobs including factory work, teaching, the post office, and the Brooklyn Public Library. In the 1960s, having broken from the Communist Party, Allen set out on his own independent research course. Inspired by the work of W. E. B. Du Bois he wrote on the “white blindspot” and “white skin privilege” and began what became forty years of work focused on white supremacy as the principal retardant of class consciousness among European-American workers. Over his last thirty years, Allen wrote hundreds of published and unpublished articles and letters challenging white supremacy, capitalist rule, sexism, and U.S. Imperialism, as well as numerous poems.

The Theodore W. Allen Papers are a comprehensive assemblage of correspondence, published and unpublished writings, audio and video materials, and research by one of the major theorists on race and class of the twentieth century. The Papers offer important insights on the Old and New Left and their relation to the labor and Civil Rights/Black Liberation Movements and have much to offer students, scholars, researchers, and activists.

Gift of Jeffrey B. Perry, May 2018

Subjects

  • Communists--New York (State)
  • Historians--New York (State)
  • Labor movement
  • Race
  • Racism

Contributors

  • Ignatiev, Noel
  • Sojourner Truth Organization

Types of material

  • Photographs
American History Workshop

American History Workshop Records

1980-2016
42 boxes 63 linear feet
Call no.: MS 922

Founded by Richard Rabinowitz in 1980, American History Workshop is a consortium of historians, designers, and filmmakers who promote public understanding of history through innovative exhibition and interpretation. Collaborating with a national roster of clients, the AHW provides consultation and assistance in developing, designing, and installing exhibitions that convey current historical scholarship and pedagogical practice for the public. Their exhibits have explored a wide array of critical themes in American history, including slavery, civil rights, and social justice; Constitutional and political history; immigration; urbanization; and labor history. In recent years, they have expanded their operations to include services such as audience analysis, media production, fund raising assistance, and organizational development.

The records of the American History Workshop document over three decades of work by one of the premier firms in historical exhibition and interpretation. The collection contains detailed records of nearly 600 projects prepared in collaboration with organizations ranging from the New-York Historical Society and Arizona Historical Society to the Smithsonian, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

Gift of Richard Rabinowitz, 2016

Subjects

  • Exhibitions
  • Public history

Contributors

  • Rabinowitz, Richard
  • Singer, Michael
Antislavery

Antislavery Pamphlet Collection

1725-1911
7.5 linear feet
Call no.: RB 003

The Antislavery Collection contains several hundred printed pamphlets and books pertaining to slavery and antislavery in New England, 1725-1911. The holdings include speeches, sermons, proceedings and other publications of organizations such as the American Anti-Slavery Society and the American Colonization Society, and a small number of pro-slavery tracts.

Subjects

  • Abolitionists--Massachusetts
  • Antislavery movements--United States
  • Slavery--United States

Contributors

  • American Anti-Slavery Society
  • American Colonization Society
Restrictions: Collection currently unavailable due to renovations in SCUA
Aronson, James

James Aronson Collection of W.E.B. Du Bois

1946-1983
2 boxes 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 292

Materials written by or pertaining to W.E.B. Du Bois, collected by James Aronson, who was executive editor of the “National Guardian” from 1948 to 1967. Includes correspondence, speeches by Du Bois in published form, articles by Du Bois, biographical sketches and tribute articles about Du Bois, photographs, and newspaper clippings.

Subjects

  • African Americans--Civil rights
  • African Americans--History--1877-1964
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Death and burial
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Views on Pan-Africanism
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Views on democracy
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Views on pacifism
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Views on socialism
  • National Guardian
  • Socialism--Africa

Contributors

  • Du Bois, Shirley Graham, 1896-1977
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963

Types of material

  • Photographs
  • Speeches
Banks, Katherine Bell

Katherine Bell Banks Papers

1926-1960
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 429

Collection of letters from Du Bois to various members of the Bell family, the earliest written in September 1926 to Katherine Bell and the latest written in December 1960 to Thomasina Bell Fitzroy. These letters offer a unique perspective of Du Bois’s personal life.

Subjects

  • African Americans--History--1877-1964

Contributors

  • Banks, Katherine Bell
  • Bell, Thomas, d.1946
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963

Types of material

  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Photographs
Banks, William S. M.

William S. M. Banks, From beginnings in the Sip

1997
1 vol. 0.1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 997 bd

Born in Amite County, Miss., in 1914, William S. M. Banks received his early education from his mother at home, who instilled in him an abiding respect for education. Despite the hardships of the Depression years, Banks used his athletic skills and work ethic to earn a degree at Dillard College, where he attracted the attention of Horace Mann Bond. Bond encouraged him to continue for a MA in Sociology and helped him land a position at Fort Valley State. After service during the Second World War, where he rose to rank of Captain and was awarded a Silver Star, Banks returned to Fort Valley State, completed a doctorate at Ohio State. He retired from Fort Valley after 38 years in 1978.

In his autobiography, a study of the impact of racial and class attitudes as much as personal achievement, William Banks describes his experiences growing up in a poor African American family in rural Mississippi and working his way up through distinguished military service and concerted effort to earn a doctorate at Ohio State and a career as a professor of sociology at Fort Valley State University.

Gift of Bil Banks, Oct. 2017

Subjects

  • African Americans--Georgia
  • African Americans--Mississippi
  • Bond, Horace Mann, 1904-1972
  • Fort Valley State University

Types of material

  • Autobiographies
Bey, Hanif Shabazz

Hanif Shabazz Bey Memoir

ca. 1985
1 envelope 0.10 linear feet
Call no.: MS 695 bd
Depiction of Hanif Shabazz Bey
Hanif Shabazz Bey

Hanif Shabazz Bey is one of the “Virgin Island Five” accused and convicted of murdering eight tourists at a golf course in the U.S. Virgin Islands on September 6, 1972. The murders occurred during a turbulent period of rebellion on the Islands, a time when a movement to resist colonial rule was growing in the U.S. occupied Virgin Islands and elsewhere. The reaction to the crime, which was rapidly characterized as racially and politically motivated, from the authorities was both swift and revealing: over a hundred Black activists were picked up for interrogation and the island of St. Croix was put under martial law. Beaumont Gereau (Hanif Shabazz Bey) was one of five men apprehended and charged with the attack; each of the men accused was a known supporter of the Virgin Island independence movement. Detained and subjected to torture, the five men ultimately confessed to the crime and were tried for murder. Despite the many indications that the subsequent trial was profoundly flawed, the men were found guilty and sentenced to eight consecutive life terms.

“The Beginning of Hell” is a typed memoir by Hanif Shabazz Bey, a prisoner from the Virgin Islands held in the U.S. Written sometime after 1985, the memoir provides a personal account of Bey’s childhood in the Virgin Islands, his service in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, and the social and political conditions of the Islands during the early 1970s that led up to his arrest and conviction for the murder of eight tourists in 1972. Bey details the torture and other harsh interrogation tactics employed by prosecutors, the trial, and its aftermath, including his confinement to prisons first in Puerto Rico and then the U.S. In prison, Bey chronicles inhumane treatment and conditions, his conversion to Islam, and his efforts to seek assistance to reduce his sentence.

Subjects

  • Prisoners' writings
  • Prisoners--United States
  • Prisoners--Virgin Islands
  • Prisons--United States

Contributors

  • Bey, Hanif Shabazz

Types of material

  • Memoirs
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