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Henderson, Elizabeth, 1943-

Elizabeth Henderson Papers
1966-2011
10 boxes (15 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 746
Image of

A farmer, activist, and writer, Elizabeth Henderson has exerted an enormous influence on the movement for organic and sustainable agriculture since the 1970s. Although Henderson embarked on an academic career after completing a doctorate at Yale on the Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky in 1974, by 1980, she abandoned academia for Unadilla Farm in Gill, Mass., where she learned organic techniques for raising vegetables. Relocating to Rose Valley Farm in Wayne County, NY, in 1989, she helped establish Genesee Valley Organic CSA (GVOCSA), one of the first in the country, and she continued the relationship with the CSA after founding Peacework Organic Farm in Newark, NY, in 1998. Deeply involved in the organic movement at all levels, Henderson was a founding member of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) in Massachusetts, has served on the Board of Directors for NOFA NY, the NOFA Interstate Council, SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) Northeast, and many other farming organizations at the state, regional, and national level, and she has been an important voice in national discussions on organic standards, fair trade, and agricultural justice. Among other publications, Henderson contributed to and edited The Real Dirt: Farmers Tell about Organic and Low-Input Practices in the Northeast and co-wrote Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community Supported Agriculture (1999, with Robyn Van En) and A Manual of Whole Farm Planning (2003, with Karl North).

Offering insight into the growth of the organic agriculture movement and the organizations that have sustained it, the Henderson Papers document Henderson’s involvement with NOFA, SARE, and the GVOCSA, along with her work to establish organic standards and promote organic practices. Henderson’s broad social and political commitments are represented by a rich set of letters from her work educating prisoners in the late 1970s, including correspondence with Tiyo Attallah Salah-El and John Clinkscales, and with the American Independent Movement in New Haven during the early 1970s, including a nearly complete run of the AIM Bulletin and its successor Modern Times.

Subjects
  • American Independent Movement (Conn.)
  • Community Supported Agriculture
  • Genesee Valley Organic
  • Northeast Organic Farming Association
  • Organic farming
  • Peacework Organic Farm (Newark, N.Y.)
  • Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program
Contributors
  • Clinkscale, John
  • Salah-El, Tiyo Attallah
Types of material
  • Newspapers

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

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

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

Lederle, John William, 1912-

John W. Lederle Papers
1947-1983 (Bulk: 1960-1970)
(32.5 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 003/1 L43
Image of John W. Lederle
John W. Lederle

John Lederle played a large role in shaping the Amherst campus as it looks today, transforming UMass Amherst into a nationally respected research university and “great public center for excellence in higher education.” Born in Royal Oak, Michigan, Lederle received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1942. Admitted to the Michigan Bar in 1936, he worked with a Detroit law firm from 1936 to 1940 before joining the political science department at Brown University from 1941 to 1944. He returned to the University of Michigan in 1944, filling a number of positions until 1960, when the University of Massachusetts elected him President. Under Lederle’s leadership, the Amherst campus enjoyed its greatest period of growth. From 1960 to 1970, student enrollment more than tripled and faculty salaries nearly doubled. The academic program expanded greatly, particularly at the graduate level, and under his watch, the university instituted an academic press, a public radio station, and collaborative arrangements between the local colleges. The University system also evolved in the Lederle years, with the establishment of the Boston campus in 1964 and the medical school in Worcester in 1962.

The Lederle Papers include professional correspondence, administrative records, subject files, committee notes, reports, and clippings; Extra-University records that document Lederle’s involvement and interactions with governmental and non-governmental organizations at the state, regional, and national levels; personal correspondence, speeches, bibliographies of his writings, biographical information, a transcript of an oral history describing his administration, and materials relating to his professional activities that followed his presidency; and a series of confidential records.

Subjects
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. President
Contributors
  • Lederle, John William, 1912-

Lerner, Steve, 1946-

Steve Lerner Papers
1994-2011
15 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 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, Edward M.

Edward M. Lewis Papers
1910-1936
6 boxes (2.5 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 003/1 L49

A one time baseball player, Edward M. Lewis was hired as a Professor of Language and Literature at the Massachusetts Agricultural College, serving as the College’s President from 1924 to 1927.

Includes personal and official correspondence primarily while Dean and President of Massachusetts Agricultural College, particularly with President Kenyon Leech Butterfield (1868-1935); administrative memoranda; student records; other records generated while Dean and President of MAC on such subjects as relations of the college with state officials, curriculum, purpose of the college, desirability of compulsory chapel, establishment of Jewish fraternities, and women’s education; also, transcripts of addresses, newspaper clippings, and biographical material. The collection includes nothing relating to Lewis’s baseball or teaching careers.

Subjects
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. Faculty
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College. President
Contributors
  • Lewis, Edward M

Machmer, William L.

William L. Machmer Papers
1899-1953
18 boxes (9 linear feet)
Call no.: RG 006/1 M33
Image of William L. Machmer
William L. Machmer

Enjoying one of the longest tenures of any administrator in the history of the University of Massachusetts, William Lawson Machmer served under five presidents across 42 years, helping to guide the university through an economic depression, two world wars, and three name changes. During his years as Dean, Machmer witnessed the growth of the university from fewer than 500 students to almost 3,800, and helped guide its transformation from a small agricultural college into Massachusetts State College (1931) and finally into the University of Massachusetts (1947).

Machmer’s papers chronicle the fitful development of the University of Massachusetts from the days of Kenyon Butterfield’s innovations of the 1920s through the time of the GI Bill. The collection is particularly strong in documenting the academic experience of students and the changes affecting the various departments and programs at the University, with particular depth for the period during and after the Second World War.

Connect to another siteView selected records on women's affairs at UMass, 1924-1951
Subjects
  • Agricultural education
  • Fort Devens (Mass.)
  • Massachusetts Agricultural College
  • Massachusetts State College
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dean
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Mathematics
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Baker, Hugh Potter, 1878-
  • Butterfield, Kenyon L. (Kenyon Leech), 1868-1935
  • Lewis, Edward M
  • Machmer, William L
  • Van Meter, Ralph Albert, 1893-
Types of material
  • Letters (Correspondence)
  • Student records

Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

Massachusetts Law Reform Institute Records
1966-1993 (Bulk: 1975-1985)
3 boxes (3.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 889

Founded in 1968, the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI) is a statewide non-profit poverty law and policy center. Their mission is to advance economic, racial, and social justice through legal action, education, and advocacy, specializing in large-scale impact litigation and policy reforms in a wide range of poverty law fields. The MLRI Housing Unit was involved in several cases attempting to protect low-income and minority housing in urban settings in Massachusetts in the 1980s. In a 1982 case, Olga Ramos et al. v. Ernest Proulx et al., nine minority residents of Holyoke and two Hispanic non-profit service agencies sued Mayor Proulx and the City of Holyoke for discriminatory practices related to disproportionately demolishing housing in low income and minority neighborhoods. In Boston, MLRI joined as council for the plaintiffs in a 1981 case, Viviana Munoz-Mendoza, et al. v. Samuel R. Pierce, Jr., et al., where South End residents sued the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), claiming federal funds were being used to racially desegregate their neighborhood when a HUD grant for the Copley Place development did not make a thorough study of the impact on residential integration or address a long standing desire for low-income housing on an adjacent site known as Tent City.

The MLRI Records consist of legal records, memos, correspondence, and strategy related to litigation for fair housing practice in the Holyoke and Boston cases, Ramos v. Proulx and Munoz-Mendoza v. Pierce. Newspaper clippings, city statistics and reports, and other documents stemming from the discovery portions of the cases are also abundant.

Subjects
  • Boston (Mass.)--History
  • Discrimination in housing--Law and legislation
  • Holyoke (Mass.)--History
  • Housing--Law and legislation
Types of material
  • Legal documents
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