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Black Mass Communications Project

Black Mass Communications Project Collection

ca.1970-1985
10 boxes 15 linear feet
Call no.: RG 045/30 B4

The Black Mass Communications Project was founded as an educational and informational outlet for Black students at UMass Amherst in 1968 and authorized in the following year as a Registered Student Organization. Over the years, BCMP played varied roles on campus, hosting cultural events, lectures, workshops, and social gatherings as to help keep black music alive. Many of its early members were also affiliated with the student radio station WMUA, and throughout the 1970s, the organization played a prominent role in providing programming to the station, offering programming highlighting African American music and current affairs.

The BCMP collection consists of many dozens of reel to reel audiotapes of radio broadcasts aired over WMUA during the 1970s and early 1980s by and for the university’s African American community. Included is a range of locally-produced public affairs, cultural, and music programming, with some content licensed from around the country. A few of the tapes are associated with the Five College’s National Public Radio affiliate, WFCR.

Subjects
  • African American college students
  • African American music
  • College radio stations--Massachusetts
  • WFCR (Radio station : Amherst, Mass.)
  • WMUA (Radio station : Amherst, Mass.)
Types of material
  • Sound recordings

Bond, Horace Mann, 1904-1972

Horace Mann Bond Papers

1830-1979
169 boxes 84.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 411
Image of Horace Mann Bond, ca.1930
Horace Mann Bond, ca.1930

Educator, sociologist, scholar, and author. Includes personal and professional correspondence; administrative and teaching records; research data; manuscripts of published and unpublished speeches, articles and books; photographs; and Bond family papers, especially those of Horace Bond’s father, James Bond. Fully represented are Bond’s two major interests: black education, especially its history and sociological aspects, and Africa, particularly as related to educational and political conditions.

Correspondents include many notable African American educators, Africanists, activists, authors and others, such as Albert C. Barnes, Claude A. Barnett, Mary McLeod Bethune, Arna Bontemps, Ralph Bunche, Rufus Clement, J.G. St. Clair Drake, W.E.B. Du Bois, Edwin Embree, John Hope Franklin, E. Franklin Frazier, W.C. Handy, Thurgood Marshall, Benjamin E. Mays, Pauli Murray, Kwame Nkrumah, Robert Ezra Park, A. Phillip Randolph, Lawrence P. Reddick, A.A. Schomburg, George Shepperson, Carter G. Woodson and Monroe Work.

Subjects
  • Africa--Description and travel
  • African American educators
  • African Americans--Education--History--20th century
  • American Society of African Culture
  • Atlanta University
  • Dillard University
  • Fort Valley State College
  • International African American Corporation
  • Julius Rosenwald Fund
  • Lincoln University
  • Race relations--United States
Contributors
  • Barnes, Albert C. (Albert Coombs), 1872-1951
  • Bond, Horace Mann, 1904-1972
  • Bond, James, 1863-1929
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963
  • Nkrumah, Kwame, 1909-1972
Types of material
  • Photographs

Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage

Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage Records

1998-1999
8 boxes 12 linear feet
Call no.: MS 758
Image of Landing at Havana, Cuba, Nov. 24, 1998
Landing at Havana, Cuba, Nov. 24, 1998

Organized at the New England Peace Pagoda in Leverett, Mass., the Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage was a twelve-month walk through the eastern United States, the Caribbean, Brazil, West Africa, and South Africa in 1998-1999, reversing the direction of the Middle Passage symbolically and geographically. A “living prayer of the heart, mind, and body for the sons and daughters of the African Diaspora,” the Pilgrimage was intended by the participants to contribute to a process of healing the wounds inflicted by hundreds of years of slavery and racial oppression. Along the way, participants visited sites associated with the history of slavery, from slaves quarters in Virginia to stations on the Underground Railroad and villages that had been raided in Africa, offering prayers for those who had suffered under slavery and commemorating the dignity of those held in bondage and those who resisted.

Chronicling the course of the Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage from conception to conclusion, this collection contains a rich textual and visual record of a spiritual approach to addressing the legacy of slavery in the Americas. The collection includes the range of materials collected by participants during the Pilgrimage, including lists of reading materials, information on the sites visited, a handful of mementoes and souvenirs, some correspondence, and notes and photographs taken along the way.

Subjects
  • Pilgrims and pilgrimages
  • Slavery--History
Types of material
  • 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 alleged sale of marijuana, Levasseur became convinced that revolutionary action was a “necessary step in defeating the enemy — monopoly Capitalism and its Imperialism expression.” As 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 spent over twenty years of a 45 year sentence in supermax prisons, much of the time 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, Armed Clandestine Movement, 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 trials of UFF members and the Ohio 7 seditious conspiracy case, 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

Lewis, David L., 1936-

David Levering Lewis Papers

ca.1955-2012
54 boxes 81 linear feet
Call no.: MS 827
Image of David Levering Lewis
David Levering Lewis

The historian David Levering Lewis is the author of eight remarkably diverse monographs. Raised in an academic family, his father was president of Morris Brown College, Lewis enrolled at Fisk University at the age of 15 and was only 26 when he was awarded a doctorate in modern European history from the London School of Economics (1962). Through an academic career that has included numerous stops, including Morgan State, Notre Dame, Howard, the University of the District of Columbia (1970-1980), and Rutgers (1985-2003), Lewis remained consistently productive. Author of the first academic biography of Martin Luther King (1970) and a history of the Dreyfus Affair (1974), he wrote an influential study of the Harlem renaissance (1981) and important works on colonialism in Africa (1987) and Islamic Spain (2008), but he is best known for his two monumental biographies of W.E.B. Du Bois (1993, 2000), each of which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. One of the most lauded African American historians of his generation, Lewis was recipient of the Bancroft Prize, the Francis Parkman Prizes, the 2009 National Humanities Medal, and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and he was elected as a Fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. Lewis was Julius Silver University Professor in History at New York University from 2003 until his retirement.

The papers of David Levering Lewis document a long and productive career as an academic historian and scholar of African American history and culture. Beginning with his years in college and graduate school, the collection offers a rich perspective on the evolution of his career. Lewis’s essential biographies of W.E.B. Du Bois are particularly well documented, however the collection includes abundant materials for each of his earlier projects, including correspondence, research notes, and drafts.

Subjects
  • African Americans--History
  • Colonies--Africa--History
  • Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963
  • Harlem Renaissance
  • Historians--United States
  • King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968
  • United States--History--20th century
Types of material
  • Photographs

Primus, Pearl

Pearl Primus Collection

1995-2006
3 boxes 1.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 912

A pioneer of African dance in the United States and a vital scholarly voice, Pearl Primus burst onto the scene in the early 1940s as a choreographer, performer, composer, and teacher. Born in Trinidad in 1919 and raised in New York City, Primus was introduced to performance through the National Youth Administration and the New Dance Group. Her interest in the dance cultures of Africa and the African diaspora formed the conceptual center of her work throughout her career, drawing upon her deep scholarly research. In addition to her creative work, Primus earned a doctorate in anthropology from NYU and taught at a number of universities, including the Five Colleges. She died in New Rochelle, N.Y., in October 1994.

Conducted with Pearl Primus’ fellow dancers, musicians, friends, and collaborators between 1995 and 2005, the interviews comprising this collection were recorded by Peggy and Murray Schwartz for use in their book, The Dance Claimed Me: A Biography of Pearl Primus (New Haven, 2011). The oral histories provide insights into Primus’s sometimes controversial life career, her performances, teaching, and legacy.

Gift of Peggy and Murray Schwartz, Dec. 2013
Subjects
  • Choreographers
  • Dance--Africa
  • Dancers
Contributors
  • Nash, Joe, 1919-2005
  • Washington, Donald
Types of material
  • Audiocassettes
  • Betacam-SP
  • Videotapes

Ryan, Christina

Christina Ryan Collection

ca.1978-1995
15 boxes 8 linear feet
Call no.: MS 523

The collection includes publications, ephemera, periodicals, and other communications from a range of radical groups. Much of the collection relates to the sedition trial of Raymond Luc Levasseur and the Ohio Seven, but ranges into related topics, including political prisoners, Communist and revolutionary action, Puerto Rican independence, African liberation movements, and anti-Klan and antiracist activity. It is organized into six series: Ohio Seven (3 boxes), Political Prisoners (2 boxes), John Brown Anti-Klan Committee (1 box), Subject Files (5 boxes), and Radical Periodicals (4 boxes).

Gift of Christina Ryan, Nov. 2006
Subjects
  • Activists--Massachusetts
  • African Americans--Civil rights
  • Anti-imperialist movements--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Black Power
  • Communism--United States--History
  • Levasseur, Raymond Luc
  • Political activists--Massachusetts
  • Political prisoners--United States
  • Racism
  • Radicalism--United States
  • Revolutionaries--Puerto Rico
  • Sedition
Contributors
  • Ryan, Christina

Association for Gravestone Studies

Association for Gravestone Studies Book Collection

1812-2005
269 items 14 linear feet
Call no.: RB 004

Founded in 1977, the Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS) is an international organization dedicated to furthering the study and preservation of gravestones. Based in Greenfield, Mass., the Association promotes the study of gravestones from historical and artistic perspectives. To raise public awareness about the significance of historic gravemarkers and the issues surrounding their preservation, the AGS sponsors conferences and workshops, publishes both a quarterly newsletter and annual journal, Markers, and has built an archive of collections documenting gravestones and the memorial industry.

The AGS Books Collection contains scarce, out of print, and rare printed works on cemeteries and graveyards, epitaphs and inscriptions, and gravemarkers, with an emphasis on North America. The AGS Books Collection also includes the AGS publication, Markers. The collection is divided into three series: Series 1 (Monographs and Offprints), Series 2 (Theses and Dissertations), and Series 3 (Markers).

Subjects
  • Cemeteries
  • Epitaphs
  • Gravestones
Contributors
  • Association for Gravestone Studies

Chamberlin, Judi, 1944-2010

Judi Chamberlin Papers

ca.1970-2010
38 boxes 57 linear feet
Call no.: MS 768
Image of Judi Chamberlin, 2000
Judi Chamberlin, 2000

A pioneer in the psychiatric survivors’ movement, Judi Chamberlin spent four decades as an activist for the civil rights of mental patients. After several voluntary hospitalizations for depression as a young woman, Chamberlin was involuntarily committed for the only time in 1971, having been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her experiences in the mental health system galvanized her to take action on patients’ rights, and after attending a meeting of the newly formed Mental Patients’ Liberation Project in New York, she helped found the Mental Patients’ Liberation Front in Cambridge, Mass. Explicitly modeled on civil rights organizations of the time, she became a tireless advocate for the patient’s perspective and for choice in treatment. Her book, On Our Own: Patient Controlled Alternatives to the Mental Health System (1978), is considered a key text in the intellectual development of the movement. Working internationally, she became an important figure in several other organizations, including the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilition at Boston University, the Ruby Rogers Advocacy Center, the National Disability Rights Network, and the National Empowerment Center. In recognition of her advocacy, she was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities in 1992, the David J. Vail National Advocacy Award, and the 1995 Pike Prize, which honors those who have given outstanding service to people with disabilities. Chamberlin died of pulmonary disease at home in Arlington, Mass., in January 2010.

An important record of the development of the psychiatric survivors’ movement from its earliest days, the Chamberlin Papers include rich correspondence between Chamberlin, fellow activists, survivors, and medical professionals; records of her work with the MPLF and other rights organizations, conferences and meetings, and her efforts to build the movement internationally.

Gift of National Empowerment Center, 2012
Subjects
  • Antipsychiatry
  • Ex-mental patients
  • People with disabilities--Civil rights
  • People with disabilities--Legal status, laws, etc.
  • Psychiatric survivors movement
Contributors
  • Mental Patients Liberation Front
  • Mental Patients Liberation Project
  • National Empowerment Center
Types of material
  • Videotapes

Exhibits

Tulip poplar leaves
Tulip poplar leaf Arthur Mange Collection

Drawing upon the unique materials under their care, the staff of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives organize two to three exhibits a year in their reading room and work regularly with their colleagues in the general library to prepare other exhibits for display on the Lower Level of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library.

Current Exhibit

Brother David Steindl-Rast Papers

August 2017-January 31, 2018
Location: SCUA and Learning Commons, Du Bois Library

Brother David is one of the most important figures in the modern interfaith dialogue movement, leaving Mount Savior in the mid-1960s to study Zen Buddhism with Hakuun Yajutami, Shunayu Suzuki, and Soen Nakagawa. He was the first Benedictine to learn directly from Buddhist teachers and received Vatican support for his bridge-building work in 1967. When not in seclusion, Brother David has served as a teacher of contemplative prayer, the intersection of Zen and Catholicism, and gratefulness as a spiritual practice. Through many books and articles, lectures, and residencies in spiritual centers like Tassajara and the Esalen Institute, Brother David has developed an influential philosophy and much of the current popularity of mindfulness and Zen-influenced living and activism owes a debt to his teachings.

The Brother David Steindl-Rast Papers include Brother David’s extensive published and unpublished writings, sermons, memoirs, personal journals, correspondence, photographs, recordings, and videos of his teachings. His papers extend back to his youth in Vienna, documenting his childhood and experience during the war, including a complete run of Die Goldene Wagen, the children’s magazine published by Brother David’s mother Elisabeth Rast.

Future exhibits

W.E.B Du Bois at 150

Feb 1, 2018 – August 2018
Location: SCUA and Learning Commons, Du Bois Library

Scholar, writer, editor of The Crisis and other journals, co-founder of the Niagara Movement, the NAACP, and the Pan African Congresses, international spokesperson for peace and for the rights of oppressed minorities, W.E.B. Du Bois was a son of Massachusetts who articulated the strivings of African Americans and developed a trenchant analysis of the problem of the color line in the twentieth century.

Drawing from the rich and vast Du Bois Papers, containing the personal and professional papers of a remarkable social activist and intellectual, “W.E.B. Du Bois at 150” touches on all aspects of his long life from his childhood during Reconstruction through the end of his life in 1963. The exhibit reflects the extraordinary breadth of his social and academic commitments from research in sociology to poetry and plays, from organizing for social change to organizing for Black consciousness.

1968: Past, Present, Future

August 2018 – January 2019
Location: SCUA and Learning Commons, Du Bois Library

 

Exhibits online
Class of 1967 Memorial and Monuments Tour

Kenyon Butterfield

Highlights the rich legacy of alumni giving and participation on the UMass Amherst campus from 1867 to today. See the buildings, structures, monuments, plaques, gardens, sculptures, trees, and benches that tell the story of a century and a half of generosity. Exhibit courtesy of the Class of 1967; prepared by Cheryl Harned.

100 photos: Arthur Mange

Arthur Mange

Photographs from the collection of Arthur Mange.

Through the Photographer's Eyes

Photographs taken by Henry along with a rich array of related materials—speeches, press releases, brochures, and her personal notes—collected over the years, which document the political and cultural scene of the second half of the twentieth century

Photographer: Diana Mara Henry

Diana Mara Henry Photographs

Photographs from the collection of Diana Mara Henry. An exhibit by Chuck Abel.

E.D. Hudson

An examination of social reform and antislavery in Antebellum New England. An exhibit by Charles Weisenberger.

Rhetoric or Research

Rhetoric or research

interprets student protests against CIA recruitment at UMass Amherst during the 1980s through a selection of images taken by student photojournalists.
By Tom Hohenstein (ETHIR recipient, 2011).

Gordon Heath

A digital curriculum for teaching U.S. history using archival resources. An exhibit by Emily Oswald (ETHIR recipient, 2011).

Behold And See As You Pass By

I see dead people

An online exhibit on gravestones and mortuary art in Early New England drawn from the Association for Gravestones Studies Collections. By Molly Campbell (ETHIR recipient, 2011)

Robot reader

Science fiction readership in the Cold War and beyond. An exhibit by Morgan Hubbard.

Fifteen letters

Letters home

Conrad D. Totman’s letters home from Korea, 1954-1955. An exhibit by Alex McKenzie.

Du Bois photographs

An online exhibit on the life and legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois based on his papers.

Herbals and Insects

A scarab beetle

A selection of rare botanical and entomological books from the SCUA collections.

A bee

Books on bees and beekeeping. An exhibit by Richard A. Steinmetz.

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