African American (37 collections) SCUA

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Salah-El, Tiyo Attallah

Tiyo Attallah Salah-El Papers, 1890-2006.

15 boxes (7.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 590

While serving a life sentence in a Pennsylvania prison, Tiyo Attallah Salah-El transformed himself into an activist, scholar, and advocate for the abolition of prisons. An accomplished jazz musician, Salah-El has distinguished himself for educational and scholarly work, his musical career, his close relationship with activists and educators, and for the non-profit organization he founded, The Coalition for the Abolition of Prisons (CAP).

The Papers of Tiyo Attallah Salah-El document his experience in the State Correctional Institution in Dallas, Pennsylvania from 1977 to the present, providing information on his education, teaching, and activism. The bulk of the collection consists of his extensive correspondence with educators, musicians, and activists. Other highlights include a manuscript copy of his autobiography and the founding documents of the The Coalition for the Abolition of Prisons.


  • Criminal justice, Administration of
  • Jazz musicians
  • Prisoners--United States
  • Prisons--United States
  • Quakers


  • Ahrens, Lois
  • Nagel, Mechthild
  • Neill, Montgomery
  • Salah-El, Tiyo Attallah
  • Zinn, Howard, 1922-

Types of material

  • Letters (Correspondence)

Smith, Gilbert, b. 1801

Gilbert Smith and Gilbert Smith, Jr. Account Books, 1798-1846.

2 vols. (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 205 bd

Gilbert Smith was a shoemaker and doctor from New Marlborough, Massachusetts, and his son Gilbert Jr. was a prosperous farmer from Sheffield, Massachusetts. Includes merchandise sales, labor accounts, lists of boarders, and documentation of the sale of homemade butter and cheese to local merchants, as well as trade with the substantial rural black community of the region.


  • African Americans--Massachusetts--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Agricultural laborers--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Agricultural wages--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Dairy products--Massachusetts--Marketing--History--19th century
  • Family--Economic aspects--Massachusetts--History--19th century
  • Farmers--Massachusetts--Sheffield--History--19th century
  • New Marlborough (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century
  • Sheffield (Mass.)--Economic conditions--19th century


  • Smith, Gilbert, 1801-
  • Smith, Gilbert, d. 1804

Types of material

  • Account books

Stokes, Daniel M. J.

Daniel M. J. and Joyce Stokes Papers, 1984-1996.

3 boxes (1.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 661

From 1987 through early 1988, Daniel and Joyce Stokes published Into the Night, “a newsletter for freedom for political prisoners held in the United States.” Based in Brooklyn, N.Y., this simply-produced publication offered updates and commentary on Americans imprisoned for politically-motivated acts. Reflecting both the legacy of 1960s radicalism and the resurgent activism associated with U.S. imperialism in Central America, Into the Night offered news on the Ohio 7 sedition trial, the MOVE organization, and the fate of Plowshares war resisters.

The Stokes collection contains correspondence from subscribers and supporters of Into the Night, fleshing out their political philosophy and the conditions of imprisonment. Drawn from groups including the MOVE organization, the United Freedom Front, Black Liberation Army, and Plowshares, the correspondents include Ramona Africa, Alberto Aranda, Philip Berrigan, Marilyn Buck, Carl Kabat, Ray Luc Levasseur, Ruchell Cinque Magee, and Carol Manning. The collection also includes copies of other radical publications and a complete run of Into the Night itself.


  • African American prisoners
  • African American radicals
  • Anti-imperialist movements
  • Communists
  • Into the Night
  • MOVE (Group)
  • Ohio 7
  • Plowshares
  • Political prisoners
  • Prisoners
  • Radicals
  • Revolutionaries
  • United Freedom Front


  • Africa, Ramona
  • Aranda, Alberto
  • Berrigan, Philip
  • Buck, Marilyn
  • Gelabert, Ana Lucia
  • Hernandez, Alvaro L
  • Kabat, Carl
  • Levasseur, Ray Luc
  • Magee, Ruchell Cinque
  • Stokes, Daniel M. J.
  • Stokes, Joyce

Types of material

  • Newsletters

Tillis, Frederick, 1930-

Frederick Tillis Papers, 1970-2010.

10 boxes (8 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 156
Fred Tillis, Nov. 23, 1977
Fred Tillis, Nov. 23, 1977

A composer, performer, poet, educator, and arts administrator, Fred Tillis was one of the major influences on the cultural life at UMass Amherst for forty years. Born in Galveston, Texas, in 1930, Tillis began playing jazz trumpet and saxophone even before his teens. A product of segregated schools, he graduated from Wiley College at the age of 19, and received his MA and PhD in music at the University of Iowa. As a performer and composer of unusual breadth, his work spans both the jazz and European traditions, and he has written for piano and voice, orchestra, choral pieces, chamber music, and in the African American spiritual tradition, drawing upon a wide range of cultural references. After teaching at Wiley, Grambling, and Kentucky State in the 1960s, Tillis was recruited to UMass in 1970 by his former adviser at Iowa, Philip Bezanson, to teach music composition and theory. Earning promotion to Professor in 1973, Tillis was appointed Director of the Fine Arts Center in 1978, helping to jump start some of the most successful arts initiatives the university has seen, including the the Afro American Music and Jazz program, the New World Theater, Augusta Savage Gallery, Asian Arts and Culture Program, and Jazz in July. Upon retirement from UMass in 1997, he was appointed Emeritus Director of the Fine Arts and remains active as a musician and poet.

The Tillis papers document an extraordinary career in the arts, focused on Fred Tillis’s work as a composer. Consisting primarily of musical scores along with an assortment of professional correspondence relating to his publishing and miscellaneous notes, the collection offers insight into the evolution of Tillis’s musical vision from the 1970s into the new millennium.


  • African American composers
  • African American musicians
  • Fine Arts Center (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
  • Jazz
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Music and Dance


  • Tillis, Frederick, 1930-

Types of material

  • Scores

Trent family

Trent Family Papers, 1850-1996.

3 boxes (1.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 373

Five generations of an African-American family that achieved commercial success and wealth through the restaurant and catering business as well as extensive real estate investments at the turn of the 20th century in New York City, Brooklyn, and Sea Cliff, Long Island, New York. Includes letters, public and church records, news clippings, ephemera, a videotape, and 87 photographs.


  • African American capitalists and financiers--New York (State)--Biography
  • African American families--New York (State)--History
  • African Americans--Genealogy--Handbooks, manuals, etc
  • African Americans--New York (State)--Biography
  • African Americans--New York (State)--Social life and customs
  • Burleigh, H. T. (Harry Thacker), 1866-1949
  • Capitalists and financiers--New York (State)--Biography
  • Fuller, Meta Warrick, 1877-1968
  • Landowners--New York (State)--Biography
  • Restauranteurs--New York (State)--Biography
  • Smith family
  • Smith, William H. (William Henry), 1836-1923
  • Trent family

Types of material

  • Baptismal certificates
  • Deeds
  • Genealogies
  • Photographs
  • Vital statistics records
  • Wills

UMass Amherst. Dean of Students

UMass Amherst. Dean of Students, 1948-1987. 27 boxes (13.25 linear feet).

The Office of the Dean of Students at UMass Amherst was established by President John Lederle in 1961 to replace the separately structured offices of the Dean of Men and Dean of Women, and to provide more effective, more flexible support for a growing and changing student body. In the 1960s, the Dean of Students had responsibility for almost all operational units related to student life, including Admissions, Records, Residence Halls, Dining Halls, Student Union, Student Activities, Placement, and Financial Aid. As the University became a statewide administrative unit with the opening of UMass Boston and the Medical School, there was an increasing conflict between the Office of the Dean of Students on the Amherst campus and the growing demands for a responsive administrative hierarchy. In 1970, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs was therefore created to provide an appropriate level of supervision for the various Student Affairs divisions with regard to budget, personnel and administration. The Office of the Dean of Students then became a student contact-based office, which cooperated and collaborated with the other divisions. The first Dean of Students, William Field came to UMass in 1951 as a guidance counselor and assistant professor of psychology. His tenure coincided with the massive expansion of campus and the turbulent years of the late 1960s and early 1970s, during which he played an important mediating role. The recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal in 1983, Field retired from office in 1988.

An important series of records documenting student life on the UMass Amherst campus, with an emphasis on the 1960s and 1970s. Among these are an extensive series of bylaws and charters for residence halls and registerred student organizations (RSOs) at UMass, as well as subject files on campus protests and demonstrations, students of color, and student groups of various sorts.


  • African American students–Massachusetts.
  • Field, William.
  • Student movements–Massachusetts.
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dean of Students.
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst–Students.
Call no.: RG 30/2

Urban League of Springfield

Urban League of Springfield Records, 1972-1975.

1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 150

A community development and service agency founded in 1914, the Urban League of Springfield works to secure equal opportunity for minority groups in such fields as employment, education, housing, health, and personal welfare.

This small collection for is tightly focused on the period of the school busing (desegregation) crisis in Springfield, 1974-1975, and the League’s efforts to analyze and respond to the underlying issues in race relations and political engagement. The contents include surveys on racial attitudes and voting behavior in the city along with a selection of publications from the League and a set of board minutes and handouts.


  • School integration--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Springfield (Mass.)--History--20the century
  • Springfield (Mass.)--Politics and government
  • Springfield (Mass.)--Race relations
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