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University Archives Receives Grant to Digitize the Historical Photographs and Records of Boston's Chinese Community, 1976–2006

Protest against the New England Medical Center's proposal for a garage on Parcel C, ca. 1990.Protest against the New England Medical Center's proposal for a garage on Parcel C, ca. 1990.

The Northeastern University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections Department has won a grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. The $30,000 award is for a project to digitize and make available via the Internet the entire Chinese Progressive Association collection comprising 12 cubic feet of historical material, including documents, posters, photographs, negatives, and audio and videotapes, dating from 1976-2006.

Founded in 1977, the Chinese Progressive Association, originally called the Chinatown People's Progressive Association, was established to advocate "for full equity and empowerment of the Chinese community in the Greater Boston area and beyond." The Association's early projects included promoting the normalization of diplomatic relations between the United States and China, working with tenants on eviction and other tenant issues, and organizing community support for victims of racial violence, including Wei–ti Choi in 1979 and Long Guang Huang in 1985. In the early 1980s, the Association registered voters, raised awareness of electoral issues in Chinatown, worked for bilingual education, and lobbied Massachusetts politicians to provide forms and office support in Chinese. In the mid–1980s, the Association worked closely with displaced garment workers from the P & L Sportswear and Beverly Rose Sportswear factories to establish Commonwealth–funded bilingual retraining programs and greater awareness for the issues concerning garment workers and, more generally, immigrant workers in Boston. The Association's involvement with the garment workers led to the founding of the Workers' Center in 1987.

The Association also became involved in the struggle between Chinatown residents and the City of Boston and Tufts-New England Medical Center over the proposed development of Parcel C in Chinatown. The Association's advocacy, along with that of other community groups, led to the withdrawal of the Medical Center's plan. The Chinese Progressive Association continues its work on tenants' rights, workers' rights, political empowerment, and local Chinatown issues, including a campaign to re–establish a branch library in Chinatown and to secure the future of Chinese and Vietnamese bilingual ballots for Boston voters.

The records to be digitized contain rich documentation of themes including urban development, workers' rights, immigrants' rights, minority rights, community relations, racial violence, bilingual education, and retraining adult workers during the last decades of the 20th century and into the 21st century. The images document rallies and protests against the expansion of Tufts–New England Medical Center in Chinatown; demonstrations in support of striking workers at the Dynasty Restaurant in Chinatown, the International Paper mill in Jay, Maine, and Power One in Allston, Massachusetts; and rallies in support of bilingual education, reform of the Combat Zone (Boston's red–light district), and Long Guang Huang, a victim of police brutality in Chinatown. The images also depict celebrations in recognition of Chinese holidays, such as the August Moon Festival, Chinese New Year, and Chinese National Day. Also in the collection is "Through Strength and Struggle," a documentary on P & L garment workers' struggle for job training produced by the Association's Workers' Center in 1988.

This project continues Northeastern University Libraries' dedication to preserving and making accessible the history of Boston's Chinese community. View a list of special collections available for research in the NU Archives and Special Collections Department.

August 2011

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Cambridge Eviction Free Zone Historical Records, Available for Research

Campaign to Save 2000 Homes, 1998Campaign to Save 2000 Homes, 1998. Photograph courtesy of Skip Schiel.

Northeastern University Libraries is pleased to announce that the historical records of the Cambridge Eviction Free Zone are open for research use.

Founded in 1988, the Cambridge Eviction Free Zone (EFZ) was an independent, tenant-run community organization that worked for social and economic justice in the areas of housing and tenants' rights, rent control, and immigrant voting rights. It was founded by a coalition of grassroots organizations, including the Cambridge Economic Opportunity Committee (CEOC), Area 4 Neighborhood Coalition, Cambridge and Somerville Legal Services, and Cambridge Tenants Union. Among its early activities, EFZ campaigned for rent control by directly opposing Question 9 (Q9), an anti-rent control measure, and by seeking reforms to Cambridge's complicated rent control ordinance. Although Q9 failed in the three communities that had local rent control ordinances (Cambridge, Boston, and Brookline), it narrowly passed statewide, banning rent control throughout Massachusetts in 1994. EFZ's focus then shifted to preserving housing affordability in Cambridge. EFZ also supported immigrant rights via the Campaign for Immigrant Voting Rights and its committees for Haitian and Latino tenants. A highlight of the collection is the documentation of EFZ's Campaign to Save 2000 Homes, a major effort to create and preserve affordable housing after the passage of Question 9 and the end of rent control in Massachusetts. EFZ ceased to operate in 2007, after failing to secure foundation grants to support its activities.

The 23 cubic feet of records date from 1972-2007 and document EFZ's work on issues of housing justice and immigrant rights. The collection includes meeting minutes, reports, newsletters, newspaper clippings, promotional materials such as flyers, photographs, signs, and memorabilia. A guide to the collection is available online at http://www.lib.neu.edu/archives/collect/findaids/m170find.htm.

The Cambridge Eviction Free Zone collection is open for research Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., in the Northeastern University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections Department, 92 Snell Library, Boston, Massachusetts. For a list of all the Department's special collections, see: http://www.library.neu.edu/archives/collections/manuscript_collections/.

August 2010

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Northeastern University Preserves African American Architecture and Urban Planning Firm's Historical Records

Stull and Lee seated on the steps of Ruggles StationDavid Lee (left) and Don Stull in front of the MBTA's Ruggles Station, ca. 1987. Photograph courtesy of Lou Jones.

Founded in 1967, the firm's work includes the design of educational, health care and correctional facilities; highway infrastructure, transit station and related facilities; housing development and a variety of large scale urban planning commissions nationwide. Locally, Stull and Lee designed United South End Settlements on the corner of Massachusetts and Columbus avenues, South Station, and Northeastern's John D. O'Bryant African American Institute to name just a few. The firm's work has frequently been cited for design excellence, including the prestigious Presidential Design Award presented by the National Endowment for the Arts, and numerous awards presented by the American Institute of Architects, and its Boston and New England affiliates. In 1999 Stull and Lee was co-recipient of the coveted Harleston Parker Gold Medal awarded annually for the most significant building built in Boston. The Projects of Stull and Lee have appeared in national and international publications that include Progressive Architecture, Architectural Record, Architecture, Urban Design Magazine, Metropolitan Home, Newsweek, AU (Japan), Baumeister (Germany), and L'Industria Delle Construzioni (Italy).

The collection, which encompasses several hundred linear feet, includes original architectural drawings, project files, and photographs and slides, dating from 1967 through 2000.

The Northeastern University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections Department is open for research Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. For a complete list of the Department's special collections, see: http://www.library.neu.edu/archives/collections/manuscript_collections/.

August 2010

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Fenway Community Health Center Historical Records, Available for Research

Fenway Community HealthMembers of the Fenway Community Health Center outside the basement clinic at 16 Haviland Street, ca. 1980.

Northeastern University Libraries is pleased to announce the completed processing of the historical records of the Fenway Community Health Center. This material contributes to the University Archives and Special Collection Department's collecting focus on records of private, non-profit, community-based organizations that are concerned with social justice issues. For a list of the Department's special collections, see: http://www.lib.neu.edu/archives/collections/bhcalpha/index.php.

The Fenway Community Health Center was established in 1971 to serve the elderly, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities of the Fenway area of Boston. Founded by David Scondras, Linda Beane, and nursing students from Northeastern University, the aim of the Center is to enhance the physical and mental health of its community, which includes those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), the people who live and work in the Fenway neighborhood, and beyond. The Center has been involved in HIV / AIDS research since the early 1980s and was the first medical center in Massachusetts to make an official diagnosis of the disease. The Center has been involved in local LGBT events including Boston Pride, the Boston->New York AIDS Ride, and the PrideFest street fair. In 2009, Fenway Community Health Center shortened its name to "Fenway Health." The collection documents the work and expansion of the Fenway Community Health Center in serving the lesbian and gay, elderly, and low-income population of the Fenway area and of Boston in general. Topics documented include HIV testing and clinical drug trials, anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender violence in the Boston area, artificial insemination, recreational drug use in the Boston LGBT community, and outreach to LGBT youth.

The 12.25 cubic feet of material date from 1972 to 2007 and include minutes, memoranda, correspondence, annual reports, event programs and invitations, newsletters, newspaper clippings, banners, posters, VHS tapes, photographs, and memorabilia.

The Fenway Community Health Center records are open for research Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., in Northeastern University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections Department, 92 Snell Library, Boston, Massachusetts. A guide to the collection is available online at: http://www.library.neu.edu/archives/collect/findaids/m172find.htm.

August 2010

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Oral Histories of Lower Roxbury Community Members Available for Research

Adelaide CromwellAdelaide Cromwell, noted Sociology Professor and the first African American instructor at New York's Hunter College, during oral history interview, 2 April 2009.

Oral histories recorded under the auspices of Northeastern's Lower Roxbury Black History Project are now open for research.

The Lower Roxbury Black History Project evolved from a meeting on November 9, 2006 between Northeastern University President Joseph E. Aoun and members of the Black Ministerial Alliance of Massachusetts to discuss possible collaborations between Northeastern and Lower Roxbury clergy. During the meeting, Reverend Michael E. Haynes suggested the University create a history of the African American community in Lower Roxbury, so President Aoun appointed Joseph D. Warren, who was at that time Special Assistant to the Director of Government Relations and Community Affairs, to oversee the Lower Roxbury Black History Project. Warren's advisory board consisted of Rev. Michael E. Haynes, formerly of Roxbury's Twelfth Baptist Church, Massachusetts State Representative Byron Rushing, Northeastern University Archivist Joan D. Krizack, and Northeastern University history professors William M. Fowler Jr., Gerald H. Herman, and Robert L. Hall, and Northeastern Vice President for Public Affairs Robert P. Gittens. In November 2007, Warren hired Lolita Parker Jr., a photographer and documentary film researcher, to collect oral histories of Roxbury community members. From 2007-2009 with the assistance of her son, London Parker-McWorter, Parker spoke with over 40 residents of Roxbury.

The 758.28 gigabytes of digital files and .90 cubic feet of records date from 2007-2009. The collection contains video and audio oral histories of African American clergy, educators, businessmen, politicians, community activists, former military men, laborers, and citizens of Lower Roxbury. Interviewees discussed their families, childhoods, and geographic areas in Roxbury, including Roxbury Crossing, Sawyer Street, and Haskins Street, from the early to mid-20th century. Records include audio (.aiff / .mp3 / .wma); video (.avi / .mov / iMovieProject / MiniDVs); partial, edited, and unedited transcripts of interviews; scans; and photographs. A guide to the collection is available at: http://www.library.neu.edu/archives/collect/findaids/m165find.htm

The Lower Roxbury Black History Project collection is open for research Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., in the Northeastern University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections Department, 92 Snell Library, Boston, Massachusetts. For a list of all the Department's special collections, see: http://www.library.neu.edu/archives/collections/manuscript_collections/

April 2010

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Papers of Latina Activist, Carmen A. Pola, Available for Research

Carmen A. Pola and Mayor Raymond FlynnCarmen Pola and Mayor Ray Flynn view a report in the Mayor's office, ca. 1986.

Community activist Carmen A. Pola was born Carmen A. Villanueva Garcia in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico in 1939. In 1955, she moved to the continental United States with her family, settling briefly in the Bronx, New York, before moving to Oakland, California. While in California, Pola became involved in community activism, participating in a number of grassroots organizations concerned with education and youth activism, including La Raza Educators and young Catholic Workers. In 1972, the Pola family relocated to Boston, Massachusetts, settling in the neighborhood of Mission Hill. Pola quickly became involved in community activism in a number of ways. In 1975, she was coordinator of the Festival Puertorriqueño (Puerto Rican Festival), held annually in Boston since 1967. From 1977 to 1980, Pola was the coordinator of the Community District I Advisory Council (CDAC), part of the Citywide Parents Advisory Council (CPAC), Inc., which operated from 1974-2004 under the court-mandated desegregation of Boston Public Schools (Morgan v. Hennigan). Pola was also involved in the Bilingual Masters Parents Advisory Council which oversaw the implementation of the Voluntary Lau Compliance Plan, a 1979 agreement that outlined the responsibilities of the Boston Public Schools in providing education to bilingual students.

The 16 cubic feet of materials date from 1970-2006 and document Pola's work with the Puerto Rican Festival, the Boston Public Schools, the Project to Monitor the Code of Discipline, Mayor Raymond Flynn's Administration, and Roxbury Unites for Families and Children. The collection includes photographs, correspondence, grant proposals and reports, surveys, charts, organizational records, legal materials, political campaign literature, catalogs, booklets, and meeting minutes.

The Carmen A. Pola papers are open for research Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., in Northeastern University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections Department, 92 Snell Library, Boston, Massachusetts. A guide to the collection is available online at: http://www.library.neu.edu/archives/collect/findaids/m159find.htm.

February 2010

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Chinese Progressive Association Historical Records, Available for Research

Chinese Progressive AssociationProtest against the New England Medical Center's proposal for a garage on Parcel C, 1993.

Founded on July 17, 1977 in Boston's Chinatown, the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) supports tenants' rights, workers' rights, political empowerment, and local Chinatown issues. Among its early activities, the CPA helped found the Chinatown Housing and Land Development Task Force, worked with other activists to conduct voter registration and organize the first mayoral candidates' forum in Chinatown, and joined African American and Latino community leaders to file a successful lawsuit against gerrymandering of state electoral districts. In 1986, CPA organized with dislocated garment workers from P&L Sportswear and from Beverly Rose, another sportswear manufacturer, to win the first Chinese bilingual retraining programs in New England. The following year, the CPA Workers Center was established to continue organizing immigrant workers to advocate for their rights. In 1993, CPA worked with other Chinatown organizations and the American Friends Service Committee to organize a plebiscite on the Parcel C parking garage proposed for the center of residential Chinatown, eventually winning the designation of the parcel for community development. More recently, in 2005 the organization launched its Immigrant Workers Center Collaborative to build immigrant worker organizing and solidarity in the Chinese, Brazilian, and Latino communities. In 2006, CPA strengthened ties with communities of color, tenant organizations, and housing advocates to secure changes in Boston's Inclusionary Development Policy and its definition of housing affordability in an effort to stabilize Boston neighborhoods.

The 15.5 linear feet of material date from 1976 to 2006 and include minutes, memoranda, correspondence, event fliers and programs, newsletters, photographs, and VHS tapes.

The Chinese Progressive Association collection is open for research Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., in the Northeastern University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections Department, 92 Snell Library, Boston, Massachusetts. A guide to the collection is available online at: http://www.library.neu.edu/archives/collect/findaids/m163find.htm

January 2010

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