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Du Bois and Mao Tse-Tung, 1959
Du Bois and Mao Tse Tung, 1959

The Department of Special Collections and University Archives and the Department of Afro-American Studies at UMass Amherst co-sponsor an annual colloquium to commemorate W.E.B. Du Bois. Timed to coincide with the anniversary of his birth (February 23), the departments invite a distinguished Speaker to discuss Dr. Du Bois’ life, work, and legacy.


20th Annual W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture, 2014
2014 Feb. 25. 4pm. Campus Center Auditorium, UMass Amherst
Performer: Brian Richardson and Pulse Ensemble Theatre
Title: “A Man for All Times: W.E.B. Du Bois”
Brian Richardson as W.E.B. Du Bois

This year’s Du Bois Birthday Celebration features performances of “A Man for All Times: W.E.B. Du Bois,” performed by the Pulse Ensemble Theatre. The one-hour one-man show of the 95-year-long life of W.E.B. Du Bois unfolds in a gripping performance by Brian Richardson, and a moving script by writer/director Alexa Kelly. Learn more about Great Barrington’s native son, civil rights leader, and visionary of equality and democracy at this free performance by Pulse Theatre Ensemble.

Additional free performances will be held on Saturday, February 22, 7:00 p.m., at Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and on Sunday, February 23, 10:00 a.m., at St. John’s Congregational Church, Springfield, Massachusetts.

19th Annual W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture, 2013
2013 Feb. 26. 4pm. Lower Level, W.E.B. Du Bois Library
Speaker: Arthur McFarlane II
Title: “The Life of W.E.B. Du Bois and Its Relevance to Today
Colorado Department of Public Health and Envrionment

McFarlane, the great-grandson of W.E.B. Du Bois, will discuss the legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois, civil rights activist, co-founder of the NAACP, and the first African American to receive a PhD from Harvard University.

Previous Du Bois Lectures:
2012 Feb. 23
Speaker: Derrick Alridge
Title: “Ideas Have Consequences: The Radical Pedagogy of W.E.B. Du Bois”
Professor in the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Derrick Alridge

Derrick Alridge is author of The Educational Thought of W.E.B. Du Bois: An Intellectual History, lead editor of Message in the Music: Hip Hop, History, and Pedagogy, and Distinguished Lecturer for the Association of the Study of African American Life and History. He is currently completing an intellectual history of Hip Hop as a social movement called The Hip Hop Mind: An Intellectual History of the Social Consciousness of a Generation (University of Wisconsin Press) and is conducting research for a book on the role of education in the civil rights movement.

An educational and intellectual historian, Alridge is associate editor of the Journal of African American History and served as Director of the Institute for African American Studies. Alridge’s areas of scholarship include the history of African America education, African American intellectual history and the history of ideas, and civil rights studies. His work has been published in the Journal of African American History, the Journal of Negro Education, and teh History of Education Quarterly, among others.

2011 Feb. 28
Speaker: Bettina Aptheker
Title: “W.E.B. Du Bois: Personal Stories/Political Reflections”
Distinguished Professor of Feminist Studies and History
University of California, Santa Cruz
Bettina Aptheker

Bettina Aptheker is Distinguished Professor of Feminist Studies and History at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she has taught for more than 30 years. Her most recent book is a memoir, Intimate Politics: How I Grew Up Red, Fought for Free Speech and Became a Feminist Rebel (2006). It contains many stories of her early friendship with W.E.B. and Shirley Graham Du Bois. Other major books include, The Morning Breaks: The Trial of Angela Davis (1976; 2nd edition, 1999); Woman’s Legacy: Essays on Race, Sex, and Class in American History (1982) and Tapestries of Life: Women’s Work, Women’s Consciousness, and the Meaning of Daily Experience (1989). She is the biographer of Shirley Graham Du Bois for Notable American Women, and is currently writing a critical essay on Graham Du Bois’ creative career as an opera composer, playwright, biographer, and novelist. She is also at work on a major research project: “Queering the History of the American Left: 1940s-1980s.”

2010 Feb. 25
Speaker: Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham
Title: “The Many Lives of W.E.B. Du Bois in the New From Slavery to Freedom
Victor S. Thomas Professor of History and of African and African American Studies
Harvard University
Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham

Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham has been chair of the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard since 2006. She also served as Acting-Director of Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute in the Spring 2008. A prolific author, she is co-editor with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., of the African American National Biography (2008)—a multivolume-reference work that presents African American history through the lives of people, and she and Gates also co-edited African American Lives (2004), which served as the forerunner to the AANB. Professor Higginbotham was the editor-in-chief of The Harvard Guide to African-American History (2001) with general editors Darlene Clark Hine, and Leon Litwack. She also co-edited History and Theory: Feminist Research, Debates and Contestations (1997).

Professor Higginbotham is the author of Righteous Discontent: The Women’s Movement in the Black Baptist Church: 1880-1920 (1993), which won numerous book prizes, most notably from the American Historical Association, the American Academy of Religion, the Association of Black Women Historians, and the Association for Research on Non-Profit and Voluntary Organizations. Righteous Discontent was also included among the New York Times Book Review’s Notable Books of the Year in 1993 and 1994.

2009 Feb. 26
Speaker: Howard Dodson
Chief of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
New York Public Library
Howard Dodson

A scholar, historian, educator, curator, consultant, and lecturer, Howard Dodson, has committed his professional life to the retrieval, preservation, interpretation, and dissemination of the history and culture of African and African American peoples.

Since 1984, Dodson has served as chief of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the world’s leading and most prestigious repository for materials and artifacts on black cultural life. Under Dodson’s leadership, the Schomburg Center has developed into the world’s most comprehensive public research library devoted exclusively to documenting and interpreting African diasporan and African history and culture.

Dodson’s books include Becoming American: The African American Journey (Sterling Publishing, Inc., 2009), In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience (National Geographic Press, 2004), Jubilee: The Emergence of African-American Culture (National Geographic Press, 2002), and The Black New Yorkers: Four Hundred Years of African American History (Wiley, 2000).

2008 Feb. 28: W.E.B. Du Bois and Ralph Ellison
Speaker: Arnold Rampersad
Department of English, Stanford University

A distinguished biographer and literary critic, Arnold Rampersad is the Sara Hart Kimball Professor in the Humanities and Professor of English at Stanford University. A scholar of race and American literature and the Harlem Renaissance, Rampersad has written books on W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, and most recently, Ralph Ellison. He has been elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and was a 1991 recipient of a MacArthur “genius grant.” He is a recipient of fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Professor Rampersad has recently published Ralph Ellison, a biography of the novelist (1914-1994). His other books include The Art and Imagination of W.E.B. Du Bois (1976); The Life of Langston Hughes (2 vols., 1986, 1988); Days of Grace: A Memoir (1993), co-authored with Arthur Ashe; and Jackie Robinson: A Biography (1997). In addition, he has edited several volumes including Collected Poems of Langston Hughes; the Library of America edition of works by Richard Wright, with revised individual editions of Native Son and Black Boy; and (as co-editor with Deborah McDowell) Slavery and the Literary Imagination. He was also co-editor, with Shelley Fisher Fishkin, of the Race and American Culture book series published by Oxford University Press. His teaching covers such areas as nineteenth and twentieth-century American literature; American autobiography; race and American literature; and African-American literature.

2007 March 9: The Unknown Du Bois: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Future of Black Studies in the Twenty-First Century
Speaker:James Turner
Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University
Poster (pdf)
2006: W.E.B. Du Bois and Martin Luther King
Speaker: Clayborne Carson
Stanford University, editor, Papers of Martin Luther King
Press release (pdf)

2005: The Enduring Greatness of the The Souls of Black Folk
Speaker: Robert Hill
UCLA, editor, Papers of Marcus Garvey
Press release (Word file)

2004: Du Bois and Bond: Black Education in the Age of Jim Crow
Speaker: John H. Bracey
Afro-American Studies, UMass Amherst

2003: Revisiting The Souls of Black Folk: A Centenary Celebration
Horace Clarence Boyer
Music, UMass Amherst
Esther Terry
Afro-American Studies, UMass Amherst
Phil Zuckerman, “Du Bois, Religion, and The Souls of Black Folk
Sociology, Pitzer College
David Blight, “A Poet’s Sense of the Past: The Souls of Black Folk as History”
History, Yale University
Ernest Allen, “The Education of Black Folk: The Educational Philosophies of W.E.B. Du Bois”
Afro-American Studies, UMass Amherst
Gerald Friedman, “Reconstructing the Color Line: The New Economics of Race in the Post-bellum South”
Economics, UMass Amherst

2002: Recollections of W.E.B. Du Bois in the McCarthy Era by His Friends and Colleagues
Esther Cooper Jackson
Co-founder, Freedomways
James Jackson
Editor, Daily Worker
Abbott Simon
Executive director, Peace Information Center and co-defendant with Dr. Du Bois

2001: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Problem of the Twenty-first Century
Speaker: David Levering Lewis
History, Rutgers University

2000: Du Bois’ Prophecy: The Color Line and Education at the Start of a New Century
Speaker: Ruth Simmons
President, Smith College

1999: Du Boisian Double Consciousness: The Unsustainable Argument
Speaker: Ernest Allen
Afro-American Studies, UMass Amherst

1998: Du Bois in Context
Speaker: Randolph W. Bromery
President, Springfield College and former Chancellor, UMass Amherst

1996: W.E.B. Du Bois
Speaker: David Levering Lewis
History, Rutgers University

1995: Celebration of Learning
David Du Bois
William Strickland
Michael Thelwell

1987: The Du Bois Legacy: Reflections on His Birthday
Speaker: Herbert Aptheker
Editor, Complete Published Works of W.E.B. Du Bois
Listen to a recording of Aptheker’s lecture.

Western New England Poetry Collection, 1977-2008

4 boxes (2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 561
Silkworm, 2007
Silkworm, 2007

Since 2004, the Florence Poets Society has been a hub of the poetry communities in Western Massachusetts, promoting the sharing, reading, and publication of works by its members. The group has sponsored outdoor poetry festivals, poetry slams, and readings and it has encouraged publication of poetry through its annual review, The Silkworm, and through chapbooks of its members.

Established in partnership with Rich Puchalsky and the Florence Poets Society, the Western New England Poetry Collection constitutes an effort to document the vibrant poetry communities in Western New England. The collection includes all forms of poetry, from the written to the spoken word, in all formats, but with a particular emphasis upon locally produced and often difficult to find chapbooks, small press books, unpublished works, and limited run periodicals. The collection is not limited to members of the Florence Poets Society, and additions from poets in Western New England are eagerly welcomed.


  • Poetry--New England


  • Florence Poets Society
  • Puchalsky, Rich

Edward H. Abbe Papers, 1828-2004

22 boxes (28.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 736
Ed Abbe in Bora Bora, 1987
Ed Abbe in Bora Bora, 1987

Born in Syracuse, N.Y., in 1915 and raised largely in Hampton, Va., Edward Abbe seemed destined to be an engineer. The great nephew of Elihu Thomson, an inventor and founding partner in General Electric, and grandson of Edward Folger Peck, an early employee of a precursor of that firm, Abbe came from a family with a deep involvement in electrification and the development of street railways. After prepping at the Rectory and Kent Schools, Abbe studied engineering at the Sheffield School at Yale, and after graduation in 1938, accepted a position with GE. For 36 years, he worked in the Industrial Control Division in New York and Virginia, spending summers at the family home on Martha’s Vineyard. After retirement in 1975, he and his wife Gladys traveled frequently, cruising both the Atlantic and Pacific.

Ranging from an extensive correspondence from his high school and college days to materials relating to his family’s involvement in engineering, the Abbe collection offers an in depth perspective on an educated family. An avid traveler and inveterate keeper, Ed Abbe gathered a diverse assemblage of letters, diaries, and memorabilia relating to the history of the Abbe, Peck, Booth, Gifford, and Boardman families. The collection is particularly rich in visual materials, including albums and photographs, depicting homes, travel, and family life over nearly a century.


  • Abbe family
  • Boardman family
  • Booth family
  • Electrical engineers
  • General Electric
  • Gifford family
  • Kent School--Students
  • Peck family
  • Rectory School--Students
  • Yale University--Students


  • Abbe, Edward H
  • Abbe, Gladys Howard
  • Abbe, William Parker
  • Peck, Edward F
  • Peck, Mary Booth

Types of material

  • Diaries
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Photographs

Tamas Aczel Papers, ca.1950-1994

18 boxes (26 linear feet)
Call no.: FS 031

Born on Dec. 1, 1921, to a middle class family, Tamas Aczel became affiliated with leftist politics in Hungary prior to the Second World War, joining the Party after. With degrees in literature from Peter Pazmany University (BA 1948) and Eotvos Lorent University (MA 1950), Aczel quickly established a reputation as a literary talent, publishing seven novels and winning the Kossuth Prize (1949) and Stalin Prize for Literature (1952). During this period, he became disenchanted with the Communist government and during the short-lived rebellion in 1956, he served as press secretary for Prime Minister Imre Nagy. When Nagy was deposed, Aczel escaped through Yugoslavia to Austria and then England. In 1966, he was invited to teach modern European literature at UMass, where he became Director of the MFA program (1978-1982). Aczel died in 1994, leaving his wife Olga A. Gyarmati (an Olympic gold medalist in the long jump, 1948) and son Thomas.

The Aczel collection consists primarily of numerous drafts of several novels, including The Hunt (1990), Illuminations (1981), and Ice Age (1965), along with other writing, translations, some student essays, and autobiographical material. Some material is in Hungarian.


  • Authors--Massachusetts
  • Poets--Massachusetts
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English


  • Aczel, Tamas
Founders of the Niagara Movement, ca.1905
Founders of the Niagara Movement, ca.1905

The acquisition of the papers of W.E.B. Du Bois in 1972 established SCUA as a center for research in African American history. In subsequent years, UMass has supported publication of three volumes of Du Bois’ correspondence and SCUA has digitized the papers and made them freely available on the internet while serving as a resource for many dozens of scholarly articles and books. SCUA continues in its efforts to build around the Du Bois collection, adding other important printed and manuscript materials both in African American history and in the history of efforts to promote social change.

Every February, SCUA and the Du Bois Department of Afro-Americans Studies at UMass Amherst commemorate Du Bois’s birthday by co-sponsoring a public colloquium on Du Bois and his legacy. Our lecturers have included distinguished scholars such as Herbert and Bethina Aptheker, Randolph Bromery, Clayborne Carson, Arnold Rampersad, and David Levering Lewis.

Significant collections (view all)

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Timothy Allman Papers, 1976-1983

5 boxes (2.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 060

Journalist, news editor, and author of Unmanifest Destiny: Mayhem and Illusion in American Foreign Policy — From the Monroe Doctrine to Reagan’s War in El Salvador (1984).

Includes notes on observations and interviews, background material including press releases, reports, transcripts of speeches and congressional committee hearings testimony, and articles and pamphlets that concern El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, Belize, and Panama, and focus on the Church, guerrillas, dissent, terrorism, and foreign policies of presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.


  • Central America--Foreign relations--United States
  • El Salvador--History--1979-1992
  • Guatemala--History--1945-1982
  • Honduras--History--1982-
  • Nicaragua--History--1979-1990
  • United States--Foreign relations--Central America


  • Allman, Timothy

Alternative Energy Coalition, ca.1975-1985

9 boxes (13.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 586

A product of the vibrant and progressive political culture of western Massachusetts during the early 1970s, the Alternative Energy Coalition played a key role in the growth of antinuclear activism. In 1974, the AEC helped mobilize support for Sam Lovejoy after he sabotaged a weather tower erected by Northeast Utilities in Montague, Mass., in preparation for a proposed nuclear power plant, and they helped organize the drive for a referendum opposing not only the proposed plant in Montague, but existing plants in Rowe, Mass., and Vernon, Vt. Forming extensive connections with other antinuclear organizations, the AEC also became one of the organizations that united in 1976 to form the Clamshell Alliance, which made an art of mass civil disobedience.

The AEC Records provide insight into grassroots activism of the 1970s and 1980s, galvanized by the seemingly unrestrained growth of the nuclear power industry. The records, emanating from the Hampshire County branch, contain both research materials used by the AEC and organizational and promotional materials produced by them, including publications, minutes of meetings, correspondence, and materials used during protests. Of particular interest are a thick suite of organizational and other information pertaining to the occupation of the Seabrook (N.H.) nuclear power plant in 1979 and minutes, notes, and other materials relating to the founding and early days of the Clamshell Alliance. The collection is closely related to the Antinuclear Collection (MS 547).


  • Antinuclear movement--Massachusetts
  • Hampshire County (Mass.)--History
  • Nonviolence--Massachusetts
  • Nuclear energy--Massachusetts
  • Pacifists--Massachusetts
  • Political activists--Massachusetts
  • Renewable energy source
  • Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant (N.H.)
  • Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station


  • Alternative Energy Coalition
  • Clamshell Alliance

Types of material

  • Realia

ACWA New England Joint Board Records, 1939-1976

1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 193

Organized in Chicago in 1914, the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America was formed after a split in the United Garment Workers, and quickly became the dominant force for union in the men’s clothing industry. Within a decade of its founding, ACWA had more than 100,000 members across the U.S. and Canada.

Records of the New England Joint Board of ACWA consist of general correspondence, membership lists, press releases, and collective bargaining files for companies such as Arlan’s Department Stores, Bedford Shirtmakers Corporation, Ethan Ames Company, Holyoke Shirt Company, Lawrence Clothing Company, and Whitney Shirt Company.


  • Clothing trade--Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Textile industry--Massachusetts
  • Textile workers--Labor unions--New England


  • Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. New England Joint Board

Amelia Earhart’s Underground Flying Society Records, 1986-2000

1 folder, 1 audiocassette, 1 VHS tape (.2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 940
Amelia Earhart’s Underground Flying Society logo

Amelia Earhart’s Underground Flying Society, (a.k.a. the Amelia’s) was a lesbian social club based out of Lebanon, N.H., serving the Upper Valley area of Vermont and New Hampshire, and beyond. Reachable via an unnamed post-office box, the club began in 1979 and provided members not only with much sought after social, leisure, and entertainment opportunities, but also a unique community of peers for discussion and activities around political, educational, health, and legal issues of importance to women and lesbians. Like their famous namesake, the Amelia’s did not shy away from risks in supporting women, the feminist movement, or actions promoting and educating about lesbians. The group often overlapped with feminist and lesbian print shop and publishing company, New Victoria Press, and the Amelia’s often used the New Vic building for their meetings.

The Amelia Earhart’s Underground Flying Society Records consist of over 25 issues of the “Amelia’s Newsletter” from 1986-2000; two clippings covering news related to the group, including the repeated vandalization of their “Upper Valley Lesbians” Adopt-A-Highway Program sign; a 1994 audiocassette of interviews for an oral history of the Amelia’s; and a VHS tape of a community event held in 2003 to reflect on the women’s movement in the Upper Valley in the 1970s and 1980s. The newsletter offers detailed documentation of the group and their concerns, including calendars of their social gatherings and other local, regional, and national events of interest, and recaps of relevant news to the lesbian community including updates about politics, legal issues, civil rights and benefits, marriage, discrimination cases, women’s health, education and school issues, and lesbian focused social and entertainment events.


  • Feminism--New England--History
  • Lesbian community--New England
  • Lesbian community--New Hampshire
  • Lesbian community--Vermont


  • Dingman, Beth

Types of material

  • Audiocassettes
  • Newsletters
  • VHS

American History Workshop Records, 1980-2016

42 boxes (63 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 922

Founded by Richard Rabinowitz in 1980, American History Workshop is a consortium of historians, designers, and filmmakers who promote public understanding of history through innovative exhibition and interpretation. Collaborating with a national roster of clients, the AHW provides consultation and assistance in developing, designing, and installing exhibitions that convey current historical scholarship and pedagogical practice for the public. Their exhibits have explored a wide array of critical themes in American history, including slavery, civil rights, and social justice; Constitutional and political history; immigration; urbanization; and labor history. In recent years, they have expanded their operations to include services such as audience analysis, media production, fund raising assistance, and organizational development.

The records of the American History Workshop document over three decades of work by one of the premier firms in historical exhibition and interpretation. The collection contains detailed records of nearly 600 projects prepared in collaboration with organizations ranging from the New-York Historical Society and Arizona Historical Society to the Smithsonian, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.


  • Exhibitions
  • Public history


  • Rabinowitz, Richard
  • Singer, Michael
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