Collecting area: African American

University of Massachusetts Amherst. Black Pioneers Project

Black Pioneers Project Records

2018-2019
0.1 linear feet
Call no.: RG 050/9
UMass Black Pioneer T-Shirt logo
UMass Amherst Black Pioneers T-Shirt logo, 2016

Moved to action after a successful and illuminating 2016 reunion of Black alumni of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, alumna Dr. Cheryl L. Evans (1968) decided to take on the critical project identified by the group, collecting and documenting the stories of the Black alumni who attended the University between 1960 and 1970. Dubbing these students “Black Pioneers,” given the dearth, and then growth, of Black students on campus during the decade, Evans used her connections with alumni and her history as a Black student leader to reach out about recording experiences for preservation and research purposes. In collaboration with Special Collections and University Archives, Evans began the “UMass Black Pioneers Project,” and sent an online questionnaire to around 85 alumni in September 2018. The survey addresses alumni’s backgrounds, academic and social experiences on campus, occasions of racial discrimination and activism, and current perceptions of the University and advice for students. Participation was voluntary, and is ongoing.

The UMass Black Pioneers Project Records contain some planning materials and correspondence for the project, and primarily consist of written answers made in response to the “UMass Black Pioneers Survey.” In addition to the questionnaire, participants were able to send in physical materials, or upload digital content, such as resumes, or videos of their responses, and the collection contains a few of these. Several participants willing to be interviewed were also connected with UMass Public History graduate students for oral histories in the Fall 2018 semester. These videos are a part of the record group, and there are plans to conduct additional interviews.

Aquired with the assistance of Cheryl L. Evans, 2018

Subjects

African American college students--MassachusettsRacism in educationUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--AlumniUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst--Students

Types of material

Oral historiesQuestionnaires
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 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.

Subjects

School integration--Massachusetts--SpringfieldSpringfield (Mass.)--History--20th centurySpringfield (Mass.)--Politics and governmentSpringfield (Mass.)--Race relations
Wanton, Gideon, 1693-1767

Gideon and John Wanton Cashbook

1753-1759
1 vol. 0.2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1114

Gideon Wanton, a two-time governor of colonial Rhode Island, and his son John were Quaker merchants from Newport. During the middle years of the eighteenth century, they carried on an active trade who took an active part in the triangular trade.

This diminutive cash account book offers a window onto the business ventures of a powerful Newport Quaker family during the mid-eighteenth century. Kept during a five-year period, 1753-1759, the book contains terse records of cash expenditures in exchange for goods and services to Gideon and John Wanton. Records of the coastwise trade in commodities such as pork, flour, and mackerel to Philadelphia and other ports accompany notices of molasses from Surinam and rum. The lack of payments relating directly to enslaved people is likely the result of the sale of the human cargo in the West Indies prior to returning to Newport.

Acquired from Garrett Scott, Jan. 2020

Subjects

Merchants--Rhode IslandNewport (R.I.)--History--18th centurySlave trade--Rhode Island

Contributors

Wanton, John, 1729-1799

Types of material

Cashbooks
Weinberg, Meyer, 1920-2002

Meyer Weinberg Papers

1947-1992
26 boxes 39 linear feet
Call no.: FS 177

Born in New York City in 1920 on the day his Russian immigrant parents first set foot in the United States, Meyer Weinberg was a political radical, civil rights activist, and a distinguished scholar of desegregation in education. Working his way through the University of Chicago, receiving both a BA (1942) and MA (1945), Weinberg began his career at Wright Junior College, where he harnessed his zeal for social justice to the problem of integration in Chicago’s schools. Active in the civil rights movement, he became a key figure in providing data for desegregation efforts nationally, serving as Chair of the Education Committee of the Coordinating Council of Community Organizations (CCCO) from 1963 to 1967, and as an expert witness in numerous desegregation cases. After moving to City College in Chicago (1971) and then Northwestern (1972-1978), he accepted a faculty appointment at UMass Amherst in the School of Education (and later in Afro-American Studies), also working as Director of the Horace Mann Bond Center for Equal Education (1978-1992). Weinberg’s eighteenth book, A Short History of American Capitalism, appeared just before his death on Feb. 28, 2002.

A large and varied collection, the Weinberg Papers document both the academic and political commitments of Meyer Weinberg from the late 1940s until his retirement from UMass. The focus throughout is his interest in school desegregation, particularly in his native Chicago, but the collection extends to other areas in civil rights activism.

Subjects

African Americans--EducationChicago (Ill.)--HistorySegregation in education