Boston

Select Archives and Special Collections materials are now available in the Digital Public Library of America

NAACP pickets School CommitteeNearly 9,000 primary source documents and images curated and digitized by Northeastern University Libraries' Archives and Special Collections are now available in the Digital Public Library of America. The DPLA is a national resource that brings together digital materials held by American libraries, archives, and museums. Northeastern University Libraries' contribution to DPLA was made possible through our membership in Digital Commonwealth (our local DPLA Hub), who harvest the metadata and thumbnails from the DRS and make them available in the DPLA. The full set of contributed materials include videos from Northeastern's Holocaust Awareness Week programming, records from the Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción community development program, and many more. More than a third of the contributed materials document the desegregation of Boston Public Schools and busing of students in the 1970's and 1980's. With assistance from the library's Digital Metadata & Ingest group, Archives staff organized, selected, and digitized approximately 3,300 photographs, documents, and other printed ephemera created in the years before and after the busing proclamation was issued by Judge Garrity in 1974. The Archives chose to focus on Boston's history of desegregation as part of a coordinated effort with other institutions in the Boston Library Consortium to collect and digitize materials that "illuminate the complexity of state- and city-wide politics, community activism, and advocacy." As Northeastern, UMass Boston, Suffolk University, and other Boston-area institutions make their primary source materials available to the public, the DPLA's collection of artifacts documenting the desegregation of Boston Public Schools will grow. The end result will be a robust shared archive that will aid in national teaching and learning activities focused on the history and legacy of segregation and racism in the Unites States. The Boston Public Schools, for example, are already integrating these primary sources into the curriculum in an effort to “ensure that every Boston Public Schools student learns about this important and troubling chapter in our city’s history.” These 9,000 files are just the beginning of Northeastern University Libraries' contribution to the DPLA; we will continue to contribute to Digital Commonwealth and DPLA as more materials become available in our local repository.

The Media and Boston Public Schools Desegregation

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 [caption id="attachment_153804" align="alignleft" width="374"]Unpublished photograph by Clif Garboden September 1974 Unpublished photograph by Clif Garboden
September 1974[/caption] 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. [caption id="attachment_153798" align="alignright" width="277"]The Boston Phoenix, September 16, 1975 The Boston Phoenix, September 16, 1975[/caption] 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. [caption id="attachment_153803" align="alignleft" width="300"]The Boston Phoenix, September 16, 1975 The Boston Phoenix, September 16, 1975[/caption] 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. [caption id="attachment_153806" align="alignright" width="399"]Anti-Busing Rally, Charlestown, August 1975 Unpublished Photo by Clif Garboden Anti-Busing Rally, Charlestown, August 1975
Unpublished Photo by Clif Garboden[/caption] 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.

“Neighborhood Matters” Fall 2015 lunchtime movies announced

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 co-curated by the Northeastern Center for the Arts and the Archives and Special Collections at the Northeastern University Library.
 The Series' fall series includes three films about the North End, Chinatown, and the impacts of the City's 1974 school desegregation efforts.

Boston’s North End: America’s Italian Neighborhood
Tue, Oct 13, 2015
12:00 pm, Snell Library 90, Free Lunch
Special Guest: Maureen McNamara; Filmmaker Nancy Caruso, Co-founder, North End Waterfront Central Artery Committee From 1870-1900, more than 4 million southern Italians left their home country, fleeing violence, social chaos, and widespread poverty. Boston’s North End tells the story of the individuals and families who found their way their way to Boston and settled in what became one of America’s oldest “Little Italy” communities.

The Struggle Over Parcel C: How Boston’s Chinatown Won a Victory in the Fight Against Institutional Expansionism and Environmental Racism
Tue, Oct 27, 2015
12:00 pm, Snell Library 90, Free Lunch
Special Guests: Giles Li, Executive Director of Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCMC) Tunney Lee, Chief Architect in Chinatown's development and professor emeritus at MIT The Struggle Over Parcel C was created by Mike Blockenstein with the Asian Community Development Corporation and Boston-area high school students and is part of A Chinatown Banquet. This series of short documentaries explores the history, culture, and politics that shaped Boston’s most densely populated residential neighborhood, Chinatown.
Tue, Nov 10, 2015
12:00 pm, Snell Library 90, Free Lunch
Special Guests Donna Bivens, Director Boston Busing/Desegregation Project at the Union of Minority Neighborhoods (UMN) Dr. Polly F. Attwood, Northeastern University’s Department of Education Can We Talk? Learning from Boston’s Busing/Desegregation is a film that provides an intimate look at how people’s lives and the Boston community were changed by the 1970’s educational and racial crisis that garnered national attention.

Lawsuit Against the MBTA for Unlawful Censorship of Condom Campaign Ads

Did you know that in 1994, the AIDS Action Committee sued the MBTA for unlawful censorship of a subway campaign featuring the use of condoms?  Seems hard to believe, but you can read all about it in our Archives and Special Collections, which has received a donation of new material from former AIDS Action Committee Director Thomas McNaught (1991-1996).

This donation adds to the existing AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts Records in the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections.

While processing the new materials I noticed the photo of Captain B. Careful on the Boston Common. It stood out  for a few reasons. His sheer ingenuity for costume design. The huge smile on his face even though it was noticeably cold outside.

[caption id="attachment_8106" align="aligncenter" width="279" caption="Captain B. Careful, Condom Campaign. AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, Inc. (M61, Box 42, Folder 14.)"][/caption]

Less tangibly his image stood out to me because he symbolizes a continuity in Boston's legacy of advocating for the power of knowledge and striving toward equal rights and opportunity for all. 

In 1992,  AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts (AAC)  introduced New England's first public service television AIDS prevention campaign directed at gay men.

They also launched the United States' first statewide transit campaign for AIDS awareness by placing condom posters on 437 buses throughout Massachusetts ultimately leading to a legal battle with the MBTA.

Highlights of the collection include:

  • photographs and press
  • outreach material regarding the condom campaign
  • materials on the AAC's education and prevention campaigns
  • documentation regarding the AAC’s lawsuit against the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) for unlawful censorship of a subway campaign featuring the use of condoms in 1994

Blue and Green Line Passengers: Can You Hear Me Now? Good!

It has happened to all of us: you're talking on the phone when you go underground to the Copley T station and the call gets dropped, or you're trying to send a friend a very important text message while on the Green Line when you realize you don't have any service. Those few moments when you're disconnected and isolated from civilization are excruciatingly frustrating. But there's good news! The Boston Globe has just reported that by the end of the year, the MBTA's Green and Blue lines will feature cell phone service. Underground cell service is already available on the entire Orange line and part of the Red line, so it was only natural that passengers on the Blue and Green lines would someday be able to gab on the phone while riding the T too. Unfortunately, the Prudential and Symphony stations on the Green line's E branch will not be getting cell reception until the end of 2012, along with the still unserviced areas of the Red line. However, installation of cell reception on the rest of the Green line and all of the Blue line should be completed by the end of 2011. All of the MBTA's 35 underground stations and 19 miles of tunnels are expected to feature cell phone service by the end of 2012. So Blue and Green line riders, get ready to talk, text, and check email while riding the T. You can even use the new cell service to Text a Librarian and get help from a librarian at Snell! But please, be courteous while talking on your cell phones. Just because nothing will be stopping you from chatting obnoxiously loud to your friend on your phone about what you did last weekend doesn't mean you should do it. If you are respectful of others around you while using your phone, riding the T can be a pleasant experience for all. To find out more read the Boston Globe article and for research and books about the history of the MBTA, search NUCat, Northeastern's library catalog.