Advocacy, Protest, Resistance: A Beinecke Top Ten List

December 7, 2016

By Nancy Kuhl

Ten fascinating books, photos, collections, archives, documents and topics…related to advocacy, protest, and resistance.
Josephine Baker
Born in 1906 in St. Louis, Missouri as Freda Josephine McDonald, Josephine Baker was a dancer on Broadway before she moved to France in 1925, where she became an instant superstar. Upon her return to the United States in 1936, however, Baker faced aggressive and racist reactions, which provoked her sudden return to France. There, she worked for the French Resistance and was awarded the Croix de Guerre and Legion of Honour for her service. In the Beinecke’s Josephine Baker Collection, there is a decree for the Médaille de la Résistance from October 8, 1946. Baker returned to the United States in the 1950s and was an active member of the Civil Rights Movement, demonstrating, boycotting segregated establishments, and speaking at the March on Washington in 1963.
Josephine Baker Collection Call Number: JWJ MSS 108 (Box 4)

Leon F. Litwack Collection of Berkeley, California, Protest Literature
Leon F. Litwack, an historian of American slavery and the Reconstruction era, compiled a collection of newspapers, periodicals, flyers, handbills, newsletters, sound recordings, and reports that document the protest movements of the 1960s and 1970s primarily in Berkeley, California, a famously socially active city. These materials relate to the Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam War protests, the Black Panther Party and the Free Speech Movement.
Call Number: WA MSS S-2616

Gwendolyn Bennett Papers
A prolific visual artist and writer during the Harlem Renaissance, Gwendolyn Bennett used her powerful artistic voice as a form of resistance. Her poems “Hatred” and “Sonnet” were featured in Countee Cullen’s Caroling Dusk, An Anthology of Verse by Black Poets of the Twenties in 1927 and her poems “Heritage” and “Sonnet 2” were featured in James Weldon Johnson’s The Book of American Negro Poetry in 1931. The Beinecke’s Gwendolyn Bennett Papers contains typescript versions of these poems.
Collection Call Number: JWJ MSS 106 (Box 2)

Living Theatre Records
Judith Malina and Julien Beck founded The Living Theatre in 1947 as a radical theatrical space that served as an alternative to the commercial, mainstream theater of the time. The theater pioneered dramatic works by Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, and John Ashbery. The Beinecke’s collection contains correspondence, general and publicity files, scripts, photographs, and audiovisual material that relates to the Living Theatre and its relationships to other avant-garde art and radial political movements in the United States and Europe.  
Call Number: Multiple Call Numbers, see link below

Gerald Robert Vizenor Papers
Gerald Robert Vizenor is a writer of Anishinaabe heritage and an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, White Earth Reservation. His work consists of fiction, poetry, and writings on Native American literature, history, and culture. His 1991 novel The Heirs of Columbus, a draft of which is housed in the Gerald Vizenor Papers at the Beinecke, inverts the history of Christopher Columbus by reimagining the historical figure as a descendent of Mayans and Sephardic Jews, who seeks to return home to America.
Call Number: YCAL MSS 539 (Box 1)

Alexander Lmanian, Photographs of Washington, D.C., and New Haven, Connecticut
Alexander Lmanian was a sergeant in the United States Army in World War II, and after the war became a photographer for the New Haven Register. This collection features photographs he took of New Haven and the Yale campus, but also features photographs from Washington, D.C. of the riots that took place after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968. The photos provide historical, visual insight on the state of Washington, D.C. after national trauma.  
Call Number: GEN MSS 590 (Box 1)

Printed Ephemera Related to African American Political Activism and Arts
Spanning broadly from 1913 to 1990, this collection includes documents from organizations primarily in the Philadelphia area, including chapters of the Black Panther Party and the Peace and Freedom Party as well as documents from the local and national campaigns of the Communist Party of the United States of America. Printed ephemera include handbills, leaflets, direct mail, posters, and other documents.
Call Number: JWJ MSS 36

Antonio Ochoa Carrillo Papers and Benito Juárez Correspondence
Antonio Ochoa Carrillo, a Mexican attorney, mine owner, who served two terms as governor of Chihuahua, endorsed liberal reforms such as compulsory education for children and a state lottery to support local charities. The papers include his correspondence with Benito Juárez who served five terms as the president of Mexico from 1858 to 1872. During his presidency, he led Mexican government in resistance to the French occupation and overthrew the Mexican Empire to restore the Republic of Mexico. Their correspondence provides extensive insight and information into the European Intervention, including 56 letters from Benito Juárez, and other letters from future presidents Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada and José María Iglesias. Collection materials are in Spanish and additionally have English translations.
Call Number: WA MSS S-2938

Czesław Miłosz Papers
Czelaw Miłosz (1911-2004) was a polish poet, essayist, and Nobel Laureate who grew up in Lithuania amidst unstable governmental systems and regimes in Eastern Europe and witnessed the cycle of social upheaval as a result of the two world wars. During the Second World War, Miłosz released several secret publications and published his collection of poems called Wiersze (which translates to Poems) under the pseudonym Jan Syruć. His 1955 prose writing titled Zdobycie władzy or The Seizure of Power garnered Miłosz international attention, and explored the moral and psychological issues that result from the repression of totalitarianism. Miłosz ennobled themes of optimism, hope, and recovery in his poetry in order to create a form of literary resistance to the war and Nazi regime. The Papers document his career and creative process, including correspondences and writings that reflect the themes of Miłosz’s poetry, the struggle of creative expression under a totalitarian regime, the painful experience of exile, and the nature of faith.
Call Number: GEN MSS 661

Ella Barksdale Brown Papers
Ella Barksdale Brown was born in 1871 to former slaves and was an educator, anti-lynching activist, suffragist, and journalist from Milledgeville, Georgia, and additionally, was a member of the first graduating class of Spelman Seminary, now Spelman College. She moved to Jersey City, New Jersey in 1901 with her husband, and is credited with introducing the study of African American history in Jersey City public schools. Her Papers at the Beinecke consist of correspondences with leading figures in prominent civil rights organizations, written material such as two of her own speeches and essays titled “The Negro’s Burden” and “The Negro’s Contribution), and other documents that pertain to her teaching, war relief efforts, efforts in women’s and civil rights and other issues pertaining to social justice.
Call Number: JWJ MSS 41

Complied by Raffi Donatich, Y’19

Beinecke Top Tens gather (approximately) ten related items to give an at-a-glance look at some of the Library’s interesting, important, strange, compelling, beautiful holdings. To see more lists, click here: Beinecke Top Tens. To suggest a list subject, contact us: Top Ten Ideas.