Collecting area: Social justice Page 6 of 11
Justice for Woody

Justice for Woody Records

1998-2005
3 boxes 1.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 444
Image of Rally against police brutality
Rally against police brutality

The organization Justice for Woody (JFW) was formed in December of 2001 in the weeks immediately following the death of Robert “Woody” Woodward, a political and environmental activist, social worker, teacher, and mountaineer. JFW seeks not only to honor Woody’s legacy, but also to advocate for a fair an independent investigation. The collection consists primarily of newspaper articles from various New England papers as well as Attorney General Sorrell’s Report and an independent analysis of it.

Subjects

  • Brattleboro (Vt.). Police
  • Law enforcemnet--Vermont
  • Police brutality--Vermont
  • Police discretion
  • Woodward, Robert, d. 2001
  • Wrongful death--Vermont
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
Kehler, Randy

Randy Kehler Papers

1978-1997
21 boxes 13 linear feet
Call no.: MS 396

A veteran of the peace movement and founder of the Traprock Peace Center (1979), Randy Kehler was active in the National Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign, the Peace Development Fund, and the Working Group on Electoral Democracy. Beginning in 1977, he and his wife became war tax resisters, withholding federal income tax to protest U.S. military expenditures, donating it instead to charity. As a consequence, their home was seized by the IRS in 1989, setting up a protracted legal struggle that resulted in Kehler’s arrest and imprisonment and the sale of the house. They remain tax resisters.

The Kehler Papers document the five year struggle (1989-1994) against the seizure and sale of the Kehlers’ home by the IRS. The collection includes meeting minutes, notes, correspondence, newspaper clippings; letters to the editor, essays, articles, plans and strategy documents for the vigil set outside the Kehler home; support committee information and actions; correspondence with government officials, the IRS, and the Justice Department; letters of support; documents from the legal proceedings; and political literature addressing the Kehlers’ situation.

Subjects

  • Activists--Massachusetts
  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
  • Argo, Ed
  • Colrain (Mass.)
  • Pacifists--Massachusetts
  • Peace movements--Massachusetts
  • Political activists--Massachusetts
  • Tax collection--Massachusetts--Colrain
  • Tax evasion--Massachusetts--Colrain
  • Tax-sales--Massachusetts--Colrain
  • Taxation--Law and Legislation
  • Traprock Peace Center
  • Valley Community Land Trust
  • War tax resitance--Massachusetts--Colrain
  • Withholding tax--Law and legislation
  • Withholding tax--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • Corner, Betsy
  • Kehler, Randy
  • Link, Mary
  • Mosely, Don
  • Nelson, Juanita

Types of material

  • Court records
  • Diaries
  • Legal documents
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Scrapbooks
Law and Society Association

Law and Society Association Records

ca.1964-2011
24 boxes 36 linear feet
Call no.: MS 769

Founded in 1964, the Law and Society Association is an interdisciplinary organization bringing together scholars interested in the place of law in social, political, economic and cultural life. Founded by Harry Ball, then based in Madison, Wisc., the association began publishing the Law and Society Review in 1966 and has held its first national meeting in 1975. The executive offices were located at UMass Amherst from 1987 to 2012 under the aegis or Ronald Pipkin of the Program in Legal Studies.

The records of the Law and Society Association include materials relating to former editors of the Law and Society Review, as well as early conferences and summer institutes. Among the notable figures in the field of sociolegal studies represented in the collection are Marc Galanter and Jack Ladinsky.

Subjects

  • Law--Social aspects

Contributors

  • Galanter, Marc, 1931-
  • Ladinsky, Jack
Laymen’s Academy for Oecumenical Studies (LAOS)

Laymen's Academy for Oecumenical Studies Records

1956-1976
22 boxes 11.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 020

An oecumenical ministry based in Amherst, Massachusetts, that sought to inspire local citizens to act upon their religious faith in their daily lives and occupations, and to reinvigorate religious dialogue between denominations.

Includes by-laws, minutes, membership records, news clippings, press releases, treasurer’s reports, letters to and from David S. King, correspondence between religious leaders and local administrators, and printed materials documenting programs and organizations in which the Laymen’s Academy for Oecumenical Studies (L.A.O.S.) participated or initiated, especially Faith and Life Meetings. Also contains questionnaires, announcements, bulletins, and photographs.

Subjects

  • Christian union--Massachusetts--History
  • Interdenominational cooperation--Massachusetts--History

Contributors

  • King, David S., 1927-
  • Laymen's Academy for Oecumenical Studies (Amherst, Mass.)

Types of material

  • Photographs
Lerner, Steve, 1946-

Steve Lerner Papers

1994-2011
22 boxes 22.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 673
Image of Diamond, La.
Diamond, La.

For decades, the writer Steve Lerner has been a significant contributor to public awareness of the issues surrounding environmental justice. Immersed in the environmental movement through his work as research director at Commonweal, a health and environment research institute founded with his brother Michael in 1976, Lerner earned wide recognition for his first book, Eco-Pioneers (1998), about “practical visionaries” who developed pragmatic solutions to environmental problems. In two subsequent books, Lerner turned to an examination of the impact of environmental toxins and industrial pollutants on low-income communities and people of color and the rise of grassroots opposition within those communities. In Diamond (2006), Lerner explored the impact of a Shell Chemical plant in Louisiana as a microcosm of the broader environmental-justice movement, and more recently, Sacrifice Zones (2010) traced the organization and resistance against industrial and chemical pollutants in a dozen communities in the eastern United States. In 2007, Lerner left his position at Commonweal, but continues his research and writing on environmental issues.

The research notes, interviews, photographs and other documentation comprising the Lerner collection form the basis for Lerner’s three major books.

Subjects

  • Environmental justice
  • Environmentalism

Types of material

  • Audiotapes
  • Photographs
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.)