I am pleased to report that the Vere Harmsworth Library has organised trial access to Black Nationalism and the Revolutionary Action Movement and Papers of Amiri Baraka for Bodleian Readers. The trial ran until 18th February 2024 and is now finished.
Black Nationalism and the Revolutionary Action Movement: The Papers of Muhammad Ahmad (Max Stanford)
The Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) came into existence as a result of a year of organizing for student rights and involvement in the civil rights movement among a collective of undergraduate students at Central State College (now University) in late May to early June of 1962.
Originally focused in Philadelphia, RAM, engaged in voter registration/education drives, organized community support for the economic boycotts of the Philadelphia “400” ministers led by Rev. Leon Sullivan and held free African/African-American history classes at its office. RAM participated in support demonstrations of the struggles then being waged in the South to end racial segregation. It was also active in coalitions to eliminate police brutality against the African-American community.
RAM became a national organisation in 1964, organising African American students, raising the demand for Black studies and campaigning for economic, social and political equality. It also sent organisers into Southern states. RAM was the first African-American organization to denounce the US government’s war of aggression against the people of Vietnam and support the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (NLF). RAM was dissolved in 1968, following pressure from US government intelligence agencies (most noticeably the FBI) and local police forces.
This collection of RAM records reproduces the writings and statements of the RAM and its leaders. It also covers organizations that evolved from or were influenced by RAM and persons that had close ties to RAM. The most prominent organization that evolved from RAM was the African People’s Party. Organizations which worked with RAM included the NAACP, SNCC and Deacons of Defense. Organizations influenced by RAM include the Black Panther Party, League of Revolutionary Black Workers, Youth Organization for Black Unity, African Liberation Support Committee, and the Republic of New Africa. Individuals associated with RAM and documented in this collection include Robert F. Williams, Malcolm X, Amiri Baraka, General Gordon Baker Jr., Yuri Kochiyama, Donald Freeman, James and Grace Lee Boggs, Herman Ferguson, Askia Muhammad Toure (Rolland Snellings), and Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael).
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Papers of Amiri Baraka, Poet Laureate of the Black Power Movement
The collection consists of materials from the years 1913 through 1998 that document African American author and activist Amiri Baraka and were gathered by Dr. Komozi Woodard in the course of his research. The extensive documentation includes poetry, organizational records, print publications, articles, plays, speeches, personal correspondence, oral histories, as well as some personal records. The materials cover Baraka’s involvement in the politics in Newark, N.J. and in Black Power movement organizations such as the Congress of African People, the National Black Conference movement, the Black Women’s United Front. Later materials document Baraka’s increasing involvement in Marxism.
The collection has been organised into 18 series,
- Series I: Black Arts Movement, 1961-1998
- Series II: Black Nationalism,, 1964-1977
- Series III: Correspondence, 1967-1973
- Series IV: Newark (New Jersey), 1913-1980
- Series V: Congress of African People, 1960-1976 – Organisation founded by Baraka in 1970 to advance his own vision of African cultural nationalism.
- Series VI: National Black Conferences and National Black Assembly, 1968-1975 –Includes the 1972 Convention in Gary, Indiana, where delegates adopted the National Black Political Agenda, also known as the Gary declaration and formed the National Black Assembly (NBA).
- Series VII: Black Women’s United Front, 1975-1976 -Formed in 1974 by Amina Baraka (Sylvia Jones), the wife of Amiri Baraka.
- Series VIII: Student Organization for Black Unity, 1971
- Series IX: African Liberation Support Committee, 1973-1976
- Series X: Revolutionary Communist League, 1974-1982 – founded by Bakara when CAP disintegrated in conflict, and reflects Baraka’s move away from nationalism to a Marxist position.
- Series XI: African Socialism, 1973
- Series XII: Black Marxists, 1969-1980– includes materials on black Marxist contemporaries of Baraka, and older black Marxists such as Harry Haywood, C.L.R. James, and Odis Hyde. The series also includes files on the All African Revolutionary Party, the Black Workers Congress, and the Progressive Labor Party.
- Series XIII: National Black United Front, 1979-1981
- Series XIV: Miscellaneous Materials, 1978-1988
- Series XV: Serial Publications, 1968-1984
- Series XVI: Oral Histories, 1984-1986 – transcripts from sixteen interviews conducted by Komozi Woodard and his assistants as part of an oral history project entitled, “The Making of Black NewArk: An Oral History of the Impact of the Freedom Movement on Newark Politics.” Most of the people interviewed were primarily local Newark activists, although there are also interviews with Baraka, Maulana Ron Karenga, and scholar John Henrik Clarke. This series of oral histories is one of the most unique and valuable parts of this collection.
- Series XVII: Komozi Woodard’s Office Files, 1956-1986
You can access the Papers of Amari Baraka using your Single Sign On here.
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