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African American history

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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Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union. New England Joint Board

ACTWU New England Joint Board Records
1974-1987
8 boxes (12 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 241

Records of the New England Joint Board of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union include union administration files, company files, and publications. Company files document interactions between the union and companies such as Best Coat Co.; Healthtec, Inc.; Image Wear; M & M Pants Co.; Soloff & Son, Inc.; and Wear Well Trouser Co.

Subjects
  • Clothing trade--Labor unions--New England
  • Labor unions--New England
  • Textile workers--Labor unions--New England
Contributors
  • Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union

Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. Boston Joint Board

ACWA Boston Joint Board Records
1926-1979
(8 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 002

The Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America originated from a split in the United Garment Workers in 1914 and quickly became the dominant force for union in the men’s clothing industry, controlling shops in Boston, Baltimore, Chicago, and New York. The Boston Joint Board formed at the beginning of the ACWA and included locals from a range of ethnic groups and trades that comprised the industry. It coordinated the activities and negotiations for ACWA Locals 1, 12, 102, 149, 171, 172, 173, 174, 181,183, 267, and 335 in the Boston area. In the 1970s the Boston Joint Board merged with others to form the New England Regional Joint Board.

Records, including minutes, contracts, price lists, and scrapbooks, document the growth and maturity of the ACWA in Boston and the eventual decline of the industry in New England. Abundant contracts and price lists show the steady improvement of conditions for workers in the men’s clothing industry. Detailed minutes reflect the political and social influence of the ACWA; the Joint Board played an important role in local and state Democratic politics and it routinely contributed to a wide range of social causes including the Home for Italian Children and the United Negro College Fund. Minutes also document the post World War II development of industrial relations in the industry and include information relating to Joint Board decisions to strike. Minutes also contain information relating to shop grievances, arbitration, shop committees, and organizing. The records largely coincide with the years of leadership of Joseph Salerno, ACWA Vice President and New England Director from 1941 to 1972.

Gift of the New England Regional Joint Board, through Edward Clark, Nov. 1984
Subjects
  • Boston (Mass.)--Economic conditions--20th century
  • Clothing trade--Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Textile industry--Massachusetts
  • Textile workers--Labor unions--Massachusetts--Boston
  • Textile workers--Massachusetts--Economic conditions--20th century
Contributors
  • Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. Boston Joint Board
  • Salerno, Joseph, fl. 1907-1972
Types of material
  • Contracts
  • Financial records
  • Minutes
  • Scrapbooks

Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. New England Joint Board

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.

Subjects
  • Clothing trade--Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Textile industry--Massachusetts
  • Textile workers--Labor unions--New England
Contributors
  • Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. New England Joint Board

American Federation of Teachers. Local 1359 (Amherst, Mass.)

AFT University of Massachusetts Faculty Records
1963-1964
1 box
Call no.: MS 152 bd

The first faculty union at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) AFL-CIO, was established largely in response to the administration’s reluctance to recommend raises in faculty salaries (1958-1964) and due to the faculty’s desire for self-governance. The union was short-lived on the campus, but served to raise the consciousness of faculty to issues of faculty autonomy.

The collection includes historical sketches, memoranda, correspondence, resolutions, and treasurer’s reports.

Subjects
  • Collective bargaining--College teachers--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Collective labor agreements--Education, Higher--Massachusetts--Amherst
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
Contributors
  • American Federation of Teachers. Local 1359 (Amherst, Mass.)

American Revolution Documentary Collection

The American Revolution Documentary Collection
ca.1968-2010
Image of

On March 15, 1968, a failing classical music station, WBCN-FM, was reinvented as Boston’s first voice in radical underground radio, and its influence quickly spread nationally. Its characteristic blend of cultural chaos, including rock, folk, blues, and jazz, interspersed with news, radical politics, and community programming, provided a soundtrack for a generation fighting to remake its world. WBCN earned its nickname, “The American Revolution.” The station’s eclectic and unpredictable broadcasts included music from little-known performers who would emerge into the biggest acts of the day; regularly scheduled live musical performances from local clubs; trenchant political analysis and newscasts of the major events of the day; interviews with legendary cultural figures; and innovative new shows including one of the first women’s programs and the Lavender Hour, the nation’s first regularly broadcast LGBT radio show. Music, politics, culture, and community were intensely interconnected through WBCN, while its “listener line,” which took calls and answered questions on any subject, helped make it a virtual two-way hub for countercultural Boston.

While producing a documentary film about WBCN, and the music, politics, and social change during the period 1968-1974, former WBCN newscaster and announcer Bill Lichtenstein recognized the importance of archiving the wealth of primary materials that told the story of WBCN, its community and the dramatic changes of the era. The American Revolution Documentary Collection is the product of Lichtenstein’s energy, serving as an umbrella for a suite of interrelated collections focused on the impact of underground media in the Boston area and the profound social, political, and cultural changes of that time. These collections include the work of photographers, journalists, and writers who would go on to prominence, as well as activists, artists, and everyday people who witnessed and took part in an extended public conversation on the direction of our nation during the period of profound social, political, and cultural upheaval and who used media to help change it.

TAR collections include:

Selected recordings from the American Revolution Documentary Collection are available to stream through Airtime Pro, a web-based radio platform. ​Hear the music, news reports, ads, rare live musical broadcasts, station ID’s, interviews, zaniness, and more, as broadcast from WBCN-FM’s launch in 1968 and over the next seven years. You can listen using the player below or go directly to the Airtime Pro site, here: https://amrev.airtime.pro/

Subjects
  • Alternative radio broadcasting--Massachusetts
  • Boston (Mass.)--History--20th century
  • Cambridge (Mass.)--History--20th century
  • Nineteen sixties
  • Rock music
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
  • WBCN (Radio station : Boston, Mass.)
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Sound recordings

American Tour de Sol

American Tour de Sol Records
1989-2006
16 boxes (24 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 872

The Tour de Sol was created in Switzerland in 1985 to build awareness and support for solar electricity aka photovoltaics (PV) by demonstrating that they work and can power cars! The American Tour de Sol began four years later and ran for 18 years under the aegis of the Northeast Solar Energy Association (NESEA). In 1990, it evolved into an annual 8-day road rally in the Northeast that demonstrated that practical electric vehicles recharged by renewably-produced electricity were viable, and could cut urban air pollution and climate change emissions. In later years, at the insistence and with support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the event expanded to demonstrate all alternative fuel vehicles. The winners were determined by roadworthiness, driving range, energy efficiency (miles per gallon equivalent-MPGe), and low climate change emissions (carbon dioxide equivalent-CO2e). Vehicle categories encouraged entries made by major auto companies; entrepreneurs such as Solectria, and Solar Car Corp; as well as college, university, and high school student teams. In its final years, a Monte Carlo-style rally was added for new hybrid vehicle owners to demonstrate high mileage, and an electric bicycle category was added as well as an ‘Electrathon’ event to demonstrate non-auto options.

The American Tour de Sol collection includes annual Rule Books, magazines with full list of participants, reports, copies of 200-300 news clippings per year, videos of TV news coverage, and extensive collection of photographs, interviews, and videotapes documenting the Tour and its participants throughout its 18 years. After the Tour de Sol in Switzerland closed its doors, the American Tour de Sol changed its name simply to ‘Tour de Sol.’ For clarity, we have retained the word ‘American’ in the collection title.

Gift of Nanch Hazard, June 2015
Subjects
  • Automobile racing
  • Electric vehicles
  • Solar cars
Contributors
  • Northeast Sustainable Energy Association
Types of material
  • Photographs
  • Videotapes

American Watch Company. Band

American Watch Company Band Engagement Book
1878-1883
1 vol. (0.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 364

Band of musicians who worked at the Waltham Watch Company in Waltham, Massachusetts. Engagement book itemizes engagement dates and locations, and membership (including recent immigrants), and includes information about rehearsals, business meetings, and payment.

Subjects
  • American Watch Company--Employees--Recreation
  • American Watch Company--Employees--Social life and customs
  • American Watch Company--History
  • Brass bands--Massachusetts--Waltham
  • Industrial recreation--Massachusetts--Waltham
  • Waltham (Mass.)--Social conditions--19th century
Contributors
  • American Watch Company. Band
  • South Side Brass Band (Waltham, Mass.)
Types of material
  • Appointment books

Polish American Collection

Polish American Collection
1940s-2000
5 boxes (5.25 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 464

Collection documenting Polish American culture, language, and history consisting of newspapers and news clippings, programs for Polish religious and cultural events, newsletters of Polish American organizations, and Polish publications including religious works and language textbooks.

Subjects
  • Polish Americans

Rural American Women’s Conference

Rural American Women Conference Records
1978-1981
5 boxes (2.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 146

Feeling the frustrations of millions of women and girls in rural America who lacked the support or resources necessary to combat unemployment, inadequate medical care, and domestic violence, Jane Threatt along with several other women decided to form a non-profit organization that would unite these women and give them a national voice. Established in 1978, Rural American Women (RAW) was organized to promote the interests of rural women in the areas of equal rights, employment, education, family life, and freedom of all forms of discrimination.

In 1981 RAW held a series of five regional conferences throughout the country, and the bulk of this collection consists of records relating to the New England meeting. The records also include some materials documenting the group’s activities at their national headquarters in D.C., such as minutes, correspondence, newsletters, and pamphlets.

Subjects
  • Rural women
Contributors
  • Rural American Women
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