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POL4800: American Dissident Thought (Capstone Seminar): Web-Based Digital Collections

Web-Based Digital Collections

American History Online
American History Online, a project of the Andrew W. Mellon foundation and the University of Illinois, provides scholars with access to distributed historical digital library collections. OVer 360 collections are currently accessible through this search and browse portal, and over 416,000 items - representing over 70 percent of all materials in these collections - are from the 20th century. The primary source materials available through this portal include photographs and cultural materials, books and pamphlets, journal articles, maps, short music videos, data sets, political cartoons and posters, and oral histories.

American Radicalism (Digital Collection)
The Michigan State University Libraries has created this digital collection to highlight a range of books, periodicals, posters, and ephemera that deal with various radical movements in the United States. The materials here are divided into twelve different headings, including "Rosenberg Case", "I.W.W.", "Hollywood Ten", and "Black Panthers". The "Hollywood Ten" area is a good place to start as it contains mimeographed documents created by the wives of the movie industry people singled out by the House Un-American Committee (HUAC) and other related items. The "Sacco-Vanzetti" area contains a cartoon version of their trials created by the Daily Worker publication in 1927 and the compelling pamphlet "Ten Questions that have Never Been Answered". [Internet Scout Project]

The Camden 28
In the summer of 1971, a group of antiwar activists had been arrested in Camden, New Jersey as they attempted to break in and vandalize a local draft board office. Their number included four Catholic priests and other religious leaders, and they soon became known as the "Camden 28". This site, a companion to a POV film from PBS, takes a look into the events of that fateful summer and also reports on the lives of these activists today. Visitors to the site can watch a trailer for the documentary, read an interview with the film's creator, Anthony Giacchino, and learn more about the process of making the film. Visitors should also browse on over to the "Resources" area, here they can watch extended interviews and additional scenes from the film and also listen to a podcast. [Internet Scout Project]

The CIA's Family Jewels
The National Security Archive at George Washington University has been bringing important documents to the general public's attention for years, and in 2007 they finally received a copy of the CIA's "family jewels" report from the 1970s. They had originally filed a request for the document in 1992, and on June 26th, 2007 CIA officers finally brought the document to their headquarters. James Schlesinger, director of the CIA at the time, started the actual "family jewels" operation in 1973. Noted journalist Seymour Hersh reported on the story of this illegal domestic operation in 1974, and his investigation also revealed that the CIA had been involved in wiretapping and various break-ins since the 1950s. The document can be viewed in its entirety here, and interested parties can also search the entire document by keywords. [Internet Scout Project]

The Civil Rights Digital Library
Partner organizations including The New Georgia Encyclopedia, the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services have joined forces to create the very impressive Civil Rights Digital Library (CRDL). The intent of the CRDL is to promote an "enhanced understanding of the Movement by helping users discover primary sources and other educational materials from libraries, archives, museums, public broadcasters, and others on a national scale." Visitors can browse through the materials by place, people, events, or topics, such as "Community Organizing", "White Resistance", "Economic Justice", and "Voting Rights". Also, visitors can browse the materials by contributing institutions or media type. There's some really terrific material here, including oral histories, archival footage, and still photographs. [Internet Scout Project]

Cold War International History Project
The Cold War International History Project supports the full and prompt release of historical materials by governments on all sides of the Cold War, and seeks to accelerate the process of integrating new sources, materials and perspectives from the former "Communist bloc" with the historiography of the Cold War which has been written over the past few decades largely by Western scholars reliant on Western archival sources. It also seeks to transcend barriers of language, geography, and regional specialization to create new links among scholars interested in Cold War history. The site features numerous archival document collections, readers, and other publications on a wide variety of Cold War topics.

Dissent During Crisis in America
This thoughtful digital exhibit from the University of California at Irvine illuminates the subject of dissent during periods of crisis in U.S. history quite nicely. The items in the exhibit are from their Department of Special Collections and Archives, and the focus of this particular collection is to examine "issues of war, peace, dissent and dialogue during critical periods in the 20th century." There are six sections of the exhibit which include "Protest during the Vietnam War", "The Internment of Japanese Americans during WWII", and "McCarthyism during the Cold War". Visitors can click on each of these sections to view digitized images of ephemera (such as artworks, pamphlets, and posters) that are representative of these times of dissent and debate. Visitors should not miss the "Conscientious Objectors in World War II" area, as it contains images from a pacifist handbook published in 1939 and items published by groups like the Quakers and the Mennonites. [Internet Scout Project]

Free Speech Movement: Student Protest - University of California, Berkeley, 1964-65
Joint project of the Bancroft Library and the Free Speech Movement Archives is an impressive online collection of documents related to the Free Speech Movement. Included here are primary source materials including the texts of speeches, oral histories, books, pamphlets, reports, meeting minutes, and much more. The entire collection can be searched or browsed.

King Resources at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute
In 2005, Stanford University professor Clayborne Carson, lifelong civil rights activist, established the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute. Twenty years earlier, Coretta Scott King asked Carson to direct a project preserving and editing her husband's papers; this is one of the major initiatives of the institute. Its other main concern is to further King's civil rights work of hope and reconciliation. The section of the site on King Resources is among the best on the site, containing selected audio-visual material, photo galleries, sermons, speeches, timelines and chronologies, and other resources for students and scholar.

Land of (Un)Equal Opportunity: Documenting the Civil Rights Struggle in Arkansas
The state of Arkansas has an incredibly nuanced and complex civil rights history, and even as far back as 1868 the state had a civil rights law on the books. This rather intriguing and broad collection from the University of Arkansas chronicles the history of civil rights in the state through documents, cartoons, photographs, and other key items. The site addresses the internment of Japanese Americans in the state during World War II, the proposed adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment, and the treatment of African Americans. The materials are divided into topics that include the aforementioned subjects, along with "Women's Rights" and "NAACP, Freedom Riders, and SNCC". All told, there are over 460 items in the entire collection. [Internet Scout Project]

Malcolm X: A Research Site
"Designed to be a resource for scholarship in Black Studies," this Website offers a chronology of Malcolm X's life and a comprehensive listing of his speeches, writings, and interviews, from his letter of application to Islam in 1947 to his "last message" in 1965. Twelve of these items are currently offered in text format, and over two dozen 30-60-second sound clips of Malcolm X's speeches and interviews are also featured. The site's Webliography links to resources and Webpages focussing on Malcolm X and his work. The on-site study guide gives an overview of the history of Malcolm X and his years with the nation of Islam, including substantial references to his writings. The site is under the direction of Gerald McWorter at the University of Toledo's Africana Studies.

Mississippi Freedom Summer Project 1964 Digital Collection
Organized and sponsored by the Miami University (Ohio) library, this digital project consists of 765 documents, 27 videos, and suggested curriculum guides for classes from first grade through college. Among the documents are newspaper articles, speeches, newsletters, and photographs. Many of the documents are from a conference sponsored by the university in September 2004. These items should be separated from the records from 1964. Most of the 27 videos highlight speeches presented at the 40th anniversary conferences, including comments from Freedom Summer participants and an assessment of their activism.

National Woman's Party Digital Collection
The National Woman's Party Digital Collection contains selected items that can be browsed through one of four groups: Suffrage (1848-1920), Equal Rights (1923-1990), International (1925), and Contemporary (1970-present), with the bulk of material found under the Suffrage and Equal Rights headings. Digitized items include scrapbooks, photographs, political cartoons, and artifacts such as banners, sashes, and costumes. There is also an advanced text search option as well as links to the museum's main page, fees and instructions for obtaining reproductions, and other women's history Internet sources, including those with quite similar materials.

New Deal Network
The New Deal Network is a research and teaching resource devoted to the public works and arts projects of the New Deal. At the core of the site is a database of primary source materials - photographs, political cartoons, and texts (speeches, letters, and other historic documents) - gathered from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, the National Archives and Records Administration, the Library of Congress, and other sources. Currently there are over 20,000 items in this database, many of them previously accessible only to scholars. Unlike many databases on the Web, which represent the holdings of a particular institution, the New Deal Network is drawing from a wide variety of sources around the country to create a theme-based archive.

Occupy Wall Street: Selected Portals
The following guides offer many links to information resources about Occupy Wall Street:

Radical America Magazine Digital Archive (1967-1987)
The journal Radical American began in 1967 and was started by the Alternative Education Project in Somerville, Massachusetts. Over their history, they have published a number of issues on a number of compelling topics, ranging from community development to feminism. As part of their Digital Initiatives Project, Brown University has digitized the first twenty-year print run of the journal up to the year 1987. Visitors here can browse the contents of the journal by author or by title. Some of these titles include pieces on American Leninism, Europe's migrant workers, and the "urban crisis" of the 1970s. Visitors can also browse the digitized volumes by clicking on an interactive page that contains the covers of the available issues. Overall, this is a fine resource for social historians and members of the public with a penchant for exploring some of the overlooked facets of contemporary American history. [Internet Scout Project]

The Sixties Project (University of Virginia at Charlottesville)
Resources here include a discussion list, articles (from "Vietnam Generation"), book reviews, personal narratives, poetry, primary documents, and exhibits of visual materials. An excellent resource.

State of Siege: Mississippi Whites and the Civil Rights Movement
This companion site for a radio documentary program looks into the role that certain groups of white people played in combating the civil rights movement in Mississippi. Here visitors can listen to the complete program, or take a look at some of the separate sections, which include "The March Backward" and "The Citizens' Council". The program includes interviews and commentary from a wide range of persons, and there is particularly good coverage of one well-known race riot at the University of Mississippi and the Citizens' Council, whose goal was to maintain white supremacy. The site is rounded out by a selection of links and resources and social media buttons designed to allow users to share the program with others.

Subject Guide

Richard Kearney's picture
Richard Kearney
Electronic Resources Librarian
Reference and Information Services Office, Room 107g
David and Lorraine Cheng Library
William Paterson University
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ 07470