Archives and Special Collections

15
Sep16

The Media and Boston Public Schools Desegregation

Posted by: Jessica Bennett

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Unpublished photograph by Clif Garboden September 1974

Unpublished photograph by Clif Garboden
September 1974

When the court-ordered desegregation of the Boston Public School system led to controversial practice of busing in the 1970s, the local and national media covered it prolifically. Pictures of protests and school buses flanked by police officers made for eye-catching footage. But as Phase II of Busing approached in September of 1975, some residents felt they were being unfairly represented.  Citizens of Charlestown complained that “the national media is always throwing up that we’re a violent people” as Newsweek reporters camped out to see “the second act of Boston’s national spectacle.” To some extent, the Boston Phoenix, did the same.[1] However, very few pictures of anti-busing protests appear in the paper. Those that do create an impact; one chilling example however shows a group of young white men standing around a burning effigy captioned with a racial slur published on September 16th.

The Boston Phoenix, September 16, 1975

The Boston Phoenix, September 16, 1975

The Boston Phoenix instead chose to focus on individuals, a piece on Judge Wendell Garrity, the federal judge who ordered the desegregation, ran on September 9, 1975 and an article written by Tom Sheehan, ran on September 16, 1975, titled “Three Families in the Midst of Busing” which profiled three families dealing with busing in different ways. The Hollis family, an African-American family being bused from Jamaica Plain to Charlestown, the McDonoughs, a white family being bused who supported the endeavor, and the Wrenns, a white family who opposed the decision. Even the articles regarding the protests focused on police officers and how they dealt with the protester’s attitudes towards them rather than the protesters themselves.

Alongside these articles Boston Phoenix readers looked into the faces of those taking part in the drama; school committee members, police officers, parents, and most all, the children. One of the most prolific of these photographers, capturing the faces of these players was Clif Garboden.

The Boston Phoenix, September 16, 1975

The Boston Phoenix, September 16, 1975

Clif Garboden began working for the Boston Phoenix as a freelancer in the late 1960s, eventually coming on the staff full-time. Garboden rose  to the position of Senior Editor by the time he left the Boston Phoenix in 2009. During the turbulent years of the sixties and seventies, Garboden took his share of photographs of events but many times he focused on the individuals involved. While he was still a college student at Boston University, his photographs captured speakers, musicians, and professors for BU News. Even at that early point in his career, his photographs show the events occurring without losing the individuality of the people in the crowd.

His work during Busing is no different. The September 9th article on Judge Garrity includes not only a photograph by Garboden of the school committee in session which gives a sense of their work environment but the next page also provides close-ups of the members, their large name plagues dominating the foreground and their expressions betraying their thoughts and emotions of the subject matter. In the article “Three Families in the Midst of Busing”, Garboden photographed the pro-busing family the McDonoughs. While the photographers of the other two families chose to portray their subjects in the midst of action, Garboden’s shots are portraits, leaving it up to the reader to make their own judgement. This is not simply an editing choice, the Garboden Negative Collection, now available at Northeastern University’s Archives, shows that every shot he took was framed in this manner.

Anti-Busing Rally, Charlestown, August 1975 Unpublished Photo by Clif Garboden

Anti-Busing Rally, Charlestown, August 1975
Unpublished Photo by Clif Garboden

The Garboden Negative Collection offers a peak into the editorial practices of the Boston Phoenix.  Garboden did take photographs of an anti-busing rally in Charleston but none of them ever made it to the paper. He took pictures of the reporting being done by the television news stations, possibly for an article regarding how the rest of the media was portraying the events. Instead, one of the most beautiful pictures he contributed to the Busing articles shows a lines of children, mostly Asian-American lined up at a bus stop in Chinatown accompanying an article by Nancy Pomerene. Although only one was published, the negatives show the amount of time Garboden took trying to preserve the sweet smiles of children who just wanted to go to school.

In the midst of the hullabaloo Garboden and the Boston Phoenix tried to highlight the stories of those overshadowed by the rest of the media and their collections allow those narratives to remain for future generations.

 

 

 


 

[1] Dumanoski, Dianne. “Charlestown – ‘My Town” – Braces for Busing.” The Boston Phoenix, September 02, 1975.

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Collections, Serendipity

7
Sep16

Recently digitized video collection shares highlights from Northeastern’s history

Posted by: Joey Heinen

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One of the Library’s Digital Publishing program’s main goals is to digitize and disseminate high-interest, Northeastern-produced materials in the Archives and elsewhere on campus. The Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections collects, preserves, and provides access to significant moments from the University’s history as well as the history of underrepresented communities in the Boston area. Preserving some of the prized video assets from both the social justice and Northeastern collections has been a particular focus lately, and some recently digitized hidden gems from the University Photography and Media Collection happens to showcase both vital Northeastern history and social issues affecting the community around it.

One particular highlight is a video of a speech which Jesse Jackson gave on campus in 1987. In it, Jackson, well-known as an advocate for the African-American community, speaks mainly about the AIDS crisis; specifically addressing the unwillingness of the Reagan administration to combat the epidemic (16,908 people died that year). Jackson highlights the economic, racial, and social disparities that were so deeply embedded in the AIDS epidemic, and calls on local and national leaders to do what they can. You can view this video and others like it in the University Photography and Media Collection.

Jesse Jackson speaking at Northeastern, 1987

Jesse Jackson speaking at Northeastern, 1987

Posted in: African-American Studies, Archives and Special Collections, Biology, Health Sciences, Online Collections, Political Science, Serendipity

14
Jul16

A Proud Past

Posted by: Sarah Sweeney

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A Proud Past Website

Located in Snell Library, Northeastern’s Archives and Special Collections department collects the University’s history, as well as the history of social movements in Boston. Their goal is to secure and make accessible important and at-risk historical records. One of the special collections that lives in the Digital Repository Service (DRS) is the Boston-Bouvé College collection. Featuring photographs and records ranging from the college’s founding in 1913 until 1981, this archive helps trace the complex history of how the Boston School of Physical Education became Boston-Bouvé College.

The collection was first made into a website in 2003. After over a decade, the site was becoming outdated and hard to maintain. With the pilot program of the DRS Project Toolkit (now known as CERES: Exhibit Toolkit), there was an opportunity to breathe new life into the old website.

The Toolkit works on a repository-based architecture. First, groups like the archives load items into the DRS. Then, they are cataloged. For this project, cataloging is still ongoing due to the large amount of digital items in the collection. Then, once a collection is in the DRS, the Toolkit can help users easily create WordPress-based website filled with exhibits. In this case, Aubrey Butts, a Public History Master’s Student, used CERES: Exhibit Toolkit to re-create the old website with a fresh face, fresh metadata, and an explorable, searchable digital archive.

At the new website, users can learn about the history of the school, its curriculum, its leaders, and student life. In addition to the curated exhibits, the archive holds 128 images and 7 documents that users can explore and interact with.

To view the new website, go to aproudpast.library.northeastern.edu.

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections

13
Jun16

Celebrate Pride with the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus records

Posted by: Dominique Medal

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When the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus (BGMC) gave its first concert in June 1982, they were beginning an annual tradition of singing with pride during Pride.

2016-2017 will be BGMC’s 35th concert season. Let’s take a look back on their first ten years of celebrating Pride with the Boston community.

Boston Gay Men's Chorus 10th Anniversary promotional mailer.

10th Anniversary mailer.

Section of the concert program, June 1987.

Section of the concert program, June 1987.

(more…)

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Serendipity

15
Apr16

BPS Desegregation Project: Wading through 87 linear feet of documents.

Posted by: Corinne Bermon

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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.

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With more than 207 archival boxes spread out over six collections to pull from the shelves and vet for digitizing for the online repository, my collaborator Northeastern Ph.D. student Meghan Doran and I needed a strategy. We wanted to select items that would not overlap with the other participating repositories in the Boston Library Consortium project. As we diligently began this process, two main methods of approach emerged as Meghan wrote the directive for our selection process: digitize unique materials and difficult materials.

We began to curate materials that highlighted the struggle in Boston Public Schools in the records of Citywide Educational Coalition (CWEC), and Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO), as well as the papers of Phyllis M. Ryan, Carmen A. Pola, Frieda Garcia, and Frank J. Miranda. Through the summer, the two of us digitized documents, photos, and printed ephemera relating to the lead-up to court ordered busing proclamation issued by Judge Garrity in 1974 and the allocation of funding for projects aimed at reducing minority isolation in the schools under Chapter 636.  Materials that were of particular interest as well were the parent councils of each organization, who were incredibly active and integral to the process of desegregation and monitoring the schools.

20150310_122659_zpshavqgy13Each collection has proven to be unique in completing the picture of the structures that were put in place before, during, and after the court ordered busing. Through the correspondence in the collections of CWEC and METCO, we aimed to highlight the different approaches to and the debates that surrounded the desegregation case and also show the personal side of how it affected parents and children.  There was so much strife that surrounded this process that it was easy to overlook the fact that much of Boston area was in favor of racially balancing the schools.  It felt important to include the supportive letters from parents as well as the letters protesting the court orders.

My personal favorite collection to digitize has been the Phyllis M. Ryan papers. Ryan did extraordinary work with James Breeden, the Episcopalian priest who helped orchestrate the Freedom Stay Out Days and the Freedom Schools, as well as with the Massachusetts Advocacy Center and the planning of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s visit to Boston that ended in the two and a half-mile march from the South End to the Boston Common. Because she had her hands in so many organizations, it was especially important to stick to our devised set of criteria.  Many fascinating documents were relegated to the second or third tier of scanning because they only tangentially connected to the desegregation of the schools, but connected to the civil rights fight overall more.

As we keep forging ahead with this project, I look forward to uncovering the treasures in the Roxbury Multi-Service Center and other collections that are found in Northeastern University’s social justice collections.

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Online Collections