Political activism (64 collections) SCUA

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Kelley, Larry

Larry Kelley Papers, 1994-2004.

2 boxes (1 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 524
Kelley raising the flag, Ground Zero, 2001
Kelley raising the flag, Ground Zero, 2001

Owner of the Amherst Athletic Club and columnist for the Amherst Bulletin from 1991 to 2004, Larry Kelley is deeply involved with Amherst area relations and government. He ran for both Select Board and Finance Committee, and was instrumental in raising awareness about and banning the illegal sale of martial arts weapons in Massachusetts.

Included in the Kelley papers are over 100 newspaper clippings, either his editorials, letters to the editor, or guest columns, about issues ranging from the use of town safety services by Amherst College, his objection to the Civil Rights Review Commission’s right to subpoena, his fight to fly commemorative flags in downtown Amherst both on the anniversary of September 11th and on the day Osama bin Laden is captured, to his objection over the Amherst-Pelham Regional High School’s production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues.

Subjects

  • Amherst (Mass.)--History
  • Amherst Bulletin
  • September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001

Kleckner, Susan

Susan Kleckner Papers, ca.1970-2010.

65 (ca.100 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 725
Greenham Commons
Greenham Commons

A feminist, filmmaker, photographer, performance artist, writer, and New Yorker, Susan Kleckner helped to define the Feminist Art Movement. Born in 1941, Kleckner was instrumental in uniting Women Artists in Revolution (WAR) with Feminists in the Arts in 1969, and in 1970 she became a founder of the Women’s Interart Center, which still fosters women artists in the performing, visual, and media arts. A talented and prolific visual artist, she produced several important video documentaries during her career, beginning with Three Lives (made in collaboration with Kate Millet in 1970), which is considered the first all-women produced feature documentary. Her work often reflected a feminist commitment to the cause of peace: she participated in and photographed the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in England during the mid-1980s and in 1987, she curated a major year-long installation on Broadway called WindowPeace. A brilliant teacher, Kleckner was the first woman to teach photography at the Pratt Institute and she worked at the International Center for Photography in New York from 1982 until her death in July 2010.

A wide ranging and highly diverse collection, the Kleckner Papers document a life in art and activism. The diaries, letters, notes, and essays in the collection are augmented by hundreds of photographic prints and artwork in a variety of media.

Subjects

  • Antinuclear movements
  • Feminists--New York (State)
  • Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp
  • Peace movements
  • Performance artists--New York (State)
  • Photographers--New York (State)
  • Women's Interart Center

Contributors

  • Kleckner, Susan

Types of material

  • Drawings (Visual works)
  • Photographs

Levasseur, Raymond Luc

Raymond Luc Levasseur Trial transcripts, 1989.

(12 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 334

For over a decade, the radical United Freedom Front waged a concerted revolutionary campaign, confronting U.S. imperialism in Central America, apartheid, and other issues. Led by Raymond Luc Levasseur (b. 1940), the UFF carried out a string of bank robberies and bombings in the northeast, usually providing forewarning to avoid casualties. On November 4, 1984, following an intense nationwide manhunt, the FBI succeeded in apprehending Levasseur and his wife Patricia Gros near Deerfield, Ohio, and within a year, most of the remaining members of the UFF were under arrest. Levasseur and six of his comrades were eventually sentenced to long terms for the robberies and bombings and (two of them) for the death of a New Jersey state trooper. The government’s attempt in 1989 to bring charges of seditious conspiracy and violations of the RICO act, however, ended in an acquittal on most charges and a hung jury on the rest. Having served nearly half of his 45 year sentence, Levasseur was released from prison in November 2004.

The Levasseur Collection consists of the complete transcripts of the 1989 sedition trial of the “Ohio Seven” (US v. Levasseur).

Subjects

  • Political prisoners--United States
  • Sedition
  • United Freedom Front

Contributors

  • Levasseur, Ray Luc

Liberation News Service

Famous Long Ago Archive

Liberation News Service Records, 1967-1974.

(30.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 546

In 1967, Marshall Bloom and Raymond Mungo, former editors of the student newspapers of Amherst College and Boston University, were fired from the United States Student Press Association for their radical views. In response they collaborated with colleagues and friends to found the Liberation News Service, an alternative news agency aimed at providing inexpensive images and text reflecting a countercultural outlook. From its office in Washington, D.C., LNS issued twice-weekly packets containing news articles, opinion pieces, and photographs reflecting a radical perspective on the war in Vietnam, national liberation struggles abroad, American politics, and the cultural revolution. At its height, the Service had hundreds of subscribers, spanning the gamut of college newspapers and the underground and alternative press. Its readership was estimated to be in the millions.

Two months after moving to New York City in June 1968, the LNS split into two factions. The more traditional Marxist activists remained in New York, while Bloom and Mungo, espousing a broader cultural view, settled on farms in western Massachusetts and southern Vermont. The story of LNS, as well as of the split, is told in Mungo’s 1970 classic book Famous Long Ago. By 1969 Bloom’s LNS farm, though still holding the organization’s original press, had begun its long life as a farm commune in Montague, Mass. Montague (whose own story is told in Steve Diamond’s What the Trees Said) survived in its original form under a number of resident groups until its recent sale to another non-profit organization. Mungo’s Packer Corners Farm, near Brattleboro, the model for his well-known book, Total Loss Farm, survives today under the guidance of some of its own original founders.

The LNS Records include a relatively complete run of LNS packets 1-120 (1967-1968), along with business records, miscellaneous correspondence, some artwork, and printing artifacts, including the LNS addressograph.

Subjects

  • Activists--Massachusetts
  • Communal living--Massachusetts
  • Journalists--Massachusetts
  • Liberation News Service (New York, N.Y.)
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • Political activists--Massachusetts
  • Social justice--Massachusetts
  • Student movements
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • Liberation News Service (Montague, Mass.)

Lillydahl, Sandy

Sandy Lillydahl Venceremos Brigade Photograph Collection, 1970-2005 (Bulk: 1970).

1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: PH 056

A 1969 graduate of Smith College and member of Students for a Democratic Society, Sandy Lillydahl took part in the second contingent of the Venceremos Brigade. Between February and April 1970, Lillydahl and traveled to Cuba as an expression of solidarity with the Cuban people and to assist in the sugarcane harvest.

The 35 color snapshots that comprise the Lillydahl collection document the New England contingent of the second Venceremos Brigade as they worked the sugarcane fields in Aguacate, Cuba, and toured the country. Each image is accompanied by a caption supplied by Lillydahl in 2005, describing the scene and reflecting on her experiences; and the collection also includes copies of the file kept by the FBI on Lillydahl, obtained by her through the Freedom of Information Act in 1975.

Subjects

  • Cuba--Photographs
  • Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)--Photographs
  • Sugarcane--Harvesting--Cuba--Photographs
  • Venceremos Brigade--Photographs

Types of material

  • Photographs

Lipshires, Sidney

Sidney Lipshires Papers, 1932-2012.

7 boxes (3.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 730
Sidney Lipshires
Sidney Lipshires

Born on April 15, 1919 in Baltimore, Maryland to David and Minnie Lipshires, Sidney was raised in Northampton, Massachusetts where his father owned two shoe stores, David Boot Shop and The Bootery. He attended the Massachusetts State College for one year before transferring to the University of Chicago and was awarded a BA in economics in 1940. His years at the University of Chicago were transformative, Lipshires became politically active there and joined the Communist Party in 1939. Following graduation in 1941, he married Shirley Dvorin, a student in early childhood education; together they had two sons, Ellis and Bernard. Lipshires returned to western Massachusetts with his young family in the early 1940s, working as a labor organizer. He served in the United States Army from 1943 to 1946 working as a clerk and interpreter with a medical battalion in France for over a year. Returning home, he ran for city alderman in Springfield on the Communist Party ticket in 1947. Lipshires married his second wife, Joann Breen Klein, in 1951 and on May 29, 1956, the same day his daughter Lisa was born, he was arrested under the Smith Act for his Communist Party activities. Before his case was brought to trial, the Smith Act was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Disillusioned with the Communist Party, he severed his ties with it in 1957, but continued to remain active in organized labor for the rest of his life. Earning his masters in 1965 and Ph.D. in 1971, Lipshires taught history at Manchester Community College in Connecticut for thirty years. During that time he worked with other campus leaders to establish a statewide union for teachers and other community college professionals, an experience he wrote about in his book, Giving Them Hell: How a College Professor Organized and Led a Successful Statewide Union. Sidney Lipshires died on January 6, 2011 at the age of 91.

Ranging from an autobiographical account that outlines his development as an activist (prepared in anticipation of a trial for conspiracy charges under the Smith Act) to drafts and notes relating to his book Giving Them Hell, the Sidney Lipshires Papers offers an overview of his role in the Communist Party and as a labor organizer. The collection also contains his testimony in a 1955 public hearing before the Special Commission to Study and Investigate Communism and Subversive Activities, photographs, and biographical materials.

Subjects

  • Communism--United States--History
  • Communists--Massachusetts
  • Jews--Massachusetts--Northampton--History
  • Jews--Political activity--United States--History--20th century
  • Labor movement--United States--History--20th century
  • Labor unions--United States--Officials and employees--Biography

Contributors

  • Lipshires, David M
  • Lipshires, Joann B
  • Lipshires, Sidney

Types of material

  • Autobiographies
  • Photographs
  • Testimonies

Mann, Eric

Eric Mann and Lian Hurst Mann Papers, 1967-2007.

22 boxes (11 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 657
Eric Mann, Dec. 1969<br />Photo by Jeff Albertson
Eric Mann, Dec. 1969
Photo by Jeff Albertson

Revolutionary organizers, writers, and theorists, Eric Mann and Lian Hurst Mann have been active in the struggle for civil rights for decades. The son of Jewish Socialist and labor organizer from New York, Mann came of age during the early phases of the Civil Rights movement and after graduating from Cornell (1964), he became field secretary for the Congress of Racial Equality. Increasingly radicalized through exposure to Black revolutionary nationalists, Mann took part in the Newark Community Union Project and became a leader in anti-imperialist opposition to the war in Vietnam as a New England regional coordinator for the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and later with Weatherman. Following a militant demonstration at the Harvard Center for International Affairs late in 1969, Mann was convicted of assault on the basis of perjured testimony and sentenced to two years in prison. An organizer even behind bars, he was moved frequently, and after being released early in July 1971, he continued his prison activism through the Red Prison Movement. At the same time, as a writer, he earned a national audience for Comrade George, his account of the life, politics, and assassination of Soledad Brother George Jackson. Feeling himself at a low point in his radical career, Mann met Lian Hurst while vacationing in Mexico during the summer 1974. Hurst, a leader in the Berkeley Oakland Women’s Union, architect, and a strong Socialist Feminist, soon became his partner in life and politics, and Mann left Massachusetts to join with her in Berkeley. At her urging, the two took part in Marxist Leninist party building, becoming union organizers with the United Auto Workers, and eventually moving to Los Angeles, where they led a campaign to keep the Van Nuys assembly plant open (1982-1992). They joined, and later left, the Chicano Communist August 29th Movement and its successor, the League of Revolutionary Struggle, and in 1989, they formed the Labor/Community Strategy Center, which has been a primary focal points for their work ever since, helping to build consciousness, leadership, and organization within communities of color. Both Manns continue to write and agitate in the cause of revolutionary change, particularly for oppressed communities of color.

The Mann-Hurst collection contains the records of two lives intertwined with one another with the cause of liberation of communities of color. Containing a nearly complete set of publications, the collection also contains early materials on Lian Hurst’s work with BOWU and the both Eric and Lian’s time as organizers for the UAW and their participation in the August 29th Movement and League of Revolutionary Struggle. Of particular interest are a series of letters home written by Eric during his imprisonment and a lengthy autobiography written after his release. The collection contains comparatively little on the Manns’ more recent work with the Labor/Strategy Research Center or Bus Riders Union.

Subjects

  • August 29th Movement
  • Berkeley Oakland Women's Union
  • Communists--California
  • Feminism
  • International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America
  • Labor unions--California
  • League of Revolutionary Struggle (M-L)
  • Prisoners--Massachusetts
  • Red Prison Movements
  • Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)

Contributors

  • Mann, Lian Hurst

Mass Voters for Fair Elections

Mass Voters for Fair Elections Records, 1997-2005.

14 boxes (21 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 554

Since 1994 the Mass Voters for Fair Elections has been part of a national movement to minimize the role of money in elections. Watching both the cost of running a successful campaign and the role of fundraising increase, the organization led the fight to put the Clean Elections Initiative on the ballot in 1998. With overwhelming support for the initiative, the ballot question won only to be repealed by the Legislature in 2003. Until it ceased activity in 2007, Mass Voters for Fair Elections continued to work for reform in the electoral process not only to encourage more individuals to run for office, but also to affirm the principle “one person, one vote.”

The collection consists chiefly of subject files that document issues relating to elections and campaign reform addressed by the group and its volunteers. Also included: correspondence, meeting notes, publications, and mailings.

Subjects

  • Campaign funds--Massachusetts
  • Elections--Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--1951-
  • Political campaigns--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • Mass Voters for Fair Elections

Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition (MassCann)

Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition (MassCann) Records, 1990-2008.

6 boxes (9 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 840
JoeJoe and Pres. Bill Downing at Boston Freedom Rally, 1996. Photo by Sam Robbins.
JoeJoe and Pres. Bill Downing at Boston Freedom Rally, 1996. Photo by Sam Robbins.

The Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition (MassCann) is a state affiliate of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Founded in October 1990 by a group of Boston-based activists, MassCann is a strictly grassroots not-for-profit group that works to ameliorate laws against the use and possession of marijuana and to raise public awareness about the potential of marijuana and hemp products. In addition to lobbying legislators and promoting ballot initiatives to decriminalize adult possession in the Commonwealth, MassCann sponsors public events, such as the landmark conferences held at Harvard Law School in 1991 and 1994, a series of Tax Day protests (1994-1998) calling for regulation and taxation of marijuana, and most famously the Boston Freedom Rally, the second largest anti-prohibition gathering in the country held annually since 1992.

The MassCann collection documents the work and interests of a grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to ending marijuana prohibition, from oganizational and administrative records relating to events it sponsors, particularly the Boston Freedom Rally, to promotional materials and materials relating to the legal environment, and medical marijuana. The collection also includes a wealth of video, compact discs, and audiotapes documenting MassCann events along with recordings of commerical programming on marijuana.

Subjects

  • Marijuana--Law and legislation
  • Marijuana--Physiological effect
  • Marijuana--Therapeutic use--Social aspects

Contributors

  • National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (U.S.)

Types of material

  • Sound recordings
  • Videotapes

Meier, August, 1923-2003

August Meier Collection, 1837-1984.

3 boxes, 329 titles (34.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 844

A pioneer in African American history, August Meier was a model of an engaged academic, a prolific writer, active participant in the civil rights struggle, and staunch member of the NAACP, SNCC, and CORE. While pursuing graduate work at Columbia under Henry Steele Commager, Meier taught at a succession of Historical Black Colleges, including Tougaloo (1945-1949), Fisk (1953-1956), and Morgan State (1957-1964). His dissertation, completed in 1957, became the first of eleven books he wrote or edited, Negro Thought in America, 1880-1915 (1963), with much of later work conducted in collaboration with Elliott Rudwick and John Bracey. Meier joined the faculty at Kent State University in 1967 and remained there until his retirement in 1993. His much-anticipated monograph on the history of the NAACP had not been completed at the time of death in 2003.

Organized in two discrete parts, the Meier collection bookends a long career in the study of African American history. The first part of the collection is centered on Meier’s association with the Pioneer Youth summer camp in Rifton, N.Y., and his growing consciousness of the fundamental problems of race and class in American society, with some materials from his wartime years as an undergraduate at Oberlin College. The second part of the collection includes books collected by Meier during his academic career, mostly on African American history and culture. Titles range from works on the Civil Rights movement to literature and poetry of the late nineteenth century and Harlem Renaissance, works on slavery and antislavery, race theory, the South, and African American education and religion.

Subjects

  • African Americans--History
  • Antislavery movements
  • Camps--New York (State)
  • Civil rights movements
  • Communists--United States
  • Depressions--1929
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt),1868-1963
  • Oberlin College--Students
  • Pioneer Youth of America
  • Race relations
  • World War, 1939-1945

Contributors

  • Braunthal, Gerard, 1923-

Types of material

  • Newsletters
  • Songbooks
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