University of Massachusetts Amherst
Special Collections and University Archives
UMass Amherst Libraries
SCUA

Collection area: Political activism (page 5 of 8)

Lipshires, Sidney

Sidney Lipshires Papers, 1932-2012
7 boxes (3.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 730
Sidney Lipshires Papers image
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 and Lian Hurst Mann Papers image
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 the Revolutionary Youth Movement I — the Weatherman above-ground tendency of SDS. 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 of his fellow prisoners even behind bars, he was “shipped out” often in the middle of the night, from prison to prison, spending the last year at Concord State Prison. 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 his book Comrade George: an 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. Hurst lead a group of women from BOWU who formed a “Thursday night group” and left the organization with the polemic, “socialist feminism is bourgeois feminism” all of whom moved towards integrating women’s liberation and Marxism-Leninism. 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. Hurst was elected shop steward by her fellow workers as a known revolutionary. There, Mann led a campaign to keep the Van Nuys assembly plant open (1982-1992) — captured in his book, Taking on General Motors. They joined the August 29th Movement and its successor, the League of Revolutionary Struggle. They left LRS in 1984. In 1989, Mann and veterans of the GM Van Nuys Campaign 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. Hurst became editor of AhoraNow, an innovative bilingual left publication that featured articles by Black and Latino working class leaders and helped initiate the center’s National School for Strategic Organizing. In 2003 Hurst wrote, “Socialist Feminism: Thoughts After 30 Years” for AhoraNow, a critical re-engagement of those important debates from an historical perspective after a 30 year reunion of BOWU’s key leaders. Mann’s latest book is Playbook For Progressives: 16 Qualities of the Successful Organizer. Hurst and Mann 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 Black and Latino communities, women, and an internationalist pro-socialist anti-imperialism. 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. The collection contains comparatively little on Hurst and Manns’ more recent work with the Labor/Strategy Strategy 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
Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition (MassCann) Records image
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
August Meier Collection image

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

Morehouse, Ward, 1929-

Ward Morehouse Papers, ca.1950-2012
120 boxes (180 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 764

A writer, educator, and activist for human rights and social justice, Ward Morehouse was a prominent critic of corporate power and globalization. Raised in a family of progressive political economists and academics in Wisconsin, Morehouse began his research in international political economy while a student at Yale (BA 1950, MA 1953) and embarked on a standard academic career path. After teaching political science at New York University for a time, he became director of international education at the Center for International and Comparative Studies in 1963, building a particularly strong program in India. However in 1976, conservative opposition to his political views led Morehouse to leave for a new post as president of the Council on International and Public Affairs (CIPA), a human rights organization he had helped found twenty years before. Throughout, he remained an activist at heart. Galvanized by the 1984 industrial disaster in Bhopal, India, he organized the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, and went on to form or work with many other organizations seeking to resist corporate power and build democracy, including the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy (POCLAD) and the Permanent People’s Tribunal, operating the radical Apex Press. Morehouse died in June 2012 at the age of 83.

The Morehouse collection is a massive archive documenting six decades of research, writing, and activism. A prolific writer and editor, Morehouse left a deep record of his activities, his research and writing on corporate power, and the full breadth of his commitments in labor relations, alternative economics, “people’s law,” and peace.

Subjects
  • Anti-globalization movement
  • Bhopal Union Carbide Plant Disaster, Bhopal, India, 1984
  • Economics
  • India--Economic conditions
Contributors
  • Apex Press
  • Center for International and Comparative Studies
  • Council on International and Public Affairs
  • Permanent Peoples' Tribunal
  • Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy

Mungo, Raymond, 1946-

Raymond Mungo Papers, 1966-2008
6 boxes (3 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 659
Raymond Mungo Papers image
Raymond Mungo, 1967

Born in a “howling blizzard” in February 1946, Raymond Mungo became one of the most evocative writers of the 1960s counterculture. Through more than fifteen books and hundreds of articles, Mungo has brought a wry sense of humor and radical sensibility to explorations of the minds and experiences of the generation that came of age against a backdrop of the struggles for civil rights and economic justice, of student revolts, Black Power, resistance to war, and experimentation in communal living.

Consisting of the original typescripts and manuscripts of ten of Raymond Mungo’s books, along with corrected and uncorrected galleys and a small number of letters from publishers. Among the other materials in the collection are thirteen photographs of Mungo taken by Clif Garboden and Peter Simon during and immediately after his undergraduate years at Boston University; a DVD containing motion pictures of life at Packer Corners in 1969 and 1977; and an irate letter from a writer regarding the status of poems he had submitted to Liberation News Service.

Subjects
  • Communal living--Massachusetts
  • Communal living--Vermont
  • Liberation News Service (Montague, Mass.)
  • Montague Farm Community (Mass.)
  • Nineteen Sixties
  • Packer Corners Community (Vt.)
  • Porche, Verandah
Contributors
  • Garboden, Clif
  • Mungo, Raymond, 1946-
  • Simon, Peter, 1947-
Types of material
  • Photographs

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

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (U.S.) Records, 1970-2008
84 boxes (91 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 757
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (U.S.) Records image
Keith Stroup, ca. 1975

Founded by attorney Keith Stroup in 1970, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is the nation’s oldest and most prominent organization advocating for an end to cannabis prohibition. A nonprofit public-interest advocacy group based in Washington, DC, NORML has lobbied at the state and federal levels for the elimination of penalties for the cultivation, possession, and responsible use of cannabis, and it has met with success in state-level efforts at decriminalization. Over the years, NORML has led a wide variety of educational initiatives and coordinated its activities with other organizations working for cannabis reform. More recently, NORML has become a significant voice in the struggle to legalize the therapeutic use of marijuana.

The records of NORML offer a perspective on more than forty years of grassroots advocacy in cause of drug policy legislation. Highly varied in nature, the records include organizational records, research files on marijuana and marijuana use, promotional materials prepared by NORML, and letters from persons incarcerated for possession. The collection is currently being received by SCUA with new additions expected in the near term.

Subjects
  • Marijuana--Law and legislation
  • Marijuana--Physiological effect
  • Marijuana--Therapeutic use--Social aspects
Contributors
  • Stroup, Keith, 1943-
Types of material
  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Photographs
  • Videotapes

National Priorities Project

National Priorities Project Records, 1983-2015
15 boxes (22.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 913

A national non-partisan, not-for-profit organization based in Northampton, Mass., the National Priorities Project was founded in 1983 by Greg Speeter, Brenda Loew, Ricky Fogel, and Alwin Schmidt to conduct research into the depths of the federal budget. Their first effort was to analyze the dramatic reductions affecting many social programs, but the organization grew around the principle of making the complex federal budget transparent and more publicly accessible so that the public can better influence how their tax dollars are spent. Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 in recognition of its pioneering work in tracking military spending, the NPP continues to work toward a federal budget that reflects Americans’ priorities, including funding for issues such as inequality, unemployment, education, healthcare, and the need to build a green economy.

The NPP collection documents over thirty years of a not-for-profit organization devoted to research-informed advocacy for a federal budget that reflects the priorities of most Americans. In addition to a run of NPP publications, the collection includes a series of topical files from Greg Speeter and his associates, selected correspondence, talks, and notes on their work.

Gift of Kris Elinevsky, 2016
Subjects
  • Military spending
  • United States--Appropriations and expenditures
Contributors
  • Speeter, Greg

Oglesby, Carl, 1935-

Carl Oglesby Papers, ca.1965-2004
96 boxes (67.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 514
Carl Oglesby Papers image
Carl Oglesby, 2006. Photo by Jennifer Fels

Reflective, critical, and radical, Carl Oglesby was an eloquent voice of the New Left during the 1960s and 1970s. A native of Ohio, Oglesby was working in the defense industry in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1964 when he became radicalized by what he saw transpiring in Vietnam. Through his contacts with the Students for a Democratic Society, he was drawn into the nascent antiwar movement, and thanks to his formidable skills as a speaker and writer, rose rapidly to prominence. Elected president of the SDS in 1965, he spent several years traveling nationally and internationally advocating for a variety of political and social causes.

In 1972, Oglesby helped co-found the Assassination Information Bureau which ultimately helped prod the U.S. Congress to reopen the investigation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. A prolific writer and editor, his major works include Containment and Change (1967), The New Left Reader (1969), The Yankee and Cowboy War (1976), and The JFK Assassination: The Facts and the Theories (1992). The Oglesby Papers include research files, correspondence, published and unpublished writing, with the weight of the collection falling largely on the period after 1975.

Subjects
  • Assassination Information Bureau
  • Gehlen, Reinhard, 1902-1979
  • Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963--Assassination
  • King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968
  • Pacifists
  • Political activists
  • Student movements
  • Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)
  • United States--Foreign relations
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975
  • Watergate Affair, 1972-1974
Contributors
  • Oglesby, Carl, 1935-

© 2017 * Special Collections and University Archives * UMass Amherst Libraries

Site policies