Social justice (79 collections) SCUA

Massachusetts. Special Commission on Unequal Educational Opportunity

Massachusetts Special Commission on Unequal Educational Opportunity Records, 1970-1986.

1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 126

The Special Commission on the Reorganization of Higher Education was established to investigate and review Massachusetts laws concerning elementary and secondary education. In order to determine the existence and extent of unequal educational opportunity services, the commission reviewed the state’s school systems as well as the educational laws, programs, and school systems of other states.

Consists of records of the Special Commission on the Reorganization of Higher Education Records, including materials relating to the Boston Community Reorganization, a federal finance proposal, lottery distribution, and school finance reform.


  • Education--Massachusetts--History


  • Massachusetts. Special Commission on Unequal Educational Opportunity

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.


  • 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


  • 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.


  • Anti-globalization movement
  • Bhopal Union Carbide Plant Disaster, Bhopal, India, 1984
  • Economics
  • India--Economic conditions


  • Apex Press
  • Center for International and Comparative Studies
  • Council on International and Public Affairs
  • Permanent Peoples' Tribunal
  • Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy

Mount Toby Meeting of Friends

Mount Toby Meeting of Friends Collection, 1977-1991.

1 box (1.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 694

The Northampton Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends (later the Middle Connecticut Valley Monthly Meeting) was formally established in 1939, bringing together the small community of Friends in Western Massachusetts. In 1959, the small preparative meetings in Amherst, Greenfield, Northampton, and South Hadley agreed to consolidate to create a more vital gathering. After five years without a fixed location, a Friend was moved to donate three acres of land on Long Plain Road in Leverett on which to build a proper meetinghouse. When that building opened in 1964, the meeting was renamed the Mt Toby Meeting.

Reflecting a strong history of promoting peace social justice, the Mt. Toby collection documents Friends’ involvement in a wide variety of issues ranging from war tax resistance (Randy Kehler and Betsy Corner), the “Colrain action” when the Kehler/Corner house was seized by the IRS), peace education and civil disobedience, refugee resettlement, the Sanctuary movement, and support for LGBT issues and racial equality. The collection consists largely of fliers and newsletters, ephemera, and newspaper clippings.


  • Corner, Betsy
  • Kehler, Randy
  • Mount Toby Meeting of Friends (Quakers)
  • Pacifists
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • Sanctuary movement
  • War tax resistance--Massachusetts

Noble, David F.

David F. Noble Papers, 1977-2010.

15 boxes (22.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 879

David F. Noble was a critical and highly influential historian of technology, science, and education, writing from a strong leftist perspective. Receiving his doctorate at the University of Rochester, Noble began his academic career at MIT. His first book, America By Design (1977), received strong reviews for its critique of the corporate control of science and technology, but proved too radical for MIT, which denied him tenure despite strong support from his peers. A stint at the Smithsonian followed, but ended similarly, and he continued to face opposition in his career for his radicalism and persistence. After several years at Drexel (1986-1994), Noble landed at York University, where he remained committed to a range of social justice issues, including opposition to the corporatization of universities. Among his major works Forces of Production (1984), A World Without Women (1992), The Religion of Technology (1997), Digital Diploma Mills (2001), and Beyond the Promised Land (2005). Noble died of complications of pneumonia in December 2010, and was survived by his wife Sarah Dopp and three daughters.

The challenges of academic freedom and corporate influence that Noble confronted throughout his career, and his trenchant analysis of technology, science, and religion in contemporary culture, form the core of this collection. Although the files relating to his first book were mostly lost, each of his later books is well represented, accompanied by general correspondence, documentation of his lawsuits against his employers, and selective public talks and publications. Noble’s time at York is particularly well documented, including content relating to his principled stand against grading students.


  • Academic freedom
  • Corporatization
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology--Faculty
  • Science--Social aspects
  • Technology--Social aspects
  • York University--Faculty

Peace Development Fund

Peace Development Fund Records, 1981-2010.

53 boxes (79.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 427
Traprock Peace Center and PDF<br />arms race flip chart
Traprock Peace Center and PDF
arms race flip chart

First conceived in 1980, the Peace Development Fund (PDF) was founded by a small group of activists and donors with a vision: to raise money to fund grassroots organizations promoting peace, global demilitarization, and non-violent conflict resolution. During the foundation’s first funding cycle, PDF awarded 19 grants to projects designed to increase understanding of the arms race; some to organizations as nearby as Deerfield and Northampton and others to organizations as far away as California. With the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s, PDF changed focus. Instead of thinking of peace as the absence of war, the Foundation began to see peace as “the presence of equitable relationships among people, nations, and the environment.” Since that time, PDF has developed a new perspective on peacework, one centered on fostering social, environmental, and economic justice.

The records of the Peace Development Fund consist chiefly of grant-making files documenting the many organizations that submitted and received awards. Also included is a nearly complete run of PDF’s annual reports, newsletters, and other publications, which together offer a full picture of the foundation’s funding and programmatic history. Exchange Project files record PDF’s efforts to provide training, not just money, to organizations lacking the skills necessary for effective fund-raising, strategic planning, instituting sound organizational structures, and dismantling racism.


  • Antinuclear movement
  • Charitable uses, trusts, and foundations--United States
  • Peace movements--United States
  • Social change--United States
  • Social justice--United States


  • Peace Development Fund

People for Economic Survival

People for Economic Survival Records, 1974-1977.

3 boxes (1.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 535

Established in October 1974, People for Economic Survival (PES) was a Socialist group based in Northampton, Massachusetts, first organized with the short-term goal of pressuring local banks to sell food stamps. The group’s vision for the longer term, however, was to stimulate change that would result in the replacement of an economy based on corporate profit with one based on people’s needs. After two and half years of community activity, including working for lower utility rates and against cutbacks in welfare, human services, and unemployment benefits, PES disbanded.

The PES collection consists of flyers, meeting minutes, and a full run of Take It, the group’s newsletter.


  • Food stamps--Massachusetts
  • Northampton (Mass.)--Economic conditions
  • Northampton (Mass.)--History
  • Public welfare--Law and legislation--Massachusetts
  • Socialism--Massachusetts
  • Unemployment--Massachusetts


  • People for Economic Survival

Pioneer Valley Activists

Pioneer Valley Activist Collection, 2000-2007.

2 boxes (1 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 474

Collection of posters and newspaper clippings documenting the work of activists throughout the Pioneer Valley. Although the bulk of the materials relate to protests against the war in Iraq, other issues include rallies and protests at UMass, revival of SDS, the Valley Anarchist Organization, and pro-union demonstrations.


  • Political activists--Massachusetts
  • Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)

Pyle, Christopher H.

Christopher Pyle Papers, ca.1970-1985.

20 boxes (30 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 545

As an army captain teaching constitutional law at the U.S. Army Intelligence School in Fort Holabird, Maryland during the late 1960s, Christopher Pyle learned about the army’s domestic spying operation that targeted antiwar and civil rights protesters. Disclosing his knowledge about that surveillance in 1970 in two award-winning articles, Pyle led the fight to end the military’s domestic spying program by testifying before three Congressional committees. Currently a professor of politics at Mount Holyoke College, Pyle continues to write about civil liberties and rights to privacy focusing his attention now on the Patriot Act and the detention of aliens and citizens without trial.

Documenting Pyle’s investigation into the military domestic spying operation, the collection consists of court transcripts, telephone logs, surveillance binders, correspondence, research notes, and news clippings.


  • Civil rights--United States
  • Military intelligence
  • Military surveillance--United States

Radical Student Union (RSU)

Radical Student Union Records, 1905-2006 (Bulk: 1978-2005).

22 boxes (14.5 linear feet).
Call no.: RG 045/80 R1

Founded by Charles Bagli in 1976, the Revolutionary Student Brigade at UMass Amherst (later the Radical Student Union) has been a focal point for organization by politically radical students. RSU members have responded to issues of social justice, addressing both local, regional, and national concerns ranging from militarism to the environment, racism and sexism to globalization.

The RSU records document the history of a particularly long-lived organization of left-leaning student activists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Beginning in the mid-1970s, as students were searching for ways to build upon the legacy of the previous decade, the RSU has been a constant presence on campus, weathering the Reagan years, tough budgetary times, and dramatic changes in the political culture at the national and state levels. The RSU reached its peak during the 1980s with protests against American involvement in Central America, CIA recruitment on campus, American support for the Apartheid regime in South Africa, and government-funded weapons research, but in later years, the organization has continued to adapt, organizing against globalization, sweatshops, the Iraq War, and a host of other issues.


  • Anti-apartheid movements--Massachusetts
  • Central America--Foreign relations--United States
  • College students--Political activity
  • Communism
  • El Salvador--History--1979-1992
  • Guatemala--History--1945-1982
  • Iraq War, 2003-
  • Nicaragua--History--1979-1990
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • Persian Gulf War, 1991
  • Political activists--Massachusetts--History
  • Racism
  • Socialism
  • Student movements
  • United States--Foreign relations--Central America
  • United States. Central Intelligence Agency
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst


  • Progressive Student Network
  • Radical Student Union
  • Revolutionary Student Brigade

Types of material

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