Recorded by Moses Moon (known at the time as Alan Ribback) and assisted by Norris McNamara during 1963 and 1964, the collection includes audio recordings of interviews with civil rights leaders and participants as well as free-style recordings of mass meetings, voter registration events, and other gatherings organized by Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). This collection provides a mostly unfiltered documentation of significant moments in the civil rights movement.
Scope and Contents:
This collection consists of 115 reel to reel audio recordings containing interviews, mass meetings, demonstrations, and conversations concerning the civil rights movement, and in particular the voter registration drives organized by SNCC in Alabama and Mississippi in 1963 and 1964. Mass meetings were recorded in Greenwood, Mississippi; Americus, Georgia; Selma, Alabama; Jackson, Mississippi; Danville, Virginia; Washington, D.C.; Hattiesburg, Mississippi; and Indianola, Mississippi. Major demonstrations recorded include the March on Washington in August of 1963, Freedom Day in Selma, Alabama in October of 1963, and Freedom Day in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in January of 1964. Interviews with SNCC workers include Julian Bond, John Lewis, James Forman, Bruce Gordon, Prathia Hall, Ivanhoe Donaldson, Bob Moses, Avery Williams, Willie Peacock, Bruce Boynton and his mother, as well as dozens of others involved in the movement, who are named in the collection inventory. Many of those interviewed were actively involved in strategizing and carrying out SNCC demonstrations and political actions, and many were victims of death threats, beatings, unlawful arrest, police brutality, and torture and abuse in prison. These interviews contain detailed eyewitness accounts and personal testimony regarding these experiences, as well as personal history and thoughts about the movement, the South, and the future.
It is clear from what we know of the dates and locations of these recordings, as well as from documentation of these events in other sources, that many of these recordings are unique documents of important events in American history, which may also contain the commentary of important political and cultural figures who were involved in the movement. For example, an article by Howard Zinn recounts how an unidentified man recorded James Baldwin on October 7, 1963, Freedom Day in Selma, on the steps of the courthouse. Baldwin was furious at the lack of support from nearby federal agents as state troopers advanced on peaceful demonstrators. One of the tapes dated October 7, 1963, originally labeled "courthouse interviews," appears to be this recoding, although Baldwin is not named. The same article (available in The Howard Zinn Reader) recounts the mass meetings which led up to that demonstration, at which actor Dick Gregory gave a rousing sermon as his wife sat in jail for demonstrating in Selma. The Moses Moon Collection may be the only existing audio recording of that sermon as well as many other sermons and speeches.
Moses Moon changed his name after these recordings were made. He is referred to in the finding aid as Alan Ribback because that name is used on the recordings.
The collection is arranged in two series.Series 1 is in chronological order to the degree recording dates can be determined, and is based on the locations and dates provided by Moon in his description or gleaned from the recordings themselves and other secondary sources. Series 1 contains 17 groups of recordings.
Moon's original numbers are recorded in the column next to the descriptions. Following the first four Greenwood tapes, which are numbered sequentially, Moon's numbering system took the first two letters of the town in which the recordings were made, a one (1), a decimal, and then a tape number. Numbers preceding the town code refer to the recording day. "N" numbers were later assigned by Moon to the 7" reels only, after the original recordings were made, possibly during editing or when the tapes were made available to the Program in African American Culture.
Series 1, Original Tapes
1. Greenwood, Mississippi; Spring 1963; 4 7" reels
2. Chicago, Illinois; August 9, 12, 1963; 2 5" reels
16. Monroe County, Mississippi; August 1, 1964; 4 5" reels
17. Milton, Mississippi; August 16, 1964; 3 5" reels
Series 2, Preservation Masters consists of data DVDs for a portion of the collection.
Biographical / Historical:
Moses Moon was born Alan Ribback in 1928. During the 1950s until 1962, Ribback was the proprietor of the Gate of Horn, Chicago's premier folk music club, which featured performers including Bob Gibson, Odetta, Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Jo Mapes, Peter, Paul and Mary, Lenny Bruce, and Shelley Berman. On December 5, 1962, Lenny Bruce was arrested during a performance at the Gate of Horn along with Ribback, George Carlin, and others. As a result of the arrest and Bruce's subsequent conviction for obscenity, the club was closed by the City of Chicago, and Ribback left Chicago with Norris McNamara, an audio technician, to record folk concerts taking place in the South as part of the growing civil rights movement. From the spring of 1963 until the summer of 1964, Ribback and McNamara recorded demonstrations and mass meetings and interviewed civil rights activists, primarily those involved in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Later, Ribback moved to New York and edited his recordings into an album called Movement Soul. Ribback married Delia Moon in 1971, took her last name and changed his first name to Moses. In 1979, Bernice Reagon Johnson, working with the Program on African American Culture at the Smithsonian, contacted Moon and borrowed the recordings of mass meetings for a 1980 program on the voices of the civil rights movement. In the late 1980s, Moon was stricken with a severe case of Guillain-Barre syndrome, which left him paralyzed. Moon donated the entire collection of original recordings shortly before his death in 1993.
Materials at Other Organizations
The papers of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee are held by the King Library and Archives in Atlanta, Georgia; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donated by Moses and Delia Moon in 1995.
Collection is open for research. Reference copies must be used. Tapes noted in the container list have digital reference copies in the Smithsonian Institution Digital Asset Management System (DAMS).
Collection items available for reproduction, but copyright status unknown. Contact Archives Center staff for additional information. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
The Rockwell Kent papers measure 88.0 linear feet and date from circa 1840 to 1993 with the bulk of the collection dating from 1935 to 1961. The collection provides comprehensive coverage of Kent's career as a painter, illustrator, designer, writer, lecturer, traveler, political activist, and dairy farmer.
Scope and Content Note:
The Rockwell Kent papers measure 88 linear feet and date from circa 1840 to 1993 with the bulk of the collection dating from 1935 to 1961. The collection provides comprehensive coverage of Kent's career as a painter, illustrator, designer, writer, lecturer, traveler, political activist, and dairy farmer.
Circumstances surrounding the acquisition of the papers are highlighted in an article by Garnett McCoy ("The Rockwell Kent Papers," in the Archives of American Art Journal, 12, no. 1 [January 1972]: 1-9), recommended reading for researchers interested in the collection. The collection is remarkably complete, for in the mid 1920s Kent began keeping carbon copies of all outgoing letters, eventually employing a secretary (who became his third wife and continued her office duties for the remainder of Kent's life).
Series 1: Alphabetical Files contain Kent's personal and professional correspondence, along with business records of the dairy farm and associated enterprises; also included are printed matter on a wide variety of topics and promotional literature relating to organizations and causes of interest to him. Voluminous correspondence with his three wives, five children, and other relatives, as well as with literally hundreds of friends, both lifelong and of brief duration, illuminates Kent's private life and contributes to understanding of his complex character. Among the many correspondents of note are: his art teachers William Merritt Chase, Robert Henri, and Kenneth Hayes Miller; fellow artists Tom Cleland, Arthur B. Davies, James Fitzgerald, Hugo Gellert, Harry Gottleib, Marsden Hartley, Charles Keller, and Ruth Reeves; collectors Duncan Phillips and Dan Burne Jones; critics J. E. Chamberlain and Walter Pach; and dealers Charles Daniel, Felix Wildenstein, and Macbeth Galleries. Kent corresponded with such diverse people as Arctic explorers Peter Freuchen, Knud Rasmussen, and Vilhjalmar Steffanson; composer Carl Ruggles and songwriters Lee Hays and Pete Seeger; civil rights pioneers Paul Robeson and Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois; writers Bayard Boyesen, Scott and Helen Nearing, and Louis Untermeyer; and art historian and print curator Carl Zigrosser.
Kent's interest and involvement in the labor movement are reflected in correspondence with officials and members of a wide variety and large number of unions and related organizations, among them: the Farmers' Educational and Cooperative Union of America, Farmers' Union of the New York Milk Shed, International Workers Order, National Maritime Union, and United Office and Professional Workers of America. Of special interest is his participation, often in leadership roles, in various attempts to organize artists. Files on the American Artists' Congress, Artists League of America, The Artists Union, United American Artists, and United Scenic Artists contain particularly valuable material on the movement.
A supporter of New Deal efforts to aid artists, Kent was actively interested in the various programs and often was critical of their limitations; he advocated continuing federal aid to artists after the Depression abated. The Kent papers include correspondence with the Federal Arts Project, Federal Fine Arts Project, Federal Writers Project, and the War Department, as well as correspondence with the Citizens' Committee for Government Art Projects and President Franklin D. Roosevelt on the subject.
Kent's professional correspondence documents exhibitions, sales, consignments, and reproduction of prints and paintings. He kept meticulous records of his advertising commissions and illustration work. Detailed correspondence with publishers and printers indicates Kent's involvement in the technical aspects of production and provides a good overview of the publishing industry during the mid-twentieth century.
Business records of Asgaard Farm include records of the dairy and transfer of ownership to its employees, tax and employee information, and documents concerning several related business ventures such as distributor ships for grain, feed, and farm implements.
Series 2: Writings consists of notes, drafts, and completed manuscripts by Rockwell Kent, mainly articles, statements, speeches, poems, introductions, and reviews. The Kent Collection given to Friendship House, Moscow, in 1960, was augmented later by a set of his publications and the illustrated manuscripts of many of his monographs. Also included are a small number of manuscripts by other authors.
Series 3: Artwork consists mainly of drawings and sketches by Kent; also included are works on paper by other artists, many of whom are unidentified, and by children.
Series 4: Printed Matter consists of clippings, exhibition catalogs and announcements, brochures, broadsides, programs, and newsletters. These include items by and about Kent and his family, as well as articles written and/or illustrated by him, and reviews of his books. There is also material on a variety of subjects and causes of interest to him. Additional printed matter is included among the alphabetical files, mainly as attachments to correspondence.
Series 5: Miscellaneous includes biographical material, legal documents, and memorabilia. Artifacts received with papers include textile samples, a silk scarf, dinnerware, ice bucket, and rubber stamp, all featuring designs by Rockwell Kent. Also with this series are a variety of documents including a phrenological analysis of an ancestor, lists of supplies for expeditions, a hand-drawn map of an unidentified place, and technical notes regarding art materials and techniques.
Series 6: Photographs includes photographs of Kent, his family and friends, travel, and art number that over one thousand. Also included here are several albums of family and travel photographs.
The collection is arranged into six series. Series 1 is arranged alphabetically. The arrangement of the remaining series is explained in each series description. Note that sealed materials that became available in 2000 were microfilmed separately on reels 5740-5741, but have integrated into this finding aid.
Series 1: Alphabetical Files, circa 1900-1971, undated (Reels 5153-5249, 5256, 5740-5741)
Series 2: Writings, 1906-1978, undated (Reels 5249-5252, 5741)
Series 3: Art Work, 1910-1972, undated (Reels 5252, 5741)
Series 4: Printed Matter, 1905-1993, undated (Reels 5252-5254)
Series 5: Miscellaneous, 1859-1969, undated (Reels 5254, 5741)
Series 6: Photographs, circa 1840-1970, undated (Reels 5254-5255, 5741)
Rockwell Kent (1882-1971), an energetic and multitalented man, pursued many interests and careers during his very long and active life. At various times he was an architect, draftsman, carpenter, unskilled laborer, painter, illustrator, printmaker, commercial artist, designer, traveler/explorer, writer, professional lecturer, dairy farmer, and political activist.
While studying architecture at Columbia University, Kent enrolled in William Merritt Chase's summer school at Shinnecock Hills, Long Island. He then redirected his career ambitions toward painting and continued to study with Chase in New York. Kent spent a summer working and living with Abbott H. Thayer in Dublin, New Hampshire, and attended the New York School of Art, where Robert Henri and Kenneth Hayes Miller were his teachers.
Critically and financially, Kent was a successful artist. He was very well known for his illustration work--particularly limited editions of the classics, bookplates, and Christmas cards. He was a prolific printmaker, and his prints and paintings were acquired by many major museums and private collectors. During the post-World War II era, Kent's political sympathies resulted in the loss of commissions, and his adherence to artistic conservatism and outspoken opposition to modern art led to disfavor within art circles. After many years of declining reputation in this country and unsuccessful attempts to find a home for the Kent Collection, Kent gave his unsold paintings--the majority of his oeuvre--to the Soviet Union, where he continued to be immensely popular.
An avid traveler, Kent was especially fascinated by remote, Arctic lands and often stayed for extended periods of time to paint, write, and become acquainted with the local inhabitants. Between 1918 and 1935, he wrote and illustrated several popular books about his experiences in Alaska, Tierra del Fuego, and Greenland. In the 1930s and 1940s, Kent was much in demand as a lecturer, making several nationwide tours under the management of a professional lecture bureau; he spoke mainly about his travels, but among his standard lectures were some on "art for the people."
In 1927, Kent purchased Asgaard Farm at AuSable Forks, New York, in the Adirondacks, where he lived for the remainder of his life, operating a modern dairy farm on a modest scale for many years.
As a young man, Kent met Rufus Weeks, became committed to social justice, and joined the Socialist Party. Throughout his life, he supported left-wing causes and was a member or officer of many organizations promoting world peace and harmonious relations with the Soviet Union, civil rights, civil liberties, antifascism, and organized labor. Kent was frequently featured as a celebrity sponsor or speaker at fund-raising events for these causes. In 1948, he ran unsuccessfully as the American Labor Party's candidate for Congress. Kent's unpopular political views eventually led to the dissolution of his dairy business, resulted in a summons to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee, and prompted the U.S. State Department to deny him a passport, an action that subsequently was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Kent wrote two autobiographies, This Is My Own (1940) and It's Me, O Lord (1955). In 1969, he was the subject of an oral history interview conducted by Paul Cummings for the Archives of American Art.
In 1969, Rockwell Kent donated his papers to the Archives of American Art; textile samples were received in 1979, and his widow gave additional papers in 1971 and 1996. Letters to Rockwell Kent from wives Frances and Sally, sealed during Sally Kent Gorton's lifetime, became available for research after her death in 2000, and further material was donated to the Archives of American Art in 2001 by the Estate of Sally Kent [Shirley Johnstone] Gorton.
The microfilm of this collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website. Use of material not microfilmed or digitized requires an appointment.
The research material of Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, measures 33.1 linear feet and 1.27 GB and dates from 1965-2004. The collection, amassed throughout Ybarra-Frausto's long and distinguished career as a scholar of the arts and humanities, documents the development of Chicano art in the United States and chronicles Ybarra-Frausto's role as a community leader and scholar in the political and artistic Chicano movement from its inception in the 1960s to the present day.
Scope and Content Note:
The research material of Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, amassed throughout his long and distinguished career as a scholar of the arts and humanities, documents the development of Chicano art in the United States. As community leader and scholar, Ybarra-Frausto played dual roles of active participant and historian in the Chicano movement, chronicling this unique political and artistic movement from its inception in the 1960s to the present day.
Deeply rooted in American history, "El Movimiento," the Chicano movement, evolved from Mexican-Americans' struggle for self-determination during the civil rights era of the 1960s. It began as a grassroots community effort that enlisted the arts in the creation of a united political and cultural constituency. Chicano artists, intellectuals, and political activists were instrumental in mobilizing the Mexican-American community for the cause of social justice, and the movement was shaped by the affirmation of a cultural identity that embraced a shared heritage with Mexico and the United States.
Just as "El Movimiento" aimed to instruct and inspire through the recollection and conservation of culture, Ybarra-Frausto's own career as scholar and historian helped to shape the intellectual discourse of the Chicano art. As a leading historian and theoretician in the field of Chicano Studies, he has written extensively on the subject, and has been instrumental in defining the canons of Chicano art. His papers are accordingly rich and varied, and they will be of great use to future scholars.
His research material, dating from 1965 to 1996, are arranged in subject files containing original writings, notes, bibliographies compiled by Ybarra-Frausto and others, exhibition catalogues, announcements, newspaper clippings and other printed material, as well as slides and photographs. Many of these files also include interview transcripts and correspondence with prominent figures in the movement. While this research collection contextualizes Chicano art within the larger framework of Latino and Latin-American culture, the bulk of the files relates specifically to Chicano visual culture. The collection also contains pertinent documentation of the Chicano civil rights movement, material on Chicano poets and writers, and research files on the wider Hispanic community, but these also appear within the context of Chicano culture in general.
Prominent among the bibliographies are the many notes and drafts related to the publication of A Comprehensive Annotated Bibliography of Chicano Art, 1965-1981 (University of California, Berkeley, 1985), which Ybarra-Frausto co-authored with Shifra Goldman. Ybarra-Frausto's files on Goldman, like other files in the collection, document his close associations and collaborations with scholars.
Art historians have traditionally found the categorization of Chicano art a difficult task. Unsure whether to classify the work as "American" or "Latin American," critics often ignored the work altogether. An outgrowth of this dilemma was the proliferation of artists, curators, and critics within the Chicano community, and the papers contain many original writings by Chicano artists about Chicano art, found in extensive files on artists that will be of particular significance to researchers. These often contain exhibition essays, dissertation proposals, and course outlines authored by the artists, along with the standard biographies, exhibition records, and reviews. Some of the files contain rare interviews conducted and transcribed by Ybarra-Frausto. Highlights include conversations with Carmen Lomas Garza, Amalia Mesa-Bains, and members of the Royal Chicano Air Force artist cooperative.
As a member of several Chicano art organizations and institutions, Ybarra-Frausto kept active records of their operation. The extensive files on the Mexican Museum and Galerie de la Raza/Studio 24, both in San Francisco, not only chronicle the history of Chicano art through the records of exhibitions and programming, but also offer case studies on the development of non-profit art institutions. The files on artist cooperatives, organizations, and exhibition spaces cover several regions of the United States, but focus on California, Texas and New York.
Two notable events in the development of Chicano art were the 1982 Califas: Chicano Art and Culture in California seminar at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and the 1990 traveling exhibition Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation, 1965-1985 (CARA), of which Ybarra-Frausto served as organizer and catalogue essayist. His records document the planning and development of these seminal events. Ybarra-Frausto's files on folk art, altars, posters, murals, performance art, border art, Chicana feminist art, and Southwestern and Mexican imagery (both urban and rural expressions) mirror the diverse forms and subject matter of Chicano art.
Spanning almost four decades of American culture from a Chicano perspective, these files have a unique historical value. The legacy of Chicano art and its contribution to the cultural landscape of this country, kept alive in Ybarra-Frausto's files, attests to the richness and diversity of American art.
Henry C. Estrada
Research Fellow, 1997.
The collection is arranged as a single series of subject files. The general contents of each folder have been listed. The subject files are arranged in alphabetical order. While no two files are alike, they may contain résumés, printed and digital material, letters, draft writings, and photographs. Unless otherwise noted, each listing represents one file folder. The abbreviation TYF was used to refer to the name Tomá Ybarra-Frausto throughtout the Series Description.
Papelitos (little bits of paper), whether rent receipts, paid bills, or piles of personal letters, can become layered bundles of personal history. I have always been a pepenador (a scavenger) and saver of paper scraps. Diary notes, scribbled annotations, and first drafts are often useful indicators of ideas and gestation. Papelitos are the fragments of every-day life that gain expanded meaning integrated into the larger historical events of a period.
In the decade of the 1960s, I started saving ephemeral material--exhibition announcements, clippings of individual artists and of organizations fomenting a Chicano art movement. The social scenarios of the period such as marches, strikes, sit-ins, and mobilizations for social justice all spawned manifestos, posters, leaflets, and other forms of printed material. I somehow managed to assemble and protect the evanescent printed information that recorded the birth and development of Chicano art.
As I started to research and write about Chicano art and artists of the period, I continued to clip, photocopy, and preserve material given me by Mexican-American artists from throughout the nation. My idea was to form an archive that would be comprehensive rather than selective. I knew that it was the offbeat, singular piece of paper with a missing link of information that would attract the scholar.
Today, several decades after the flowering of Chicano art, there is still a lamentable paucity of research and information about this significant component of American art.
It is my fervent hope that this compendium of information will function as a resonant print and image bank for investigators of Chicano culture. Perhaps contained within the archive are the facts that will inspire new visions or revisions of Chicano art and culture--this is my fondest dream.
Dr. Tomás Ybarra-Frausto
New York City, 1998
Tomás Ybarra-Frausto Papers are located at University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.
The collection was donated to the Archives of American Art by Tomás Ybarra-Frausto in 1997, and in 2004.
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment and is limited to the Washington, D.C. research facility.