Collecting area: Political activism Page 5 of 10
Karuth, Denise

Denise Karuth and Fred Pelka Papers

1981-2012
36 boxes 54 linear feet
Call no.: MS 833

Denise Karuth and Fred Pelka are activists and historians of the disability rights movement based in Massachusetts. Both are graduates of SUNY Buffalo, while Karuth holds a masters in rehabilitation counseling from Boston State College and a masters in divinity from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge. Karuth came into activism through her church’s involvement in the civil rights movement and her own experience as a student dealing with blindness and multiple sclerosis at the State University of New York at Buffalo. After moving to Boston, her activism continued in efforts by the disability community to secure accessible and affordable mass transit in Massachusetts, and she has been involved with a broad spectrum of disability campaigns and organizations, serving as a peer counselor for people with disabilities, as Executive Director of Boston Self-Help Center, as a consultant on disability issues for the Human Genome Initiative, as a grant writer at the Stavros Center for Independent Living, and as Chair of the Governor’s Commission on Accessible Transportation under Gov. Michael Dukakis. She has also been an advocate for people who are homeless and was a principal founder of the First Church Shelter of the First Church in Cambridge. Karuth’s lifelong partner Fred Pelka, himself a person with disabilities, became involved in disability rights activism in 1983 while working at the Boston Center for Independent Living, and has made an impact as an editor and prolific author since. A 2004 Guggenheim Fellow, he has written three books on disability issues: The ABC-CLIO Companion to the Disability Rights Movement (1997), The Civil War Letters of Charles F. Johnson, Invalid Corps (2004), and What We Have Done: An Oral History of the Disability Rights Movement (2012). His fourth book, A Different Blaze, was published by Hedgerow Books in 2014, and is his first published poetry.

The Karuth and Pelka collection documents thirty years of social justice activism in Massachusetts centered on the movement for disability rights. Beginning in the1980s struggle for accessibility in transportation, the collection reflects the breadth of Karuth’s commitments and work on issues ranging from apartheid and US imperialism to homelessness and HIV/AIDS, and her work with organizations such as First Church in Cambridge, Amnesty International, Not Dead Yet, the Governor’s Council of Accessible Transportation, and the Boston Self Help Center. Pelka’s part of the collection contains extensive research and background material, notes, and drafts for each of his books, including lengthy transcripts of interviews with pioneers in disability rights.

Subjects

  • AIDS activists--Massachusetts
  • Boston Self-Help Center
  • First Church (Cambridge, Mass.)
  • Homelessness--Massachusetts
  • Local transit accessibility
  • Massachusetts. Governor's Commission of Accessible Transportation
  • People with disabilities--Civil rights
  • People with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.

Contributors

  • Pelka, Fred
Katanka, Michael

Katanka-Fraser Political Music Collection

1885-1975
10 boxes 7 linear feet
Call no.: MS 552

The author, publisher, and radical bookseller Michael Katanka (1922-1983) was a staunch Socialist and historian of British labor. Beginning with his 1868: Year of Unions in 1968, Katanka wrote or edited a series of books and articles on Fabianism, satirical caricature, and trade unionism.

The Katanka-Fraser Political Music Collection consists of audio recordings, sheet music, and songbooks of politically-inspired music in a variety of languages. The works range from the English and German Socialist press of the 1880s to the antiwar movement of the 1960s and 1970s, touching upon labor agitation, proletarian songs, student protest, the anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist struggles, the Spanish Civil War, and Communism and Socialism. The collection also includes a few books and sound recordings from the extreme right in Nazi Germany.

Gift of James and Sibylle Fraser, June 2007

Subjects

  • Communists--Music
  • International Workers of the World--Music
  • Political ballads and songs
  • Protest songs
  • Radicalism--Songs and music
  • Socialists--Music
  • Working class--Music

Contributors

  • Fraser, James
  • Katanka, Michael
Keller, Nina

Nina Keller Papers

1964-2014
3 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 944

Nina Keller riding in the back of a hay truck, Wendell, 1980.

Currently residing in Wendell, Massachusetts, Nina Keller has had an active role in environmental and social activism in the Pioneer Valley and New England area for the better part of 40 years. Since the 1970s, Keller has played an active role in local and regional activism, from the antinuclear movement to hazardous waste disposal. She was an initial member of the Alternative Energy Coalition (AEC), was part of the Friends of the Earth (FOE) environmental organization, and most notably took part in efforts to close the nearby Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. At 62, Keller currently chairs the Wendell Board of Health, and has had a recent history of participation in local government.

The Nina Keller Collection is largely organized into five subject areas used by Keller to organize her files: Economics; Environmental Issues; Hazardous Materials; Nuclear Power; and Pesticides and Herbicides. Of note within these files are local, state, and federal reports and documents covering topics such as nuclear emergency evacuation plans, chemical sprays and their health effects, and hazardous waste regulation. Several items reflect Keller’s personal life, most notably two journals from Montague Farm, used communally for diary entries, drawings, clippings, photographs, and account keeping. The collection’s focus spans from the 1970s to the 1980s, as well as the early 2000s.

Gift of Nina Keller, 2017

Subjects

  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
  • Communal living--Massachusetts
  • Environmentalism
  • Franklin County (Mass.)
  • Montague Farm Community (Mass.)
  • Nuclear energy--Massachusetts
  • Political activists--Massachusetts
  • Social action
  • Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station

Contributors

  • Keller, Nina

Types of material

  • clippings files
  • journals (accounts)
Kelley, Larry

Larry Kelley Papers

1994-2004
2 boxes 1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 524
Image of 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.

Gift of Larry Kelley, 2006

Subjects

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

Susan Kleckner Papers

ca. 1870-2010 Bulk: 1970-2010
89 ca. 180 linear feet
Call no.: MS 725
Image of 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.

Gift of Linda Cummings and Susan Jahoda, Dec. 2011

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

  • Artists' films
  • 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
Levasseur, Raymond Luc

Raymond Luc Levasseur Papers

1966-2017
10 boxes 12 linear feet
Call no.: MS 971

Raymond Luc Levasseur went underground with a revolutionary Marxist organization in 1974 and spent a decade in armed resistance against the American state. Radicalized by his experiences in Vietnam and by a stint in a Tennessee prison for the sale of marijuana, Levasseur became convinced that revolutionary action was a “necessary step in defeating the enemy — monopoly Capitalism and its Imperialism expression.” As a leader of the Sam Melville/Jonathan Jackson Unit, later called the United Freedom Front, he took part in a string of bombings and bank robberies targeting symbols of the state including government and military buildings and corporate offices. All active members of the UFF were arrested in 1984 and 1985 and sentenced to long prison terms, although the government’s effort to prosecute them (the Ohio 7) on separate charges of seditious conspiracy ultimately failed. Levasseur served twenty years of a 45-year prison sentence, approximately thirteen years of them in solitary confinement, before being released on parole in 2004. He continues to write and speak out for prisoners’ rights.

The Levasseur papers are an important record of a committed revolutionary and political prisoner. Beginning with his work in the early 1970s with the Statewide Correctional Alliance for Reform (SCAR), a prisoners’ rights organization, the collection includes communiques and other materials from revolutionary groups including the UFF, the Armed Resistance Unit, and the Black Liberation Army; Levasseur’s political and autobiographical writings; numerous interviews; selected correspondence; and a range of material on political prisoners and mass incarceration. Consisting in part of material seized by the FBI following Levasseur’s arrest or recovered through the Freedom of Information Act, and supplemented by newsclippings and video from media coverage, the collection has particularly rich content for the criminal and seditious conspiracy trials of UFF members (also known as the “Ohio 7”) in Brooklyn, NY and Springfield, MA, as well as Levasseur’s years in prison and his work on behalf of political prisoners.

Gift of Raymond Luc Levasseur, 2017

Subjects

  • Anti-imperialist movements--United States
  • Political prisoners--United States
  • Prisons--United States
  • Revolutionaries

Contributors

  • Armed Clandestine Movement
  • Black Liberation Army
  • Manning, Tom
  • Ohio 7
  • Sam Melville/Jonathan Jackson Unit
  • Statewide Correctional Alliance for Reform
  • United Freedom Front
  • Williams, Raymond C.

Types of material

  • Photographs
  • Trials
Liberation News Service

Liberation News Service Records

1966-1977
11 boxes, 1 oversize folder 9 linear feet
Call no.: MS 546
Image of Arrest of Jon Higgenbotham (Milwaukee 14), Sept. 24, 1968
Arrest of Jon Higgenbotham (Milwaukee 14), Sept. 24, 1968

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.)
  • News agencies
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • Student movements
  • Underground press publications
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • Liberation News Service (Montague, Mass.)
Liberation News Service (New York, N.Y.)

Liberation News Service (New York, N.Y.) Records

1968-1975
6 boxes 4.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1007
Cover of Liberation News Service issue 441, June 10, 1972.
Cover of Liberation News Service issue 441, June 10, 1972.

Founded in 1967, Liberation News Service, an alternative news agency, issued twice-weekly packets aimed at providing inexpensive images, articles, and art reflecting a countercultural outlook. First from its office in Washington, D.C., and then from New York City, LNS provided underground and college papers around the globe with radical and unconventional coverage of the war in Vietnam, global liberation struggles, American politics, and the cultural revolution. Two months after moving to New York City in June 1968, LNS split into two factions, with the sides mirroring common points of dispute within the New Left. The more traditional political and Marxist activists remained in New York, while those more aligned with the counterculture and “hippie” movement settled on farms in western Massachusetts and southern Vermont. For a year each faction put out competing versions of LNS news packets, until the winter conditions and small staff at the farm in Montague caused their production to end in January 1969. LNS-New York continued its production of unique leftist coverage of national and international issues throughout the 1970s, closing in 1981.

The LNS-NY Records include a relatively complete run of packets 102-701 (1968-1975) sent to the subscribing underground press newspaper the Indianapolis Free Press. Some packets and years are more complete than others, and these New York packets are especially dense with photographs compared to earlier LNS packets from before the split in 1968. The collection also includes a small selection of other artwork, articles, and materials kept by the Indianapolis Free Press.

Gift of Ron Haldeman, courtesy of Thomas P. Healy, January 2018

Subjects

  • News agencies--New York (State)
  • Press and politics
  • Radicalism
  • Underground press publications

Contributors

  • Indianapolis Free Press
  • Liberation News Service (New York, N.Y.)
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