Homelessness and Unemployment


Two weekends ago in the early hours of Saturday July 20th, two men were severally beaten on the garden bridge at the Mill in Willimantic, CT.  A group of youth armed with baseball bats took to the men, badly injuring one who will remain in long term care at Windham Regional Hospital, the other had his arm broken and severe bruising.  The youth attempted to throw the men from the bridge into the river below.  These men are part of the homeless community of Willimantic which camp along the banks of the river throughout the year.  This attack on the homeless by violent youth in a small depressed mill town reflects a hatred that is inbred through a societal violence of displacement and disparity.  Senseless acts of violence are rarely worth critiquing as this kind of debate relies largely on speculation and assumption.  However, the overwhelming rate of violent crime committed against homeless populations is more than crime of opportunity.  It lies within the perception of human disposability, the unwanted and unnoticed.  The No Freeze shelter of Willimantic is reopening (generally a winter only shelter) this summer in order to provide a safe space for those under threat of attack.  The best way to fight back against these types of crimes is to occupy space frequently.  Public space is for public use, the more foot traffic the more eyes to witness.  Large portions of the town of Willimantic are resurfacing from dereliction, we need spaces like the No Freeze shelter to continue operation to temporarily house people.  Thirdly, working towards community building, as demonstrated in our archival collections, includes prioritizing basic human necessities which a state like Connecticut – having the largest income disparity in the country – needs most of all.

The Archives and Special Collections houses Alternative Press Collection material as well as manuscript collections dealing with homelessness, unemployment and housing. The following are examples of relevant materials:

Barbara B. Kennelly Papers

Connecticut Citizens Action Group Records

Jeremiah J. Driscoll Collection

Capitalism and Unemployment, 1983. APC Pam 892.

Gingrich, Paul. Unemployment: A Radical Analysis of Myth and Fact, (1978).

Hartman, Chester W. Displacement, How to fight it. APC Bk f47

Helstein, Ralph. A Conversation – Jobs, Machines and People, (1964) APC Pam 765.

National Unemployed News, “Housing for People, not Profit,” (1983).

Unemployment and Overproduction, 1932. APC Pam 492

Unemployment and the Machine, International Workers of the World, (1934). APC Pam 170.

Unemployment Must be Abolished!, Interfaith Conference, Washington DC (1940). APC Pam 151.

Unemployed Workers Organizing Committee, Hartford CT. APC File




This entry was posted in Events and News, human rights and tagged , , , by Graham Stinnett. Bookmark the permalink.

About Graham Stinnett

Curator of Human Rights Collections and Alternative Press Collections, Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut. Stinnett holds a Master’s degree in Archival Studies from the History Department at the University of Manitoba, where he also earned a Bachelor’s degree in Latin American History. Stinnett's graduate work focused on human rights non-governmental organizations and their importance to archives and the role of archivist as activist. He has published in the Progressive Librarian on the subject. Stinnett has worked in University Archives with human rights collections at UC Boulder, Manitoba and UConn. His involvement with the Manitoba Gay and Lesbian Archives collection project and the LGBTTQ Oral History Initiative, the El Salvador Human Rights Archive at Boulder and the extensive AltPress & Human Rights Archives at UConn have resulted in a multitude of engagement and outreach activities. He also briefly served as the Archivist for the Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club in British Columbia.

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