News from the Mass. Memories Road Show: Updates for 2020

Mass. Memories Road Show film stripAlong with so many other public history and cultural programs, the Mass. Memories Road Show was forced to pivot away from live events in response to the COVID-19 crisis this spring. Still, the team at UMass Boston has been hard at work behind the scenes to make collections available and to emerge with a stronger program as soon as we can get back on the road again.

Here are a few updates about our program and activities:

Photograph of videographer at Brockton Mass. Memories Road Show

Photograph of videographer and contributor at Brockton Mass. Memories Road Show

Collection update

Videos from the Brockton Mass. Memories Road Show and Plymouth Mass. Memories Road Show are available online now. The images and stories are in production and contributors will be notified when they are available, likely sometime this summer.

Call for Research Participants

University of North Texas student, Ana Roeschley, is conducting a dissertation study on participatory archive projects like the Mass. Memories Road Show. Her research is on the impact of projects like the Mass. Memories Road Show on individuals and communities that participate in these projects. She is recruiting past participants of the Road Show who are over the age of 18 to be interviewed about their experiences with the Road Show. Interviews will be conducted virtually via the Zoom platform and participants will receive a Starbucks or Dunkin’ gift card. Download a flyer.

For more information and to participate, contact Ana Roeschley by emailing ana.roeschley@unt.edu or calling 512-809-3662.

Events update

The Mass. Memories Road Show events in Bellingham and Malden have been postponed indefinitely, and will be rescheduled as soon as it is safe to do so, most likely sometime in 2021.

Although we can’t know when we will be able to resume public gatherings, the Mass. Memories Road Show continues to welcome applications on a rolling basis for 2021 and beyond. Interested communities can apply here.

Institute of Museum and Library Services grant update

With support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the Mass. Memories Road Show team is developing a “roadmap” to guide libraries of all kinds and sizes through the process of organizing similar “participatory archiving” events and building digital collections on their own. We completed a survey of needs among libraries and cultural organizations throughout the United States, and plan to launch a test version of the roadmap later in 2020. Designed to be an interactive reference, the roadmap will lead users through a series of modules covering the important aspects of planning a participatory archiving event, including community outreach, metadata and archival description, and the preservation of digital materials.

Interested in learning more? Email sarah.collins@umb.edu.

New Mass. Memories Road Show website

Last fall, we launched a new website for the Mass. Memories Road Show program, which includes a video about the program. Visit the new website here, which features a variety of resources for local planning teams including volunteer training materials about each of the Road Show “stations” as well as sample publicity flyers and press releases.

Questions? Please contact Carolyn.Goldstein@umb.edu and visit blogs.umb.edu/archives for further updates.

Browse the Mass. Memories Road Show collection here.


The Mass. Memories Road Show is a statewide, event-based participatory archiving program that documents people, places, and events in Massachusetts history through family photographs and stories. In partnership with teams of local volunteers, we organize public events to scan family and community photographs and videotape “the stories behind the photos.” The images and videos are indexed and incorporated into an online educational database. Since its launch, the project has gathered more than 10,000 photographs and stories from across the state. It is supported in part by the Patricia C. Flaherty ’81 Endowed Fund at UMass Boston.

University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston was established in 1981 as a repository to collect archival material in subject areas of interest to the university, as well as the records of the university itself. The mission and history of UMass Boston guide the collection policies of University Archives & Special Collections, with the university’s urban mission and strong support of community service reflected in the records of and related to urban planning, social welfare, social action, alternative movements, community organizations, war and social consequence, and local history related to neighboring communities. To learn more, visit blogs.umb.edu/archives.

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Documenting the UMass Boston Community’s Response to COVID-19

University Archives and Special Collections at UMass Boston is interested in collecting the personal stories, photographs, videos, recordings, and other materials that reflect your experiences during the COVID-19 crisis.

How has life changed for you as a student, as a staff member, or as a member of the faculty? How are you staying connected to the people in your life and to others at UMass Boston during this period of social/physical distancing? What do you want people in the years to come to understand or know about this time period? In addition to the experiences of students, faculty, and staff, we want to hear from alumni and members of the larger UMass Boston community as well.

Examples of contributions to this project include (but are not limited to):

  • A reflective essay on your experience that you wrote for a class
  • Curricular materials that you created for a class that you are now teaching online
  • A photograph of your at-home workspace
  • An audio or video recording of an interview conducted with a family member
  • An original work of art
  • A poem or short story
  • A link to a blog post or social media content that you created

Contribute to the project here.

If you have any questions about this project, please email library.archives@umb.edu.

Take care, stay safe, and we hope to see you on campus again very soon.


Due to COVID-19, the Healey Library building and the Archives Research Room will be closed until further notice. University Archives and Special Collections staff are working remotely, however, and are available to help. Click here for updates and additional information.

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Grossmann Gallery hosts exhibition of student photographs

Exhibit flyer on a blue background titled, “Living in the Urban Ocean,” Student Photo Essay Exhibition, October 16, 2019- January 22, 2020 in the Grossmann Gallery, 5th floor - Joseph P. Healey Library

Flyer for the Student Photo Essay Exhibition, “Living in the Urban Ocean”

The photograph essay contest exhibition Living in the Urban Ocean is now on display through January 22, 2020, in the Grossmann Gallery on the 5th floor of the Joseph P. Healey Library. The exhibition has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities, in partnership with the English Department, the Environmental Studies Department, and University Archives and Special Collections in the Healey Library at UMass Boston.

Throughout the Spring 2019 semester, students enrolled in Intermediate Seminar: Writing and the Environment (English 270G/Environmental Studies 270G) investigated the social, cultural and historical locale of Boston Harbor through archival and library resources. In addition, students developed their own urban ocean relationships through creative writing, walking, and reflection. In the era of the smartphone, creating a photo essay provided students with an opportunity to share their semester’s work through a visual language which they already use daily.

Students were asked to situate themselves in their urban ocean environment and tell an eco-story through photography. Students used iPhones and personal cameras to complete their photo essays. The winners of the photograph essay contest were selected through an online poll for best story told without words.

The Grossmann Gallery is open during library hours (posted here).


University Archives and Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston collects materials related to the university’s history, as well as materials that reflect the institution’s urban mission and strong support of community service, notably in collections of records of urban planning, social welfare, social action, alternative movements, community organizations, and local history related to neighboring communities.

University Archives and Special Collections welcomes inquiries from individuals, organizations, and businesses interested in donating materials of an archival nature that that fit within our collecting policy. These include manuscripts, documents, organizational archives, collections of photographs, unique publications, and audio and video media. For more information about donating to University Archives and Special Collections, click here or email library.archives@umb.edu.

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Standing Our Ground and Transforming a City: Event and collecting area document history of housing and community activism in Boston

University Archives and Special Collections in the Healey Library at UMass Boston is publishing the below essay, written by Judy Branfman around 1989, to both announce the launch of new digital collection area and to promote Transforming a City: Honoring Boston’s Visionaries, an event being held on Saturday, October 19, that will bring people together from all over Boston to celebrate the lives and legacy of community activists Mel King and Chuck Turner.

Screenshot from the title screen for the Standing Our Ground slideshow

View the “Standing Our Ground” slideshow, narrative, and transcription.

 

The new digital collection area is inspired by (and named after) Standing Our Ground, the important slideshow that was directed by filmmaker Judy Branfman and produced by Branfman and UMass Boston Professor Emerita Marie Kennedy to explore Boston’s rich and creative history of neighborhood struggles over land control and development, and the growth of empowerment and local control. The only item in the collection at this point is the Standing Our Ground film, but we expect to post more materials to the site soon, including interviews, videos of public meetings, and other recordings from the 1970s and 1980s related to Tent City activism in Boston’s South End. Explore this digital collection area and view Standing Our Ground.

University Archives and Special Collections holds a range of materials that help to document the history of housing, community development, and land use and planning activism in Boston. This digital collection will provide researchers and community members with access to unique archival materials related to this history.



Standing Our Ground: Community Media and the History of Neighborhood Control of Development in Boston

Guest essay by Judy Branfman
Note: This essay about Standing Our Ground and Branfman’s work with the Coalition for Community Control of Development was originally written around 1989.

“You’ve got to fight or you don’t get anywhere. If you fight for something you believe is right, then fight for it! Don’t sit back and say, ‘Oh, I could have done it, but now it’s too late.’ You gotta do it. You can win or you can lose, but at least you tried.”
-Anna DeFronzo, East Boston community activist

Screenshot from the title screen for the Standing Our Ground slideshow

View the “Standing Our Ground” slideshow, narrative, and transcription.

For thousands of Boston residents – especially East Boston residents – Anna DeFronzo’s fighting spirit and history of activism have been an inspiration since the early 1960s (Anna DeFronzo died in 1998). At the same time that Anna and her neighbors were struggling to stop Logan Airport’s expansion into their East Boston neighborhoods, similar struggles were taking place in other parts of Boston, particularly where Urban Renewal plans were taking a heavy toll. In those areas as well, particularly the South End area, committed activists and creative struggles evolved and broke new ground for people in communities seeking to have some control in shaping their lives and surroundings.

The same issues that in the 1960s and ‘70s brought whole communities into the streets and meeting rooms – demolition of neighborhoods and destruction of communities, racism, the pursuit of community-based development, etc. – have continued, often in more sophisticated forms, to be crucial and largely unresolved issues for Boston residents. But through the years, activists from Boston’s many and extremely diverse neighborhoods have built on each other’s work. And over the last couple of years neighborhood activists and groups have begun to come together to share their knowledge and struggles – and attempt to develop strategies for working together on common issues. The Coalition for Community Control of Development (CCCD) is one outcome of this coming together – a growing coalition of over 25 neighborhood organizations from across the city. CCCD is working on both legislative and grassroots initiatives in order to strengthen the voices of Boston’s neighborhoods.

I became involved with CCCD in 1988 because of my interest in working with that broad coalition working to address community development issues. My experience working in the neighborhood group in my isolated and gentrifying area taught me that we could never fully accomplish our goals working on our own in deeply divided and politicized Boston. Also as an activist artist and educator, I had a strong interest in developing some kind of artistic collaboration that could further the community control work.

What emerged after several discussions was the idea of developing a slide show that would look at the past and present of the struggle for community control of development, drawing on the voices and stories of activists who had helped shape those struggles.

The project in part emerged out of – and merged with – a series of neighborhood oral histories being collected by Rainbow Coalition members and urban planner Marie Kennedy for a large historical exhibition honoring South End activist Mel King on his 60th birthday. The slide show process began with a letter that was sent out to more than 500 neighborhood groups and activists inviting their participation – and to date has involved artists with a variety of skills, planners, historians, educators, activists, and donations of numerous services.

Visual images are powerful and evocative tools, although they are often left behind by organizers and educators, often for understandable reasons. In the case of “Standing Our Ground,” the real strength, along with the organizing process itself, lies in the images combined with stories heard in the activists’ own voices.

The goals of the project have been: to develop a process, educational in itself, which would bring people together to share their stories (15 voices are heard in the show) and participate in developing the slide show; to pass on a history that in reality is little known – and that can be seen within the context of growing community empowerment; and to develop an educational program that raises relevant questions for use by CCCD and other groups and institutions. Another hope was to try and place land control struggles – and the idea of community development – within the realm of people’s everyday experience, and try and look at the relationship between the two.

As Chuck Turner, Director of the Center for Community Action in Roxbury, says in “Standing Our Ground,” “The question is, how does community development enhance human development? Does the building of a new structure necessarily contribute to people’s feeling a renewed confidence in their own ability and creative potential and future in their neighborhood?”

Note: This essay about Standing Our Ground and Branfman’s work with the Coalition for Community Control of Development was originally written around 1989.


 

Image of Mel King and Chuck Turner, used for eventLearn more about Transforming a City: Honoring Boston’s Visionaries, an event being held on Saturday, October 19, that will bring people together from all over Boston to celebrate the lives and legacy of Mel King and Chuck Turner. Reserve tickets here.



About Judy Branfman

Judy Branfman, Research Affiliate with the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, is a documentary filmmaker, activist, and independent scholar based in Los Angeles. She is working on a documentary, The Land of Orange Groves & Jails, and book on the precedent-setting court case, Stromberg v California. Since 1980 Judy has worked with non-profit organizations, cultural projects, labor unions, and municipalities doing outreach and education, media, and project development and coordination. She has taught Los Angeles history courses at UCLA – and produced large community-based events focusing on LA’s multi-ethnic, labor history.



University Archives and Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston collects materials related to the university’s history, as well as materials that reflect the institution’s urban mission and strong support of community service, notably in collections of records of urban planning, social welfare, social action, alternative movements, community organizations, and local history related to neighboring communities.

University Archives and Special Collections welcomes inquiries from individuals, organizations, and businesses interested in donating materials of an archival nature that that fit within our collecting policy. These include manuscripts, documents, organizational archives, collections of photographs, unique publications, and audio and video media. For more information about donating to University Archives and Special Collections, click here or email library.archives@umb.edu.

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Grossmann Gallery hosts exhibit documenting U.S. soldiers who opposed the Vietnam War

Waging Peace FlyerWaging Peace in Vietnam: U.S. Soldiers and Veterans Who Opposed the War, hosted in collaboration with the William Joiner Institute, is now on display through September 22, 2019, in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston. Organized by Ron Carver of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., the traveling exhibition has been exhibited in Vietnam and at the Kroc Institute for Peace Studies at Notre Dame and will visit UMass Amherst and Washington, D.C. later this fall.

During America’s War in Vietnam, tens of thousands of GIs and veterans created a robust movement in opposition to the war. The Waging Peace in Vietnam exhibition explores how the anti-war GI movement unfolded, from the numerous anti-war coffee houses springing up outside military bases, to the hundreds of GI newspapers giving an independent voice to active soldiers, to the stockade revolts and the strikes and near-mutinies developing on naval vessels and in the U.S. Air Force. Waging Peace tells this story through oral histories, photographs, documents, and the pages of the underground press written by and for active-duty GIs. The presentation in the Grossmann Gallery also includes primary source documents from Healey Library’s University Archives and Special Collections, as well as materials from the Joiner Institute.

The book, also entitled Waging Peace in Vietnam: U.S. Soldiers and Veterans Who Opposed the War, is edited by Ron Carver, David Cortright, and Barbara Doherty, with an afterword by Christian G. Appy, and is published by New York University Press.  It features fourteen original essays by leading scholars and activists as well as first-hand accounts, oral histories, underground newspapers, posters, flyers, and photographs.

A reception for the exhibit opening and launch of the companion book is scheduled for Thursday, September 12, from 4:00-6:00 p.m. in the Grossmann Gallery on the 5th floor of the Joseph P. Healey Library. An inter-generational panel, hosted by Fred Marchant and featuring veterans from the Vietnam War and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and UMass Boston student veterans, is scheduled for Wednesday, September 18, from 3:00-5:00 p.m. in the Alumni Lounge (Campus Center, 2nd floor).

View the exhibition panels online at the Waging Peace website. Read articles about the exhibition in The Guardian (UK) and USA Today.


University Archives and Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston collects materials related to the university’s history, as well as materials that reflect the institution’s urban mission and strong support of community service, notably in collections of records of urban planning, social welfare, social action, alternative movements, community organizations, and local history related to neighboring communities.

University Archives and Special Collections welcomes inquiries from individuals, organizations, and businesses interested in donating materials of an archival nature that that fit within our collecting policy. These include manuscripts, documents, organizational archives, collections of photographs, unique publications, and audio and video media. For more information about donating to University Archives and Special Collections, click here or email library.archives@umb.edu.

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