Collecting area: African American

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Portsmouth Branch (Portsmouth, N.H.)

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Portsmouth Branch (Portsmouth, N.H.) Records

1963-1966
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1006

The first New Hampshire branch of the NAACP was formed in Portsmouth in 1958, meeting initially in the home of its first president, the local businessman Thomas Cobbs. Growing steadily during the 1960s, the Portsmouth membership were engaged in addressing local concerns over discrimination in housing and employment and were stalwart supporters of the national civil rights struggle.

This small collection of records from a local New England branch of the NAACP consists of minutes of meetings between 1963 and 1966 and a relatively miscellaneous assortment of fliers and other materials from the national organization. Although the collection is slight, it includes records NAACP actions in Portsmouth and, notably, the minutes were kept by Betty Hill and her husband Barney, who became well known for their claim to having an encounter with a UFO.

Subjects

African Americans--New HampshireCivil rights movements--New HampshireDiscrimination in housing--New Hampshire

Contributors

Cobbs, ThomasHill, Barney, 1922-1969Hill, Betty (Eunice)

Types of material

Minutes (Administrative records)
Neill, D. Monty

D. Monty Neill Collection

1986 Feb.-Apr.
2 boxes 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1061

An educator and scholar of educational assessment, Monty Neil is the Executive Director of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest). For his doctorate at Harvard in the mid-1980s, Neill examined the impact of the 1974 desegregation order affecting Boston’s public schools and the ongoing search within the city’s African American community for quality and equity in education. He completed his dissertation, The Struggle of Boston’s Black Community for Quality and Equality in Education: 1960-1985, in 1987.

The 33 audiocassettes in this collection include interviews with 29 activists and educational and political leaders in Boston, predominantly from the city’s African American community, include in-depth discussions about the busing crisis in Boston during the late 1970s and early 1980s, its aftermath, and the ongoing search for educational equity and quality. The tapes were recorded between January and April 1986 as part of Neill’s dissertation research.

Gift of Monty Neill, Dec. 2018

Subjects

African Americans--Massachusetts--BostonBoston (Mass.)--History--20th centuryBoston (Mass.)--Politics and government--20th centuryBusing for school integration--Massachusetts--BostonCivil rights movements--Massachusetts--BostonPublic schools--Massachusetts--BostonSegregation in education--Massachusetts--Boston

Contributors

Breeden, James P. (James Pleasant)Haskins, Kenneth, 1923-1994Jones, Hubie, 1933-King, Melvin, 1928-O'Bryant, John D., 1931-1992Owens, Bill, 1937-Owens-Hicks, ShirleySmith, Mary EllenSnowden, Muriel S. (Muriel Sutherland), 1916-

Types of material

Audiocassettes
Paros, Lawrence

Larry Paros Papers

1964-2014
4 boxes 6 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1081
Part of: Irma McClaurin Black Feminist Archive

The educator and writer, Lawrence “Larry” Paros was born in Springfield, Mass., in 1934. After undergraduate work at UMass Amherst (1958), Paros earned his masters degree from Yale in American Diplomatic History and Russian Studies, and began teaching high school in Connecticut, where he became a lightning rod for promoting discussions of the Vietnam War among his students. The Yale Summer High School came calling in 1967, giving Paros the reins to a three-year old program that brought underprivileged youth from across the country for rigorous pre-collegiate study at the Yale Divinity School. Begun as a progressive response to the federal “War on Poverty,” Paros soon sought to move the school in a more radical direction. Along with a small group of concerned educators, he redesigned the curriculum to deal directly and deeply with the most challenging contemporary issues in America and to address fundamental questions about the human condition, race, and the future of the country. Paros subsequently founded and led two experimental schools in Providence, R.I., and has written prolifically on topics ranging from education to etymology.

The Paros papers are the product of an innovator in alternative education and a advocate for social justice, and are particularly rich in documenting the efforts of educators in the 1960s and 1970s to make education relevant to contemporary students. The collection includes a rich record of Paros’s brief time as director of the Yale Summer High School (YSHS), including organizational, pedagogical, and adminstrative documents, dozens of photographs, and an important set of DVDs and transcripts of interviews with former students, teacher, and administrators from the 1968 cohort, recorded for the film Walk Right In. Paros’s work in alternative education is also well represented, with materials from his two schools in Providence (School One and the Alternative Learning Project).

Subjects

African American high school studentsAlternative educationYale Summer High School

Types of material

Oral histories (Literary works)PhotographsVideo recordings (physical artifacts)
Paynter, Robert

Robert Paynter Papers

ca. 1970-2015
17 boxes 25.5 linear feet
Call no.: FS 175

After graduating from Brown University with an A.B. in 1971, Robert “Bob” Paynter received his M.A. (1975) and Ph.D. (1980) from the Anthropology Department at UMass Amherst. He taught at Queens College and the Graduate Center at CUNY before returning to UMass in 1981 as an Assistant Professor, where he conducted research and taught for the remainder of his career. Paynter studied and practiced historical archaeology on sites throughout Western Massachusetts, most notably Deerfield Village and the W. E. B. Du Bois Homesite in Great Barrington. Throughout his tenure at UMass, he was active on several university and departmental committees, including service to the Massachusetts Society of Professors (MSP), as well as a member of the Historic Northampton Board of Trustees and a member of the Academic Advisory Board of Historic Deerfield. Bob Paynter retired from the Anthropology Department in 2015.

The Robert Paynter Papers span the length of his career from early articles and presentations given in the 1970s to his more recent research, writing, and teaching. Materials include grant applications, lecture notes, drafts of articles, and committee work, including contributions to the Massachusetts Society of Professors (MSP). Paynter’s ongoing efforts to preserve the Du Bois homesite in Great Barrington are also documented, both his archeological site work and his service on the Advisory Board of the W. E. B. Du Bois Foundation.

Gift of Robert Paynter, 2016

Subjects

Archaeology--MassachusettsDu Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963--Homes and haunts--Massachusetts--Great BarringtonUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--FacultyUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Anthropology

Contributors

Paynter, Robert
Perry, Cynthia Shepard

Cynthia Shepard Perry Papers

1946-2010
7 boxes 10.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 842
Depiction of 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 Ed.D. 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 a 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 her expertise, she worked as a consultant to the United States Information Service in Kenya, Nigeria, and Zambia and as Staff Development Officer at the United Nations 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 United States 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 United States 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 include 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.

Gift of Cynthia Shepard Perry, Oct., 2014

Subjects

Africa--Foreign relations--United StatesBurundi--HistorySierra Leone--United StatesUnited States--Foreign relations--Africa

Types of material

MemorabiliaPhotographs
Primus, Pearl

Pearl Primus Collection

1995-2006
3 boxes 1.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 912

A pioneer of African dance in the United States and a vital scholarly voice, Pearl Primus burst onto the scene in the early 1940s as a choreographer, performer, composer, and teacher. Born in Trinidad in 1919 and raised in New York City, Primus was introduced to performance through the National Youth Administration and the New Dance Group. Her interest in the dance cultures of Africa and the African diaspora formed the conceptual center of her work throughout her career, drawing upon her deep scholarly research. In addition to her creative work, Primus earned a doctorate in anthropology from NYU and taught at a number of universities, including the Five Colleges. She died in New Rochelle, N.Y., in October 1994.

Conducted with Pearl Primus’ fellow dancers, musicians, friends, and collaborators between 1995 and 2005, the interviews comprising this collection were recorded by Peggy and Murray Schwartz for use in their book, The Dance Claimed Me: A Biography of Pearl Primus (New Haven, 2011). The oral histories provide insights into Primus’s sometimes controversial life career, her performances, teaching, and legacy.

Gift of Peggy and Murray Schwartz, Dec. 2013

Subjects

ChoreographersDance--AfricaDancers

Contributors

Nash, Joe, 1919-2005Washington, Donald

Types of material

AudiocassettesBetacam-SPVideotapes
Providence Society for Abolishing the Slave-Trade

Providence Society for Abolishing the Slave-Trade Minute Book

1789-1827
1 vol. 0.2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 935

Founded in 1789, the Providence Society for Abolishing the Slave Trade was an early antislavery organization forged in the unique political and social climate of post-Revolutionary Rhode Island. An interdenominational organization with a membership comprised largely of Quakers, the Society served as a self-appointed watchdog for violations of the act abolishing the slave trade and they provided funds to prosecute violators and to support African Americans fighting for their rights in state courts. The Society lay essentially dormant from 1793 to 1824 , when it was revived as an all-purpose antislavery organization, and it appears to have ceased operations in 1827.

The minute book of the Providence Society for Abolishing the Slave Trade are an essentially complete record of the organization’s formal meetings. The volume begins by laying out the organization’s constitution and includes listings of officers and members and summary records of their activities.

Gift of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, 2016

Subjects

African Americans--Rhode IslandAntislavery movements--Rhode IslandProvidence (R.I.)--HistoryQuakers--Rhode Island

Contributors

Brown, Moses, 1738-1832Howell, David, 1747-1824

Types of material

Minute books
Quakers of Color

Quakers of Color International Archive

2019
6 interviews
Call no.: MS 1095

Launched by Harold D. Weaver in 2019, the Quakers of Color International Archive is part of a global initiative to document the beliefs, experiences, and contributions of people of color within the Society of Friends. Supported collaboratively by the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends and the archives at UMass Amherst and Haverford College, the archive uses oral history and other approaches to document as fully as possible, the range of ideas and practices from all faith traditions within the Society.

An on-going project, the oral histories comprising the archive were conducted by Weaver and associates beginning in 2019. Representing Friends from several Yearly Meetings, the interviews include discussions of faith background and spiritual growth, theological orientation, Quaker identity, relations with monthly and yearly meetings, and the conduct of Quaker “business.”

Subjects

African American QuakersQuakers--Religious lifeSociety of Friends--BoliviaSociety of Friends--HistorySociety of Friends--KenyaSociety of Friends--MaineSociety of Friends--MassachusettsSociety of Friends--Pennsylvania

Contributors

Lapsansky-Werner, EmmaWeaver, Harold D.

Types of material

Motion pictures (Visual works)Oral histories (Literary works)
Roxbury Action Program

Roxbury Action Program Collection

1944-1975 Bulk: 1966-1974
2 boxes 1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 765
Depiction of Ernest Hamilton, <em>Black Power: What is it?</em> (1966)
Ernest Hamilton, Black Power: What is it? (1966)

The Roxbury Action Program and Black Panther Party of Boston were both founded in the Roxbury section of Boston following the riots of 1968. RAP pursued community revitalization through Black self-determination and enjoyed success in its housing initiatives and in providing social services ranging from support for Black businesses to Black draft counseling, health and legal referrals, a Black library, and community awareness program.

Although the exact provenance of this small collection is uncertain, the materials appear to have been collected by an individual, possibly a woman, associated with the early days of the Roxbury Action Program and Boston branch of the Black Panther Party. Steeped in Black Power ideology, the collection includes publications of the Black Panther Party, the Nation of Islam, and other organizations, as well as an insightful series of transcripts of Roxbury Action Program meetings held during its first few months of operation.

Gift of Ken Gloss, Jan. 2013

Subjects

African Americans--Massachusetts--BostonBlack Panther PartyBlack powerHousing--Massachusetts--BostonNation of Islam (Chicago, Ill.)Roxbury (Boston, Mass.)--History

Contributors

Morrison, George

Types of material

NewspapersPhotographs
Ryan, Christina

Christina Ryan Collection

ca.1978-1995
15 boxes 8 linear feet
Call no.: MS 523

The collection includes publications, ephemera, periodicals, and other communications from a range of radical groups. Much of the collection relates to the sedition trial of Raymond Luc Levasseur and the Ohio Seven, but ranges into related topics, including political prisoners, Communist and revolutionary action, Puerto Rican independence, African liberation movements, and anti-Klan and antiracist activity. It is organized into six series: Ohio Seven (3 boxes), Political Prisoners (2 boxes), John Brown Anti-Klan Committee (1 box), Subject Files (5 boxes), and Radical Periodicals (4 boxes).

Gift of Christina Ryan, Nov. 2006

Subjects

Activists--MassachusettsAfrican Americans--Civil rightsAnti-imperialist movements--Massachusetts--AmherstBlack PowerCommunism--United States--HistoryLevasseur, Raymond LucPolitical activists--MassachusettsPolitical prisoners--United StatesRacismRadicalism--United StatesRevolutionaries--Puerto RicoSedition

Contributors

Ryan, Christina