Collecting area: African American Page 4 of 7
Howland family

Howland Family Papers

1727-1886 Bulk: 1771-1844
2 boxes 0.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 923

The Howland family of East Greenwich, R.I., figured prominently in New England Quakerism during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and contributed to the state’s public affairs. Brothers Daniel (1754-1834), an approved minister, and Thomas Howland (1764-1845), an educator, were active members of the Society during the tumultuous years between the 1780s and 1840s, caught up in the moral demands for a response to slavery and other social issues and in the divisions wrought by evangelical influences.

Centered largely on the lives of Thomas Howland, his brother Daniel, and Daniel’s son Daniel, the Howland collection is an important record of Quaker life in Rhode Island during trying times. As meeting elders, the Howlands monitored and contributed to the era’s major controversies, and the collection is particularly rich in discussions of the impact of slavery and the passionate struggle between Friends influenced by the evangelically-inclined Joseph John Gurney and the orthodox John Wilbur. Thomas’ complex response to his commitment to the antislavery cause and his fear of disrupting meeting unity is particularly revealing. Also of note is a series of responses from monthly meetings to queries on compliance with Quaker doctrine, obtained during the decade after the American Revolution.

Subjects

  • Antislavery movements--Rhode Island
  • East Greenwich (R.I.)--History
  • Peace movements--Rhode Island
  • Temperance--Rhode Island

Contributors

  • Bassett, William, 1803-1871
  • Brown, Moses, 1738-1836
  • Friends' Boarding School (Providence, R.I.)
  • Gurney, Joseph John, 1788-1847
  • Howland, Daniel
  • Howland, Daniel, 1754-1834
  • Howland, Thomas, 1764-1845
  • Moses Brown School
  • New England Yearly Meeting of Friends
  • Shearman, Abraham, 1777-1847
  • Society of Friends--Controversial literature
  • Society of Friends--History
  • Tobey, Samuel Boyd, 1805-1867
  • Wilbur, John, 1774-1856
Hudson Family

Hudson family Papers

1780-1955 Bulk: 1825-1848
6 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 332
Image of Three generations: including Erasmus Darwin Hudson Sr. and Jr.
Three generations: including Erasmus Darwin Hudson Sr. and Jr.

Born in Torringford, Connecticut in 1806, and educated at the Torringford Academy and Berkshire Medical College (MD 1827), Erasmus Darwin Hudson became well known as a radical reformer. While establishing his medical practice in Bloomfield, Conn., and later in Springfield, Mass., and New York City, Hudson emerged as a force in the antislavery struggle, hewing to the non-resistant line. Touring the northeastern states as a lecturing agent for the Connecticut Anti-Slavery Society and general agent of the American Anti-Slavery Society, he regularly contributing articles to an antislavery periodicals and befriended many of the movement’s leaders. In his professional life as an orthopedic surgeon, Hudson earned acclaim for his contributions to the development of modern prosthetics. During the carnage of the Civil War, he introduced remarkable improvements in artificial limb technology and innovations in the treatment of amputations and battle trauma, winning awards for his contributions at international expositions in Paris (1867) and Philadelphia (1876). Hudson died of pneumonia on Dec. 31, 1880.

Spanning five generations of a family of physicians and social reformers, the Hudson Family Papers include particularly significant content for Erasmus Darwin Hudson documenting his activities with the Connecticut and American Anti-Slavery societies. Hudson’s journals and writings are accompanied by a rich run of correspondence with antislavery figures such as Abby Kelley, Wendell Phillips, Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Isaac Hopper, and Samuel May and a unique antislavery campaign map of New York state and surrounding areas (1841). Hudson’s medical career and that of his son Erasmus Darwin Hudson, Jr. (1843-1887), a thoracic physician, is equally well documented through correspondence, medical notes, and handwritten drafts of lectures, with other material ranging from family records and writings of and other family members to genealogies of the Hudson, Shaw, Clarke, Fowler, and Cooke families, and printed material, memorabilia, clipping and photographs.

Subjects

  • Abolitionists
  • African Americans--History
  • American Anti-slavery Society
  • Antislavery movements--Massachusetts
  • Connecticut Anti-slavery Society
  • Connecticut--History--19th century
  • Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Physicians--New York
  • United States--History--1783–1865

Contributors

  • Douglass, Frederick, 1818-1895
  • Foster, Abby Kelley, 1810-1887
  • Garrison, William Lloyd, 1805-1879
  • Gay, Sydney Howard, 1814-1888
  • Hopper, Isaac T. (Isaac Tatem), 1771-1852
  • Hudson Family
  • Hudson, Daniel Coe, 1774–1840
  • Hudson, Erasmus Darwin, 1806–1880
  • Hudson, Erasmus Darwin, 1843–1887
  • Phillips, Wendell, 1811-1884
  • Smith, Gerrit, 1797-1874
  • Stone, Lucy, 1818-1893
  • Weld, Theodore Dwight, 1803-1895
  • Wright, Henry Clarke, 1797-1870

Types of material

  • Diaries
  • Letters (Correspondence)
Illustrated Sheet Music

Illustrated Sheet Music Collection

1896-1946
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 960
Image of Waiting for the Robert E. Lee
Waiting for the Robert E. Lee

Advances in color printing technologies combined with decreasing costs of publication led to a flowering of illustrated sheet music between 1890 and the 1920s.

This small collection is comprised of illustrated sheet music dating primarily from the first quarter of the twentieth century. Representing a cross-section of popular music at the time from minstrel tunes to patriotic marches, most of the songs were selected either for their representation of African Americans (usually in stereotypical and racist caricature) or as examples of pro-war propaganda during the First World War.

Subjects

  • African Americans--Pictorial works
  • World War, 1914-1918--Pictorial works

Types of material

  • Scores
  • Sheet music
Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage

Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage Records

1975-2006 Bulk: 1997-1999
6 boxes 6.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 758
Image of Landing at Havana, Cuba, Nov. 24, 1998
Landing at Havana, Cuba, Nov. 24, 1998

Organized at the New England Peace Pagoda in Leverett, Mass., the Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage was a twelve-month walk through the eastern United States, the Caribbean, Brazil, West Africa, and South Africa in 1998-1999, reversing the direction of the Middle Passage symbolically and geographically. A “living prayer of the heart, mind, and body for the sons and daughters of the African Diaspora,” the Pilgrimage was intended by the participants to contribute to a process of healing the wounds inflicted by hundreds of years of slavery and racial oppression. Along the way, participants visited sites associated with the history of slavery, from slaves’ quarters in Virginia to stations on the Underground Railroad and villages that had been raided in Africa, offering prayers for those who had suffered under slavery and commemorating the dignity of those held in bondage and those who resisted.

Chronicling the course of the Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage from conception to conclusion, this collection contains a rich textual and visual record of a spiritual approach to addressing the legacy of slavery in the Americas. The collection includes the range of materials collected by participants during the Pilgrimage, including lists of reading materials, information on the sites visited, a handful of mementoes and souvenirs, some correspondence, and notes and photographs taken along the way.

Subjects

  • Pilgrims and pilgrimages
  • Slavery--History

Types of material

  • Photographs
Jaffe, Bernard

Bernard Jaffe Papers

1955-2016
4 boxes 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 906
Image of W.E.B. Du Bois at home in Accra, 1963
W.E.B. Du Bois at home in Accra, 1963

A New York native with a deep commitment to social justice, Bernard Jaffe was an attorney, confidant, and longtime friend of W.E.B. Du Bois and Shirley Graham Du Bois. In 1951, Jaffe joined Du Bois’s defense team at a time when the civil rights leader was under indictment for failing to register as a foreign agent. Forging a close relationship through that experience, he was retained as a personal attorney, representing the Du Bois family interests after they settled abroad. Jaffe was later instrumental in placing the papers of both W.E.B. Du Bois and Shirley Graham Du Bois and served on the executive board of the W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation, set up by Shirley’s son, David Graham Du Bois.

This rich collection centers on the close relationship between attorney Bernard Jaffe and his friends and clients, Shirley Graham Du Bois and W.E.B. Du Bois. Although there is little correspondence from W.E.B. Du Bois himself, the collection contains an exceptional run of correspondence with Shirley, from the time of her emigration to Ghana in 1961 until her death in China in 1977 and excellent materials relating to David Graham Du Bois and the work of the W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation.

Gift of Jonathan Klate and Bernard Jaffe, Apr. 2016

Subjects

  • Ghana--History--1957-

Contributors

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

Types of material

  • Photographs
Kaplan, Sidney, 1913-

Sidney and Emma Nogrady Kaplan Papers

ca.1937-1993
58 boxes 85 linear feet
Call no.: FS 149
Image of Sidney Kaplan, May 1972
Sidney Kaplan, May 1972

An eminent scholar of African American history and activist, Sidney Kaplan was raised in New York City and graduated from City College in 1942. After wartime service as a Lieutenant in the Army, Kaplan returned to his education, completing an MA in history from Boston University (1948) and PhD at Harvard (1960), taking up the study of African American history at a time when few white scholars showed interest. Joining the English Department at UMass in 1946, Kaplan’s influence was widely felt at UMass Amherst and in the local community: he was among the founders of the Department of Afro-American Studies, a founder of the UMass Press, a founder and editor of the Massachusetts Review, and he was the editor of Leonard Baskin’s Gehenna Press. Over more than thirty years at UMass, he worked on diverse projects in history, literature, and the arts, often in partnership with his wife Emma Nogrady, a librarian at Smith College whom he married in 1933, ranging from studies of Poe and Melville to a biographical dictionary of African Americans and a study of Shays’ Rebellion. In 1973, they were co-authors of the first comprehensive study of depictions of African Americans in the visual arts, The Black Presence in the Era of the American Revolution (based on an exhibition planned for the National Portrait Gallery), and in 1991, the UMass Press published a collection of Sidney’s essays, American Studies in Black and White. A Fulbright lecturer in Greece and Yugoslavia and exchange Professor at the University of Kent, Kaplan was the recipient of the Bancroft Award from the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History for best article of the year in the Journal of Negro History, and he was awarded the UMass Amherst Chancellor’s Medal in 1979, one year after his retirement. Sidney Kaplan died in 1993 at age 80 and was followed by Emma in 2010.

The Kaplan Papers document a long career devoted to the study of African American history and life. The extensive correspondence, research notes, and drafts of articles and other materials offer important insight into the growth of African American studies from the 1950s through 1970s as well as the growth of UMass Amherst into a major research university.

Gift of Paul Kaplan, May 2011

Subjects

  • African Americans--History
  • Massachusetts Review
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Afro-American Studies
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English
  • University of Massachusetts Press

Contributors

  • Kaplan, Emma Nogrady, 1911-
  • Kaplan, Sidney, 1913-
Katzman, Lillian Hyman

Lillian Hyman Katzman Papers

1952-1989
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 611
Image of

When Lillian Hyman volunteered to work with the Democratic Party in New York City in 1948, she was sent over to the office of W.E.B. Du Bois to assist him with some secretarial work. From that beginning, she was hired as a secretary, remaining in Du Bois’s employ for several years until she, regretfully, left for higher pay. Hyman later earned her masters degree and taught in the public schools in New York, starting the first class for children diagnosed with brain injury.

The Katzman Papers contains a series of letters and postcards sent by Du Bois during the early 1950s when Hyman worked as his secretary. Friendly and informal, they concern lecture tours by Du Bois and his wife, Shirley Graham, out west, and arrangements for his home at Grace Court in Brooklyn. The collection also includes a handful of publications by Du Bois, newspaper clippings, and some congratulatory letters to Hyman on her marriage.

Gift of Carol L. Goldstein, April 2009

Contributors

  • Du Bois, Shirley Graham, 1896-1977
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963
  • Katzman, Lillian Hyman
Latimer, Catherine A.

Catherine A. Latimer Collection

1854-1953 Bulk: 1915-1948
ca.130 vols. 12 linear feet
Call no.: RB 031

A friend and associate of W.E.B. Du Bois, Catherine A. Latimer became the first African American librarian at the New York Public Library, when she was hired at the 135th Street Branch in 1920. Born in Tennessee and raised in a relatively well to do family in Brooklyn , Latimer studied librarianship at Howard University, graduating in 1918. From early on, she had a keen interest in the burgeoning cultural scene in Harlem in the 1920s and in African American history more generally, and she played a pivotal role in acquiring Arturo Schomburg’s outstanding African American collection in 1926. Latimer worked at the NYPL for 28 years, up until her death in 1948.

The collection contains a remarkable assemblage of books by African American writers and on African American subjects collected by Catherine Latimer during the 1920s through 1940s. Amoing the books are scarce titles in African American history, poetry, and literature including signed volumes by W.E.B. Du Bois (5 titles), Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, and James Weldon Johnson.

Gift of Ruby C. Latimer with the assistance of Dario Bosley, Sept. 2015.

Subjects

  • African Americans--History
  • American literature--African American authors

Contributors

  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963
  • McKay, Claude, 1890-1948

Types of material

  • Books
Lerner, Steve, 1946-

Steve Lerner Papers

1994-2011
22 boxes 22.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 673
Image of Diamond, La.
Diamond, La.

For decades, the writer Steve Lerner has been a significant contributor to public awareness of the issues surrounding environmental justice. Immersed in the environmental movement through his work as research director at Commonweal, a health and environment research institute founded with his brother Michael in 1976, Lerner earned wide recognition for his first book, Eco-Pioneers (1998), about “practical visionaries” who developed pragmatic solutions to environmental problems. In two subsequent books, Lerner turned to an examination of the impact of environmental toxins and industrial pollutants on low-income communities and people of color and the rise of grassroots opposition within those communities. In Diamond (2006), Lerner explored the impact of a Shell Chemical plant in Louisiana as a microcosm of the broader environmental-justice movement, and more recently, Sacrifice Zones (2010) traced the organization and resistance against industrial and chemical pollutants in a dozen communities in the eastern United States. In 2007, Lerner left his position at Commonweal, but continues his research and writing on environmental issues.

The research notes, interviews, photographs and other documentation comprising the Lerner collection form the basis for Lerner’s three major books.

Subjects

  • Environmental justice
  • Environmentalism

Types of material

  • Audiotapes
  • Photographs
Levasseur, Raymond Luc

Raymond Luc Levasseur Papers

1966-2017
10 boxes 12 linear feet
Call no.: MS 971

Raymond Luc Levasseur went underground with a revolutionary Marxist organization in 1974 and spent a decade in armed resistance against the American state. Radicalized by his experiences in Vietnam and by a stint in a Tennessee prison for the sale of marijuana, Levasseur became convinced that revolutionary action was a “necessary step in defeating the enemy — monopoly Capitalism and its Imperialism expression.” As a leader of the Sam Melville/Jonathan Jackson Unit, later called the United Freedom Front, he took part in a string of bombings and bank robberies targeting symbols of the state including government and military buildings and corporate offices. All active members of the UFF were arrested in 1984 and 1985 and sentenced to long prison terms, although the government’s effort to prosecute them (the Ohio 7) on separate charges of seditious conspiracy ultimately failed. Levasseur served twenty years of a 45-year prison sentence, approximately thirteen years of them in solitary confinement, before being released on parole in 2004. He continues to write and speak out for prisoners’ rights.

The Levasseur papers are an important record of a committed revolutionary and political prisoner. Beginning with his work in the early 1970s with the Statewide Correctional Alliance for Reform (SCAR), a prisoners’ rights organization, the collection includes communiques and other materials from revolutionary groups including the UFF, the Armed Resistance Unit, and the Black Liberation Army; Levasseur’s political and autobiographical writings; numerous interviews; selected correspondence; and a range of material on political prisoners and mass incarceration. Consisting in part of material seized by the FBI following Levasseur’s arrest or recovered through the Freedom of Information Act, and supplemented by newsclippings and video from media coverage, the collection has particularly rich content for the criminal and seditious conspiracy trials of UFF members (also known as the “Ohio 7”) in Brooklyn, NY and Springfield, MA, as well as Levasseur’s years in prison and his work on behalf of political prisoners.

Gift of Raymond Luc Levasseur, 2017

Subjects

  • Anti-imperialist movements--United States
  • Political prisoners--United States
  • Prisons--United States
  • Revolutionaries

Contributors

  • Armed Clandestine Movement
  • Black Liberation Army
  • Manning, Tom
  • Ohio 7
  • Sam Melville/Jonathan Jackson Unit
  • Statewide Correctional Alliance for Reform
  • United Freedom Front
  • Williams, Raymond C.

Types of material

  • Photographs
  • Trials