Archives and Special Collections

12
Feb18

Neighborhood Matters, Spring 2018

Posted by: Giordana Mecagni

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Neighborhood Matters’ Spring 2018 will focus on transportation in Boston. We will discuss how transportation has changed the fabric of the city by focusing on several key flashpoints: “I-695,” a highway rejected by community activists in the 1970s; the “Big Dig”, one of the nation’s largest infrastructure projects ever completed (1980s-1990s); and the “Silver Line,” (Phase 1 2000s) including current plans for expansion and improvement.

All events are free and open to the public, lunch will be served.

 

2/3: Equal or Better: The Story of The Silver Line

12 PM, Snell Library, Room 90 (Film runtime 53 minutes)

Featuring Special Guests Kris Carter and Scott Hamwey

In 1987 the Washington Street Elevated train was torn down and the Washington Street corridor to Dudley Square was left without rapid transit for the first time since 1901.

Equal or Better follows the story of a misstated promise to three Boston communities and the issues of equality still present in our country’s transportation priorities.

Scott Hamwey leads the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Transit Planning team and oversaw the planning phase of the Silver Line Gateway Project. The Silver Line Gateway Project encompasses four new bus stations and connects Chelsea and East Boston (via the Blue Line’s Airport Station) with the Red Line’s South Station and the Seaport District.

Kris Carter is the Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics. He is a non-practicing engineer, an optimistic urban planner, and a self-taught filmmaker. He has a not so secret love for Boston (his adopted home) and working through challenging human-centered urban problems. Kris has been nationally recognized by the APA for his blending of storytelling and urban planning and the Federal Labs Consortium for his innovation in transportation work.

3/15: People before Highways: Boston Activists, Urban Planners, and a New Movement for City Making

12PM Snell Library, Room 422 (Book talk)

A book talk featuring special guest Karilyn Crockett, who is the author of People Before Highways: Boston Activists, Urban Planners, and a New Movement for City Making. Dr. Crockett is director of Economic Policy & Research for the City of Boston. She holds a Ph.D. in American studies from Yale University.

Linking archival research, (including in Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections), ethnographic fieldwork, and oral history, Karilyn Crockett in People before Highways offers ground-level analysis of the social, political, and environmental significance of a local anti-highway protest and its lasting national implications. The story of how an unlikely multiracial coalition of urban and suburban residents, planners, and activists emerged to stop an interstate highway is one full of suspenseful twists and surprises, including for the actors themselves.

4/3: Great Projects: The Building of America ‘The Big Dig’” (WGBH, 2003)

12PM Snell Library, Room 90 (Film runtime 56 minutes)

Featuring Special Guest Fred Salvucci, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and former Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation.

In the post World War II years, urban highways divided neighborhoods; nothing stood in the way of their construction. In Boston, the Central Artery cut through downtown Boston and the city was left with an ugly green monster, an elevated highway in the heart of its historic and business districts. By the 1970s, city planners wanted to tear it down but the existing highway was so vital to the city’s transportation that closing it down for any length of time was unfeasible.

The solution to this dilemma became known as the Big Dig. A local engineer named Fred Salvucci, (whose own grandmother had been displaced by the Mass Pike years earlier), championed a complex plan that resulted in a transportation renaissance in Boston and a renewal of much of the city’s infrastructure.

 About Neighborhood Matters

Neighborhood Matters is a lunchtime series that celebrates the ways in which community groups have shaped the neighborhoods surrounding the Northeastern campus. This series is curated by Northeastern University Library Archives and Special Collections with the assistance of Library Communications and Events.

Neighborhood Matters is co-sponsored by Northeastern University City and Community Affairs and Northeastern University Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion.

Archives and Special Collections at Northeastern University Libraries

The Archives and Special Collections at Northeastern University Libraries houses and carefully curates a diverse collection of historical records relating to Boston’s fight for social justice; preserving the history of Boston’s social movements, including civil & political rights, immigrants rights, homelessness and urban and environmental justice. They focus on the history of Boston’s African American, Asian American, LGBTQ, Latino and other communities, as well as Boston’s public infrastructure, neighborhoods, and natural environments.

The primary source materials they collect and make available are used by the community members, students, faculty, scholars, journalists, and others from across the world as evidence on which histories are built. An understanding of the past can help inspire the next generation of leaders to fight for economic, political, and social rights.

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Library News and Events, Serendipity

31
Jan18

Boston Public Schools collection project complete

Posted by: Giordana Mecagni

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The following is a series written by archivists, academics, activists, and educators making available primary source material, providing pedagogical support, and furthering the understanding of Boston Public School’s Desegregation history.

The beginning of a multi-archival scanning project that would result in the Boston Public Schools Desegregation Collection occurred in 2014 after a collaboration with the Boston Public Schools on school desegregation curricula. Now, in 2018, six archives’ materials totaling in over 4,500 items have been unified through an effort of selection, scanning, and cataloging.

As of February 1, the collection is now available for public research through a portal created by the Northeastern University Archives & Special Collections: https://bpsdesegregation.library.northeastern.edu. The portal includes guides on how to use the collection, materials for educators, and other resources including timelines, exhibits, and links to other school desegregation collections.

You are invited you to explore the collection as you see fit, by browsing materials contextualized through the portal or by searching using the Digital Public Library of America widget on the home page. Materials narrating the experiences of students, teachers, parents, and other community members in the midst of school desegregation in Boston await you.

This project was made possible by the collaborative efforts of the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections, University Archives and Special Collections at UMass Boston, Boston College Libraries, the Moakley Archive and Institute at Suffolk University, the Boston City Archives, and the National Archives and Records Administration in Boston and the support of Digital Commonwealth and the Digital Public Library of America. Along with collaborative partnerships, this project received financial and administrative support from the Boston Library Consortium.

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Serendipity

19
Jan18

Northeastern Archives featured in “Empower : The Campaign for Northeastern University”

Posted by: Dominique Medal

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Empower : The Campaign for Northeastern University

Northeastern University recently revealed the final total of its historic Empower campaign: $1.4 billion raised, for students, faculty, and research. President Aoun fêted Empower’s success at an event with donors on October 26 in the Cabot Center. Attendees engaged with interactive exhibits highlighting faculty and student research, including, on a giant 180-degree screen, videos that featured Northeastern’s history, its bright future, and the impact of Empower.

Northeastern’s Marketing and Communications Department worked closely with staff from the Archives and Special Collections department to find photographs, documents, maps, stored in the Archives to illustrate the deep and rich history of the University, starting with its beginnings in 1898 as the Evening Institute for Young Men. Archival items used in the video include photographs of early sports teams and King Husky I, the dog who was the first Northeastern mascot, and selections from the Cauldron yearbook. The video traces the history of Northeastern’s programs, including the nation’s first-ever Automobile School and cooperative education, and the development of campus from the YMCA and the site of the first World Series to the construction of Richards Hall and beyond.  In all, over 100 archival items were included in this testament to Northeastern’s growth and development.

 

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections

19
Dec17

BPS Desegregation Project: Visualizing Racial Disparity in Boston, c. 1970

Posted by: Molly Brown

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The following is a series written by archivists, academics, activists, and educators making available primary source material, providing pedagogical support, and furthering the understanding of Boston Public School’s Desegregation history.

View all posts

This post was reprinted from Anna Kijas of the Boston College Libraries Digital Scholarship Group: https://ds.bc.edu/visualizing-racial-disparity-in-boston-c-1970/ with permission by Molly Brown, 11/13/2017

During the spring and summer of this year, I collaborated on an exhibit, Desegregating Boston Schools: Crisis and Community Activism, 1963-1977, with Sarah Melton and Dr. Eric Weiskott. The main exhibit is at the John J. Burns Library, and a smaller complementary exhibit is on view in the Reading Room, Level 3, Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr. Library. Curating this exhibit required doing research in special collections at John J. Burns Library, specifically in the Louise Bonar and Carol Wolfe collection, Citywide Coordinating Council Records, and the Robert F. Drinan, SJ Congressional Papers.

One aspect of this exhibit was to create visualizations and infographics using racial demographic data for the City of Boston, racial distribution of students within the Boston Public Schools, and outcomes of the Boston School Committee election of 1973. The data for these visualizations was drawn from the materials in the Bonar/Wolfe collection, Citywide Coordinating Council Records, 1970 Census, and Analyze Boston.

To complement the materials in the exhibit in the John J. Burns Library, which include a map depicting the total black population in the City of Boston (1970) juxtaposed with the wards won by the only black candidate—Patricia Bonner-Lyons, who ran for the Boston School Committee in 1973—I created these three density maps. The maps were created with tract-level 1970 Census data, which depicts the neighborhoods within the City of Boston as established by the Bureau of the Census. The shading (light to dark) of each neighborhood correlates with the number (low to high) of people according to race, as documented in the 1970 Census. From these visualizations it is easy to see that neighborhoods, including South Boston, West Roxbury, Roslindale, and Jamaica Plain were predominantly white, while the neighborhoods of Roxbury and Dorchester were predominantly black.

Density map depicting population according to racial demographics (white, black, and hispanic) in the City of Boston, ca. 1970. (Click on the image to open the interactive map in separate tab).

There are many different GIS platforms and tools available, but for this project I used Tableau Public a freely available software that enables you to create interactive data visualizations (not just maps!). The neighborhoods in these maps are created with a shapefile that I generated from the Neighborhood Change Database 1970-2010. Tableau Public provides the option to connect a spatial file, which will then allow you to render a spatial visualization and identify the specific dimensions (for this map: population by race) that will be shown in an info box upon clicking or hovering over the map.

Dimensions are visible in the pop-up box.

The full workbook for this visualization can be downloaded from the “City of Boston 1970 (test)” page on my Tableau Public profile page.

Anna Kijas:: https://wp.me/p8gxJc-k8

https://ds.bc.edu/

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections

27
Nov17

Northeastern Archives’ Elma Lewis honored by Celebrity Series of Boston

Posted by: Molly Brown

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Elma Lewis, whose papers reside in the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections and is the founder of the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts, the National Center of Afro-American Artists, and the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists will be celebrated along with choreographer Alvin Ailey by the Celebrity Series of Boston at John Hancock Hall on Wednesday, December 6 at 7:00 PM.

Celebrity Series of Boston’s event is entitled “REVELATIONS: The Legacies of Alvin Ailey and Boston’s Elma Lewis.” The event is free and open to the public.

If you are interested in attending please follow this link to register and find more information: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/revelations-the-legacies-of-alvin-ailey-and-bostons-elma-lewis-tickets-39629597192?aff=cswebsite

If you are interested in finding out more about Elma Lewis and her legacy in the arts and African American communities in Boston visit the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections finding aid for her papers here: http://www.library.neu.edu/archives/collect/findaids/m38findprint.htm

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Library News and Events