Activism at the High School Level

Over the past six months, I have had the privilege of working to digitize the Alternative Press Collection (APC) here at the University of Connecticut Archives and Special Collections. While the APC contains publications created by all kinds of people that discuss all kinds of topics, a large portion of the collection focuses on activist movements during the 1960’s and 1970’s. I began working to digitize files from the APC after I graduated from UConn and have thus looked at a lot of different materials dealing with many different forms of activism. 

When studying the history of activism in the United States, a lot of sources will focus on the groups and movements that were either created by or largely consisted of young adults, particularly those in college. This is hardly surprising, given that college communities are most often structured in a way that encourages students to spend substantial amounts of time together and discuss current events, which often leads to like-minded individuals coming together over specific topics. College students also have easier access to resources such as printing which makes spreading awareness easier than it otherwise would be. When all these things are put together, they create a recipe for large activist groups that can leave behind tangible evidence of their activities and their beliefs. 

One branch of activism that is less frequently discussed, however, is high school activism. This is, again, not unexpected. High school students have access to fewer resources than their college-level counterparts and are often subject to more restrictions around where and when they’re able to assemble. But teenagers across the country have always been a part of activist movements. Within the Alternative Press Collection here at the UConn Archives and Special Collections, there are several different publications created by High School activists who had hoped to give students access to points of view other than what they might get from their parents and teachers, and to spread awareness of movements and events that they might not otherwise hear about.  

The different publications come from across the country and cover topics ranging from nationwide movements all the way down to local issues, from an investigation into the legal rights of American high school students to a discussion about an income tax versus a sales tax in Windsor, Connecticut. Some of these publications also claim that the administration at their schools have explicitly forbidden them from writing and publishing these articles, yet they have decided to do so anyway, despite the possible consequences. In an issue of ‘The Brick; A Really Heavy Paper,’ for example, an anonymous contributor describes the pushback this publication received from school boards and administrators in various schools in Nassau County, New York. 

“In one school, (we cannot mention its name in print) the Brick has been forced underground. Having been refused permission by the principal and distribution off campus is impossible we must do it in school. Our aim is to reach the students and we will do whatever is necessary to achieve this.”  

Publications like The Brick serve as important reminders that activism has no age limit. To see more examples of High School activist publications, follow this link to the Alternative Press Collection High School Publications folder.

Finding Primary Sources Online


With so many primary sources available online researchers don’t necessarily have to travel to an archives to find what they need. Academic and cultural heritage institutions have spent the last many years scanning large swaths of their collections and making them available in digital repositories, or have highlighted their collections in online exhibitions. Given the vast amount of primary sources held in the institutions’ physical spaces the resources that are available online are often just a drop in the bucket, but for many researchers the materials now available online have been as helpful as if they had made the trek to the research institution.

These databases are some of the best we know to provide primary sources to any researcher:

How to find archival materials in the UConn Archives:

The UConn Library digital repository holds holds scanned items from the archives. Note that while there are over 1,000,000 scanned items from the UConn Archives this represents only a small percentage of our overall collections: https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/

Information about all of our collections, some of which may be digitized but most of which are not in the digital repository: https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/ 

The UConn Library’s catalog, which provides information about published sources in the UConn collection but also leads to primary sources, at https://primo-pmtna01.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/primo-explore/search?vid=01UCT&lang=en_US

If you’re not finding what you’re looking for from the UConn Archives please contact us directly, at archives@uconn.edu, to discuss your research with our staff.

How to find sources in other archives in Connecticut:

The Connecticut Digital Archive has digital collections from dozens of cultural heritage institutions in the state (including the UConn Library), at https://ctdigitalarchive.org/

Connecticut Archives Online is a searchable database of the finding aids to collections in the state, at https://archives-library.wcsu.edu/cao/search/

Connecticuthistory.org, at https://connecticuthistory.org/, provides stories on Connecticut topics, often illustrated with archival sources.

Connecticut History Illustratedhttp://connecticuthistoryillustrated.org/

Connecticut State Library Digital Collectionshttp://cslib.cdmhost.com/index.php

Yale digital collections,  http://web.library.yale.edu/digital-collections and  http://web.library.yale.edu/digital-collections/all

How to find finding aids and research guides, with information about collections in the United States:

ArchiveGrid, which provides access to over 5 million finding aids of collections across the United States and internationally, https://researchworks.oclc.org/archivegrid/

Online Archive of Californiahttps://oac.cdlib.org/

How to find archival collections at archives in the United States:

The Digital Public Library of America provides access to digital collection across the United States, https://dp.la/. It also provides themed primary source sets and online exhibits at http://dp.la/primary-source-sets and http://dp.la/exhibitions. If there is any one source to go to for comprehensive information about digital collections this is it!

National Archives cataloghttp://www.archives.gov/research/catalog/, their resources for students and teachers, DocsTeach.org, and their online research tools: https://www.archives.gov/education/history-day/online.html

Smithsonian Institution, at https://library.si.edu/collections

The Library of Congress digital collections, at https://www.loc.gov/collections/ and their digital newspapers, at http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/

Digital Commonwealth, which provides access to digital collections in Massachusetts, https://www.digitalcommonwealth.org/

Calispere, of the University of California system, https://calisphere.org/

New York Public Libraryhttps://digitalcollections.nypl.org/

New-York Historical Society, http://digitalcollections.nyhistory.org/

Avalonhttp://avalon.law.yale.edu/ provides access to documents in law, history and diplomacy from ancient times to the present

The UConn Library has a guide to eResources available primary to members of the UConn community, https://blogs.lib.uconn.edu/news/new-eresources-at-the-uconn-library/

Published historical resources, which can often be used as primary sources:

HathiTrust— https://www.hathitrust.org/ — provides access to millions of historical books and journals online

Google books, https://books.google.com/

Research guides to help you get the most from primary sources:

Primary and Secondary Sources Overview, https://guides.lib.uconn.edu/primary

What is a Primary Source?, https://guides.lib.uconn.edu/primary_source

Latin American & Caribbean Studies Guide – Primary Sources, https://guides.lib.uconn.edu/lacarib/primarysources

Library Reflections: Cameran Kershner ’22

This reflection was written by Cameran Kershner ’22, who joined the UConn Library as a student employee in the Collections Strategy department and as an intern in Archives & Special Collections. Cameran will pursue graduate work in library and information science at the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s School of Information Sciences this fall.

In pursuance of my future career goals, this year I decided to seek out work experience in UConn’s very own Homer Babbidge Library as well as an internship in the Archives & Special Collections. At Homer Babbidge, I was hired as a collections assistant where most of my work was done with the Hathi Trust. The primary goal of the partnership was to take physical copies of books that we have here in the library and compare them page by page to the matching online scans in the Hathi Trust database. While it might seem like tedious work, the point of this job being done is to assure researchers and students that they are able to have the best quality materials available to them. As for my internship, I spent months pulling materials stored in our Archives to compile a research guide filled with sources about the Civil Rights Movement and the student activism surrounding this issue.  

Both experiences have familiarized me with the inner workings of library and archive systems such as how to read the categorization classifications for pulling materials and how to conduct thorough research. Since I primarily did most of my work individually, I have also learned how to manage myself as well as grow confident in my ability to problem solve. One of the most important skills I believe I learned was how to communicate effectively. In my internship I was constantly scheduling meetings to track my progress and reaching out to other professionals to ask for research suggestions. This taught me just how integral communication is to run a library efficiently. 

My interest in Library Sciences came about accidentally, as I was just doing a bit of research into the qualifications needed for law librarianship. Once I began to read into what it consisted of and just how many avenues could be opened to me by pursuing this degree, I grew quite passionate about it. The specific area that I hope to focus on is academic and public librarianship, as I feel strongly about working with people as much as possible. I think this is what I like best about both of my experiences – the ability it has to help people. I was able to provide scholars and students alike with the means to learn all while making it easier for them to do so. Knowledge is power, and the knowledge gained from accessing these resources could lead to new research discoveries and breakthroughs that help us understand the world around us better. 

What makes the world of library sciences so special to me is that no matter what profession you choose within its sphere, you are giving people access to unlimited information. We can use the materials the archives and libraries provide us to learn about the past, supply context to the present, and change the future.  

Resources for the Study of Student-Led Civil Rights Activism, 1960s-1970s

A project created by Cameran Kershner, UConn English Department Writing Internship, Spring 2022

Introduction

As the Civil Rights Movement gained momentum in the early fifties, a massive response followed in the form of black activist groups emerging across the country. There are famous faces that appear in history books such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, who have contributed enormously to the fight for equal rights. However, a large percentage of those who participated are the students who led protests on campuses across the country, carrying on the fight against systems of oppression in their own communities in order to create opportunities for equal representation, education, employment opportunities, and a fair future for all.

In an overview of what these sources have in common, each shows the intersectionality that’s present between the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, and the working-class struggle – showing how Black Americans were disproportionately affected by issues of racism, classism, and economic and academic disparities. They also show how students and the younger generations as a whole were becoming aware of these issues and how this inequality was playing out on their own campuses, and how they leveraged the privilege they had to advocate for a fair and equitable learning environment for students and faculty of color.

Here at UConn’s Archives & Special Collections, there are numerous resources that can help provide insight into the actions of both large and small organizations and what they have done for their communities. These sources are located in the Alternative Press Collection, home to many resources that document revolutionary and justice movements throughout time. What makes this collection special is that most of the materials were collected contemporaneously, or at the moment. Flyers that were pulled off of telephone poles or picked up at protest meetings, underground publications spread through word of mouth, and newspapers hot off the presses into students’ hands and held as a symbol of rebellion within UConn’s archives. If this unique look at the Civil Rights Activism interests you, below are a few sources that might help answer some of your questions:

General Resources of Civil Rights Activism: The Civil Rights Movement was a struggle for social justice that took place mainly during the 1950s and 1960s for Black Americans to gain equal rights under the law in the United States. To help battle racist injustice, organizations began to form across the country in order to make changes that benefit their communities. In an effort to provide context for the larger issues affecting African Americans during this time, UConn has many resources available that dive deeper into these larger organizations and their work to fight against oppression.

  • Black Panther Party: A newspaper published by the Black Panther Party that explains their ideas and values. It addresses the ten main points of the Black Panther Party, which include items like freedom, employment, housing, education, and police brutality. It also lists the six points of attention which are ways to avoid being brutalized by the police and how to perform within the Party while preserving their values. This resource can be found here: APC File, Black Panther Party, Black Panther Party
  • The Panthers: Communist Guerrillas in The Streets: A pamphlet promoted by the Black Panthers that lists all the officers within the Black Panther Party by name and position. It includes the Minister of Defense, Chairman, Minister of Information, Chief of Staff, and Minister of Culture. Each member included has a bio that explains what their position does to help further the message of the Panther Party. This resource can be found here: APC File, Black Panther Party, The Panthers: Communist Guerrillas in The Streets
  • Civil Rights Journal: United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice. A collection of newsletters from the 1990s penned by Benjamin F. Chavis, most significantly recognized as an assistant to Dr. Martin Luther King and the President of the National Newspaper Publishers Association. The newsletters document cases of civil unrest all around the country and are a call to action for the black community to join the fight for advancement in fair institutions. Some of the specific issues addressed in these letters include the Rodney King case, the downtick in employment opportunities for minorities, attacks against Asian-Americans in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, and the increase in violence against African American men. This resource can be found here: APC File, Civil Rights Journal, Civil Rights Journal: United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice

Student-Led Organizations: Racial injustice was an issue that was not localized to any one area, it spread across the country and was prominent in working, social, and academic circles creating tension between American citizens. Many people were outraged by these blatant acts of discrimination and felt compelled to do something about it, leading to protests in workplaces and schools. College students especially began to lead the way in bringing these issues to light, following the path of the famous activists before them to erect change on their campuses. UConn ASC has managed to gather sources that highlight the formation of campus activist groups, as well as the development of the network that made nationwide protests possible.

Students For A Democratic Society

  • Indict The US Government For Genocide: A pamphlet published by the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) claims that Nixon’s policies on education and unemployment are overtly racist and blame the African American community instead of the institutions in place. The authors break down the different foundations Nixon has put in place, namely the policies that urge the separation of white and black working classes in order to avoid their merging and increased the fight against classicist oppression. Other issues addressed include the distortion of black crime in the media, the below-average living conditions in black communities, racist academic publications, and police brutality. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #1, Indict The US Government For Genocide, 3rd Edition
  • SDS National Constitution: Leaflet that explains the creation of the Students for a Democratic Society and the values they hope to uphold. The publication goes on to include the eleven articles that make up the organization’s constitution, guidelines that explain the conditions of membership, university chapters, chain of command, and elected official positions. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, SDS National Constitution
  • Resolutions Passed at the SDS Convention: The June 1969 issue of the Students For a Democratic Society’s (SDS) newsletter, New Left Notes. While the publication addresses many issues, there are many sections that address black issues and liberation exclusively. The first section entitled The Movement Must Serve the People – The Schools Can’t points out how education systems are hesitant towards the black liberation movement, reacting to the teach-ins happening across the country negatively. The second section, Divide With Racism addresses how the government has created a narrative that frames black workers in a negative light to keep the working class racially divided. The third section, Smash Racism is a call for action to students across the country. It urges white students to advocate for their fellow oppressed peers and gives them tactics to help aid the fight. The fourth section, Less Talk, More Action goes into an in-depth reflection on how schools foster racist environments through classicist ideals. They target the working class by using their taxes to pay for University functions, they allow racist academic ideologies to be circulated around campus and have racist employment practices. The authors ask white students to protest these issues in order to help their fellow students. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, Resolutions Passed at the SDS Convention
  • SDS: Two GIs in the Struggle: An interview between a student reported and two Vietnam vets named, David Kline and Guy Smith. Both G.I.s are of different races, which has influenced their experiences while in Vietnam. Kline and Smith explain how racism was apparent within the companies, but the severity of the situation they found themselves in, formed a string of trust that exceeded prejudice. In terms of student activism, both G.I.s see it as a performative act. The students are coming from a place of privilege, as many soldiers didn’t get the chance to go to college themselves. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, SDS: Two GIs in the Struggle
  • Indict the Government for Racist Acts, Genocide: An issue of the SDS penned newspaper New Left Notes specifically focusing on the Miami Democratic Convention. While the whole newspaper does not center on Civil Rights matters, there are a few sections worth noting that address certain racist institutions perpetrated by the government. The authors call for the indictment of the American government for their acts of police brutality against black liberators. They suggest prison time for those who kill protesters and medical researchers who experiment on black men and women. They back up their claims of these crimes through the evidence of public administration programs such as welfare, medical insurance, school systems, and housing. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, Indict the Government for Racist Acts, Genocide
  • SDS Sends Racists Packing: A list of all the racist faculty members and scholars at universities across America and what the SDS has done for each situation to stop their spread of false information. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, SDS Sends Racists Packing
  • SDS Anti-Racist Teach-Ins: A pamphlet published November 5, 1973, by the Boston SDS that explains the rise in racist ideology and research from Professors, and how it relates to oppressing the working class and keeping them from joining forces. They provide examples of University students and faculty rising up against this by protesting, publishing exposes, petitions, banning certain literature, and holding teach-ins. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, SDS Anti-Racist Teach-Ins
  • Stop Government Racism: An SDS newspaper clipping from 1973 that speaks about American involvement in the Vietnam War. The fighting across the ocean has led to wage cuts and forced labor plans in the United States. The students and Universities fighting these issues are being urged to silence themselves from speaking out. The authors go as far as to compare the current situation in America as a police state or Nazi Germany. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, Stop Government Racism
  • Open Admissions: A proposal to the SDS Convention: A proposal brought to the SDS Convention in 1978 that asks for the stop of the exclusion of people of color in Universities. The adherence to this proposal will help fight racism and classism as well as allow activist groups to work together, all while bridging the gap between the white and black working classes. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, Open Admissions: A proposal to the SDS Convention
  • Fight Racism!: A pamphlet that chronicles the SDS members’ experience fighting racism. The first article talks about how schools like Harvard, San Francisco State, and Colombia all held protests in an attempt to bridge the gap between the white and black working classes that the wage gap had caused. The second article focuses on the SDS at Berkley and how they are drawing attention to the racist administration and faculty who have pushed racist academic materials in the curriculum. The third article critiques San Francisco State’s methods of protesting in order to determine what works and what fails during the protesting process. The final article touched on the protests going on at Yale against the administration in order to protect the workers employed on campus. The school had been engaged in racist hiring and firing practices, singling out black women, Latinx, and other non-white staff,  as well as paying low wages. The students emphasized the importance of standing in solidarity with the on-campus workers. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, Fight Racism!

Nationwide Student Effort Against Racism

  • Demonstration Inauguration Day Flyer: An informational flyer from Berkeley students in 1970 that protests the Vietnam War as it inhibits people of all ethnicities from fighting oppression in America. The handout also includes different workshops that address the issues of racism in the war, racism against farmworkers, and why students should be protesting the war altogether. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #1, Demonstration Inauguration Day
  • Born To Be Unemployed: A Critique of Richard Herrnstein’s “I.Q.”: A newsletter that was written by the University Action Group (UAG)  in a critique of Harvard psychologist Richard Herrnstein’s paper entitled “I.Q.” The article claims that victims of unemployment, low wages, and racism have no one to blame but themselves for their oppressed conditions. The paper also includes that African Americans have lower I.Q.s than other races. This was met with outrage as Harvard students and the UAG claimed this ideology is harmful and blatant racism, and even ask the University to consider Herrnstein’s termination. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #1, Born To Be Unemployed
  • “I.Q.”: In order to provide context for the critique of the article, researchers may want to read the original piece written by Richard Herrnstein. This specific copy of the article included footnotes at the bottom of each page disproving the scientific evidence provided by Herrnstein in his claims that the black working class is oppressing themselves due to having a lesser intelligence. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, I.Q.
  • Vietnam: A Racist War!: An informational flyer explaining why the Vietnam War is rooted in racism as the G.I.’s are taught to view Vietnamese as sub-human. It then approaches the subject of racism on the homefront and how white protesters have done nothing to stand in solidarity with the black protesters who suffer through police brutality when advocating for the same cause.  This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, Vietnam: A Racist War!
  • Fight Unemployment!: A demonstration flyer that talks about how the war has led to high unemployment rates and the government’s reframing of the issues to poise the black working class as insubordinate. The flyer urges both the white and black working classes to join together to fight the issues and lists the time and place of a demonstration that protests said issue. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, Fight Unemployment!
  • The Winning Way – Build The Worker-Student Alliance: A pamphlet that explains the fight between workers and employers due to wage cuts, long hours, and subpar working conditions. It advertises a protest to help bring awareness to these issues on March 20th (year unknown). The organizers also offer advisement for those who cannot protest by suggesting they help support the protesters by handing out flyers, bringing them food, and gathering money for the cause. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, The Winning Way
  • Fight Racist Unemployment; the U.S. Out of Southeast Asia: Another flyer advertising the March 20th protest, this one being held in Massachusetts. Explain Nixon’s policies causing a rise in joblessness (welfare and compensation not paying enough), which in turn affects people of color the most as they are the first to face the effects. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, Fight Racist Unemployment 
  • A Day Against Racism: A list of speakers for an organized event in 1973 at Boston University that includes different workshops to address racism in public institutions. This resource can be found here: APC File, Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #2, A Day Against Racism

University of Connecticut’s Activism: This collection offers insight into the University of Connecticut’s own participation in the anti-racist and anti-war movements happening at the time. Much of the fight was performed by the UConn chapter of the Students For a Democratic Society, a group that was responsible for a myriad of protests and concessions carried out by the University. The administration also actively worked hard to make the campus accommodating for all students with strict no-tolerance policies against discrimination. What we see with most of these sources is a form of continuous dialogue between students and faculty.

Student Organizations and Activism

  • The University of Connecticut: A Critical Approach: This is a teach-in program held at UCONN in 1966, that discussed the relationship between students, faculty, and administrators. It was meant to highlight the importance of the University’s contribution to the larger society. This resource can be found: APC File, Student Movements, and Demonstrations — Connecticut. University. [1965-1966], The University of Connecticut: A Critical Approach
  • Information Sheet and Issues: In the Professor Krimerman-McCarthy Case: This resource informs readers about the student and faculty protest in Wilbur Cross Library in an attempt to reunify the Anthropology Department after a huge rift caused by differing opinions on academic racism. The demonstration was met with resistance from President Ferguson, who called in the state police and held an open trial in an attempt to dismiss the protesters from their positions in the school. This exhibited the administration’s active attempts at silencing those who spoke out against racist school policies. This resource can be found: APC File, Student Movements, and Demonstrations — Connecticut. University. [1973-1976], Information Sheet and Issues: In the Professor Krimerman-McCarthy Case
  • Racism, Busing, and the Boston Schools: The notes and recorded information from a meeting held in UCONN’s Student Union on October 9, 1975, by the Committee Against Racism (CAR). The contents of the gathering included the racist attacks against young students in Boston carried out by the group called Restore Our Alienated Rights (ROAR). In 1974, they harassed a school bus full of young black students and campaigned against the segregation of schools. In response to these racist actions, CAR organized anti-racist parent-teacher associations, church groups, community groups, and its own members to oppose racist groups attacking children by 1975. The group also petitioned for more integrated schools, hiring of minority teachers, more bilingual education programs, and the impeachment of Lousie Hicks which gained over 35,000 signatures. This resource can be found: APC File, Student Movements, and Demonstrations — Connecticut. University. [1973-1976], Racism, Busing, and the Boston Schools
  • Connecticut Daily Campus: An excerpt from the May 9th, 1970 issue of the Connecticut Daily Campus that includes President Babbidge’s statement on minority groups at UCONN. The President makes it clear that improving the educational quality for minority students is at the top of his list, especially increasing the quality of financial aid and employment opportunities. Through the support of the University’s black community groups, implementation of supportive programs and extra funding, as well as the employment of more diverse faculty, it was reported that the admissions of minority students doubled. President Babbidge ended the statement by declaring this a national issue affecting academic institutions across the country and not just in the vacuum of Connecticut universities. This resource can be found: APC File, Student Movements, and Demonstrations. Connecticut. University. [1969 – 1970] #2, Text on President’s Statement – On Minority Groups
  • The Black United Front Newsletter: The first issue of a series of newsletters published by the Black United Front (BUF), a student-led organization at Michigan State University (MSU). A few issues touched upon in this newsletter are the newly elected officers within the club, the Jackson State murders that occurred in May 1970, and the implementation of a summer job program for black students at MSU. There is also an opinion piece penned by Barney Young, a state news reporter, who was critical of how the school’s administration handled the meeting of deciding the appointed officers within the BUF. Lastly, there are the results of a survey taken by black freshman and sophomore students in which they give their opinions about what the school can do to better support African American students. Where this resource can be found: APC, The Black United Front, The Black United Front Newsletter
  • UCONN Committee to Free Angela Davis: A flier created by a UConn committee hoping to free activist Angela Davis from imprisonment. It includes a statement by Davis talking about how the media is painting her to be a criminal and that she is being treated as an example to other revolutionaries. The flyer then explains that she is being charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping, due to her association with Jonathan Jackson, a man who disrupted a trial in California at gunpoint in order to free three black men. Where this resource can be found: APC File, UCONN Committee to Free Angela Davis, UCONN Committee to Free Angela Davis

Administrative Responses:

  • University of Connecticut Board of Trustees Minutes: A good source to gain perspective on the administration’s handling of the multiple protests throughout UCONN’s history, is the Board of Trustees Meetings. Every assembly held has exact conversations recorded, allowing readers to follow the Board member’s decision-making processes. A few topics discussed during these meetings were the expansion of financial aid for non-white students, the establishment of the African American Cultural Center, the allocations of funds to African-American clubs and organizations, and the proceedings that dealt with acts of racism on campus. Where this resource can be found: https://opencommons.uconn.edu/bot_agendas/  
  • The President’s Newsletter: An official statement given out by President Babbidge on October 13, 1969, addressing an incident that had occurred the night before. There was damage to property carried out by racist motivations, as indicated by the racial slurs accompanying the violence. The President made it known that racial attacks were not going to be tolerated in any capacity, going as far as to threaten police presence on campus if it no longer felt safe for non-white students. Also included is the appointment of  Dr. Frederick G. Adams as Ombudsman of the Committee for Racial Respect. In which he will receive complaints focused around racial matters and either hand out appropriate punishments himself or pass them up the chain of command. You can read more about the process of coming to this decision in the Board of Trustees Minutes linked above. Where this resource can be found: APC File, Student Movements, and Demonstrations. Connecticut. University. [1969 – 1970] #2, The President’s Newsletter (October 13, 1969)

Files Highlighted: If these selected materials have piqued any interest, and you would like to further research similar content, here are some folder highlights in the Alternative Press Collection so that you may find what you are looking for:

  • Students For a Democratic Society [Publications] Folder #1 and #2
    • If your research is focused specifically on the student aspect of protesting, these files are where I suggest you look. The Students for a Democratic Society or the SDS spent much of their time advocating for the rights of on-campus workers as well as the removal of recruitment officers from the university environment. While this guide was created around their work in the fight for racial equality, there are many materials within these folders that discuss protests for other issues as well. 
  • Student Movements, and Demonstrations. Connecticut. University. [1969 – 1970]
    • If it is specific issues that have happened at the University of Connecticut you are interested in, this file is where you’ll find the information about it. Most notably, the folder chronicles an incident on the university campus that involved racist language and damage to property. Included are meeting notes from the Board of Trustees that not only address the incident, but also the creation of the solutions that followed. There are also correspondences between the President and the students to keep them informed of his thoughts and what he had planned to do about the issues of racism on campus.
  • Student Movements, and Demonstrations — Connecticut. University. [1973-1976]
    • The premise of this folder is in direct succession to the 1969-1970 folder. It is filled with materials that notify students about the growing organizations to fight against racial inequality while simultaneously allowing inclusion for black students. A specific collection item that might grab your attention is a flier highlighting the establishment of the Black Women’s Collective. This was a club that allowed female black students a place to make friends and feel safe on campus.

Now Available – James Marshall recordings

K-Fai Steele, 2019 James Marshall Fellow, holding a cassette recording from the Francelia Butler papers.

Now available in the CTDA – a series of audio recordings of lectures delivered by author and illustrator James Marshall to Francelia Butler’s Children’s Literature course from 1976-1990. Marshall is best known for the George and Martha series of picture books. The recordings span 16 visits Marshall made to Dr. Butler’s class, and demonstrate with wit and humor Marshall’s thoughts on writing, illustration, the publishing industry, and creativity. Butler’s course became one of the largest and most popular courses at the University of Connecticut, in part because of the opportunity it offered students to learn from guest lecturers that included Madeleine L’Engle, Maurice Sendak, and Isaac Bashevis Singer, among others. 

In Butler’s obituary, the New York Times described her course as “a platform for reform.” Butler lifted the academic standing of the study of children’s literature, establishing the journal Children’s Literature and the Children’s Literature Association in 1972 and helping to create the children’s literature division of the Modern Language Association.  

Listen to the recordings and learn more at http://hdl.handle.net/11134/20002:19970056JML.

Resources in the Archives about the UConn Marching Band

Music and bands have been a tradition at the University of Connecticut for over a century.  Beginning with small musical organizations and military bands, there were many predecessors to what is now referred to as the UConn Marching Band. The origins of the current organization can be traced back to 1939, the same year that the Connecticut State College in Storrs became the University of Connecticut. In that year Jack Brocjek, at the time an assistant instructor of music at the school, became director of the school’s “College Band” and decided to make his band open to all students, which effectively merged his with the ROTC’s band.

While the creation of the band occurred at the end of the 1930s, the 1950s was really when it gained prestige and an increase in the number of participants.  Professor Allan Gillespie took the reins in 1956, and the band grew immensely during his 25-year tenure. It was under Gillespie’s leadership that the band embarked on three separate tours of Europe in the summers of 1970, 1974, and 1978.

Gillespie’s time as director was followed by the terms of David Maker and Gary Green in the 1980s. Current director David Mills took over in 1989 and led the band in such special performances as President Bill Clinton’s 1993 inauguration parade, the 2003 opening of the 40,000 seat Rentschler Field in Hartford, and performing for over 100,000 fans at the University of Michigan in 2010.

Researchers interested in the UConn Marching band will find a plethora of information in Archives & Special Collections. In addition to the marching band’s official records, the UConn Archives has student publications, photographic prints, files belonging to past band personnel, administrative documents, and more. Among some of our archives’ relevant collections are:

University of Connecticut Marching Band Records.  This is the most comprehensive of all collections pertaining to the UConn Marching Band. It includes various forms of primary sources from the band, including pamphlets for performances, musical scores, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, photographs, and cassette tapes. The records date back to the early 1960s, corresponding closely with the first few years of Allan Gillespie’s tenure as band director. The finding aid to the collection can be found at https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/1020

Maker Collection of the UConn Marching Band. Comprised of arrangements, arranged for the marching band by Dr. David Maker, who worked with the band for many years, dating from 1969 to 1983. The finding aid to the collection can be found at https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/512

University of Connecticut Photograph Collection.  The collection holds hundreds of photographs of the UConn Marching Band. The band’s images are filed with the UConn Athletics items and are sometimes merged with the Pep Band’s photos. Another area to find early images of the marching band are those taken by Jerauld Manter, a professor at UConn from 1912 until 1953.  The finding aid to the UConn Photograph Collection photographic prints can be found at https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/5. A finding aid to the Manter images is at https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/946

Thousands of images from the University of Connecticut Photograph Collection can be found in the UConn Library digital repository, beginning at https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3AMSS19880010. Those showing the marching band are available at https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/search/marching%20band?type=edismax&cp=20002%3AMSS19880010

University of Connecticut, President’s Office Records [Glenn W. Ferguson].  Glenn Ferguson served as the President of UConn from 1973 to 1978. His records include information about plans for the marching band to travel on tour in Europe. The finding aid to the Ferguson records is at https://archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu/repositories/2/resources/606

Daily Campus and other student publications. The origins of a music program at the university occurred concurrently with that of the student newspaper and are a great source to show the formation and evolution of the marching band program. The student newspaper originated with the Lookout in 1896 and transitioned to other titles, including The Connecticut Campus and Connecticut Daily Campus, to The Daily Campus of today. A full run of newspapers up to 1990 available in the UConn Archives can be found in the digital repository beginning at https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A860408189.

Articles of particular interest include:

Nutmeg, the student yearbook.  The Nutmeg originated in 1915 and includes photographs of the marching bands through the years. You can find issues from 1915 to 1999 in the digital repository beginning at https://archives.lib.uconn.edu/islandora/object/20002%3A02653871

Of particular interest:

This post was written by Sam Zelin, a UConn undergraduate student in the Neag School of Education who is a student assistant in Archives & Special Collections. 


Wikipedia and the Archives

This post was contributed by Sophie Archambault, a rising junior at the University of Connecticut. In Summer 2021, Sophie interned with Michael Rodriguez, Collections Strategist, and Rebecca Parmer, Head of Archives & Special Collections, to help increase the visibility and accessibility of UConn Library’s archival collections by adding content, references, and media to Wikipedia. 

Wikipedia logo Version 1 by Nohat (concept by Paullusmagnus); CC BY-SA 3.0

All through school, I’ve been taught that Wikipedia is a risky resource. Anyone can edit or contribute, and the sources used to build the articles aren’t always reliable. Additionally, though editors are anonymous, the topics covered on Wikipedia are overwhelmingly white male centric. When topics outside of this realm are introduced they are often shut down by fellow editors who claim a lack of adherence to protocol. Recently, however, efforts have been made to diversify Wikipedia editors and content, so that marginalized groups are given more attention. This is what my project with the UConn Archives focused on. I was to find topics covered by archives collections that could use increased visibility on Wikipedia. I generated a list of possible topics and ended up working on four Wikipedia pages, all of them female authors.

After completing a few training modules, I began this project with Grace Lin. I remember reading her books in middle school, so she was a familiar name. Her page was also in a good place for me to jump in as someone very new to editing Wikipedia. The page was already pretty clearly established, but there was obvious room for improvement. After investigating the already cited sources and doing some research of my own, I ended up adding information to the biography section and creating an awards section. Something I had not expected to encounter was references that could not be accessed. A few of the sources for Grace Lin linked to pages that were no longer active. Did that mean I had to remove those sources completely? Find the information that had supposedly come from those sites in different places? I brought the issue up to Rebecca and Michael, who suggested I use the Wayback Machine (yes, that’s what it’s actually called). Using the Wayback Machine site, I could put in a dead link and have access to all previous versions of the page. I could then insert a link to an archived version of the page in the resources section of Wikipedia. Nothing ever really disappears on the internet.

Lin’s page took me a couple of weeks to complete, but it was a good chance to get used to navigating Wikipedia. After Grace Lin, I tackled Magdalena Gómez, a playwright, poet, and social activist based in Springfield, MA; Eleanor Estes, a late children’s book author known for The Hundred Dresses and The Moffats; and Rosemary Wells, whose picture books of animal characters—Max and Ruby, Noisy Nora—my parents read to me. It got easier to edit the pages. I got into a routine of reading what was there, making note of what needed to be changed or added, investigating the already cited sources, and finding more sources if necessary.

One of the main goals of this project was to hopefully increase web traffic to the UConn archives. On every page I completed, I added that so-and-so’s papers were held at the University of Connecticut, and I provided an external link to the specific finding aid. Unfortunately, as it was summer and covid, I was not able to go to the archives and take a deeper look into each of these women’s collections. However, I hope that my small contribution to the vast world of Wikipedia will bring more people to the archives’ site and encourage them to find out more in person. I was inspired by each of the authors I researched and it made me feel good to increase their visibility on a widely accessed site. Hopefully, with edit-a-thons and projects like this one, those who have been deemed irrelevant or unestablished by editors will get the attention and space they rightfully deserve.

Fall 2021 Research Update

welcome back banner image

We’re excited to announce that UConn Archives & Special Collections will reopen to the public for onsite research visits on Monday, August 30th. We have made some changes to our service model to respond to changing COVID-19 conditions and to best serve our community. Below, you’ll find details about our reopening plans, including how to schedule research visits, information about facilities work which may impact access to our collections, and how to get support for your research (onsite and online). Additional details can be found on our website.

Fall 2021 Reading Room Schedule

9:00 – 12:0012:00 – 1:001:00 – 4:00
Open by appointment onlyClosed for lunch and cleaningOpen by appointment
Walk-ins welcome*

If you are visiting in-person, please book an appointment at least two business days in advance of your visit due to limited walk-in hours and limited space in the reading room. You are welcome to select both morning and afternoon slots on a chosen day or to reserve space on multiple days, if capacity allows. Unfortunately, same-day appointments cannot be accommodated at this time.  

Once you’ve submitted your appointment request, ASC staff will confirm your appointment and follow up with any questions or additional information.  

*Walk-in visits: Please be aware that access to the reading room for walk-in visitors is subject to capacity limits and staffing resources. Due to scheduled facilities upgrades, please be aware that collections materials may not be available for walk-in visitors. The best way to ensure that resources will be available for your research is to book an appointment in advance of your visit. 

As the University responds to changing pandemic conditions, access to our reading room and onsite services may be limited from time to time. Current information about our services will be posted on our website, blog, and social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram).   

Remote Assistance 

If you can’t visit us in person, we’re ready to assist you remotely! 

We continue to support remote research by responding to research inquiries, digitizing materials, and preparing for virtual classes and instruction. Our staff are available to meet with researchers via email, phone, or virtually by appointment

Please use our Reproduction Request form to request scans and copies from our collections. We will try to accommodate reasonable requests free of charge, but large or resource-intensive requests may incur a fee. 

We will do our best to assist you as the situation and our services allow. Please be aware that there may be some delay in the fulfillment of research and reproduction requests. We appreciate your continued patience as we all work through this dynamic, challenging time! 

Please reach out to us at any time with questions, comments, or concerns: 

Research Resources 

We’ve compiled a list of resources to help you get started in your research. We’ll continue to add to this list as additional resources become available. 

Facilities & Construction Update

Over the summer, we began critical maintenance work in our collections storage area. This work, which we anticipate will be completed by mid-fall, includes upgrading the electronic and mechanical systems for our mobile shelving, and will help ensure that our collections will remain safe and accessible for future generations. However, it may occasionally impact our access to collections material. In the event that material is not available for onsite use, ASC staff will follow up with you to discuss other ways of supporting your research.

The Great New England Hurricane lands at the Connecticut State College

On September 21, 1938, just two days before the start of the fall semester, the Great New England Hurricane hit Connecticut State College. The campus had dealt with natural disasters before, such as the ice storm of 1909, but the damage inflicted by the Hurricane of 1938 was unprecedented. The loss of electricity and the impassability of the roads meant that of immediate concern was the water and food supply for the faculty, staff, and students. The College had to resort to using an emergency water pump and chlorinator to provide safe drinking water, and a battery-powered shortwave radio was the only means of receiving outside news. In the days following the storm, workmen and student volunteers scrambled to clear the damage and repair electric lines. The local telephone company hurried to get a pay station working on campus. Fewer than half of the 668 students registered for the fall semester were on campus at the time of the storm, and there were concerns about the rest making it in before classes started.

In the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, news was spread across campus through the College’s publication, the Connecticut Campus. The Campus published special editions on both September 22 and 23 with the use of a hand-cranked mimeograph machine. It supplied updates on the water and food situation, informing students that although the Dining Hall was stocked with enough supplies, “no pie will be served tonight and no ice cream tomorrow.” The newsletter also shared statements made by President Albert Jorgenson and other College staff regarding campus conditions. The superintendent of the grounds speculated that “it would take about one hundred years for the campus to regain its former beauty.” Mixed in with reports on the state of the roads and estimates for the cost of repairs was a concern for returning to the College’s regular activities. The Campus was uncertain if the upcoming football game between CSC and Brown would be cancelled, although it optimistically reported that planning was underway for a barn dance.

Although most buildings on campus suffered some degree of damage, the grounds and barns experienced the worst effects of the storm. In the weeks following the hurricane, various departments across campus reported their losses to President Jorgenson, including those from Forestry, Poultry, Animal Husbandry, Horticulture, Zoology, and Genetics. Some of the campus’ barns, outbuildings, and fences needed to be completely rebuilt, including the horse barn and two sheep barns. One sheep barn was lifted off its foundation in the storm, and the estimated cost to rebuild totaled $16,000. The poultry department also suffered heavy damages, with piles of rubble all that remained of some chicken houses. Not only was the College’s agricultural activities put on hold by the storm, but its scientific research in genetics and animal diseases was also at an impasse until barns could be repaired and rebuilt. While the College’s horses and cattle survived, over 500 birds sadly perished.

There was a great concern with the damage to the trees on campus, and students were involved in assessing and cleaning up some of the destruction. The Campus bemoaned the loss of the Valentine Grove, where some of the trees destroyed had been over 200 years old. Two students counted 1,762 fallen trees on campus, and others were paid 30¢ an hour to salvage apples from the orchard. Workmen used tractors and teams of horses to pull trees back up, however many could not be saved. The College owned over 900 acres of woodlands, and one report advised that the trees lost should be salvaged if possible and cut into lumber. It was estimated that the labor required to clean up the woodlands would cost $10,400.

Fortunately the academic and student housing buildings suffered relatively minor damages. All buildings with slate roofs needed to be repaired, and some of the fraternity houses reported broken windows, leaking roofs, and damaged chimneys. Despite the hurricane, and as a testament to the hard work of both staff and students, the fall semester began on time. However, it would be many months until the campus could return to the extent of its pre-hurricane operations.

Written by Alexandra Borkowski, a UConn PhD student and student assistant in Archives & Special Collections.

Student Unrest Photography in 4D

Howard S. Goldbaum Photography Collection of Daily Campus Negatives,
New York Peace March, April 15, 1967

In the Spring semester of 2020, an exciting use of historical photographs by UConn Digital Media and Design students brought to life the images of student protest in the 1960s and 1970s held by the University of Connecticut Archives.  In collaboration with Assistant Professor Anna Lindemann and MFA graduate Instructor Jasmine Rajavadee of the Digital Media and Design Department, the Motion Graphics 1 class (DMD 2200) spent a portion of their semester in the archives to understand the context of photographic collections and practice their skills on digital collection items. This exploration led to the creation of new uses for the recorded past.  The class assignment drew on digitized 35mm negatives, Kodachrome color slides, and black&white photographic prints to demonstrate a 4D animation process of still images to bring static subjects to life.  Collections utilized for this project ranged from the Cal Robertson Collection of anti-nuclear demonstrations in New London, Howard S. Goldbaum’s Photography for the Daily Campus newspaper documenting anti-Vietnam War demonstrations in Storrs, New York, and Washington D.C., and University of Connecticut Photography Collection images of the 1974 Black Student sit-in at Wilbur Cross Library. To view a selection of the Student Unrest Photography in 4D project, follow this link to our Youtube page.      

This project was a timely and innovative use of a subject matter that was re-energized through Storrs campus demonstrations around racism, global climate change and mental health advocacy throughout the 2019-2020 academic year.  In addition, UConn Archives exhibitions Day-Glo & Napalm: UConn from 1967-1971 on student life and activism of the Vietnam War Era and UConn Through the Viewfinder: Connecticut Daily Campus Photographs from the Howard Goldbaum Collection at the William Benton Museum of Art reminded the community of it’s involvement during times of national change.  

This is the second time that the UConn Archives has worked with Prof. Lindemann and the DMD department to utilize photographic collections for class projects, the first drew on child labor images from the U. Roberto Romano Collection which can be viewed here.  

A Note from the Director of Archives & Special Collections

An exterior view of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center on June 21, 2013. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

To our community of scholars, donors, and supporters,

I’m reaching out to provide an update on the status of Archives & Special Collections. In accordance with the University of Connecticut’s response to the COVID-19 situation, Archives & Special Collections remains closed to the public. Although our facilities are currently closed, we remain committed to providing the highest level of care and support for our collections.

In preparing for the shutdown, our staff made all necessary provisions to secure the collections and ensure their safety. We have onsite security staff monitoring our collections, research, and exhibition spaces, and receive daily briefings on the status of our facilities. We also maintain an up-to-the-minute environmental monitoring system, which includes the ability to check on the temperature and humidity of our spaces remotely.

Although some of our services are limited at this time, we are working hard to ensure that you can continue to engage with our collections throughout this closure, from providing virtual instruction sessions to developing online exhibitions from our rich digital collections.

We recently launched a new online search portal, where you can access guides to our collections remotely, and have made more than 750,000 digital objects from our collections available for research and use through the Connecticut Digital Archive. We are active on social media – I encourage you to check out our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram regularly for new content, programming, and collection highlights.

Our staff are teleworking and remain accessible by email and phone – please feel free to contact us at any time with questions or concerns: archives@uconn.edu or 860-486-2524. We will keep you informed about service and facility updates via the UConn Library’s COVID-19 response webpage and our social media outlets.

We appreciate your continued support as we work together to ensure the safety and well-being of our communities, and look forward to seeing you again in the near future.

~ Rebecca Parmer, Head of Archives & Special Collections

UConn COVID-19 Collection

The UConn Archives is interested in documenting the wide range of recent reactions, experiences, and activities undertaken by members of the UConn Nation as we all adjust, struggle and move forward through the challenges of a world-wide pandemic.

Archived news and internet sites will be excellent primary sources for future historians studying the pandemic. It is well documented, however, that the day-to-day activities and social and emotional experiences of people can get lost if not collected and preserved while memories, experiences, and reactions are fresh.

We are reaching out to the UConn community–students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, and other affiliated community members–to share your stories, in whatever form you wish, to be collected, preserved for posterity, and made accessible for research and study in Archives & Special Collections’ UConn COVID-19 Collection.  More information and instructions on how you can participate can be found on our website at https://lib.uconn.edu/location/asc/about/documenting-covid/

Thank you for contributing to this important new collection!