The Continuity Will Be Televised: MPT’s Our Street and Afro-American Perspectives

What does public television have in common with many libraries and archives? As arenas of discussion, education, and reflection, all three aim to engage with the communities they were ostensibly created to serve. How are communities enriched and strengthened through engagement with collections of manuscripts, text and mass media? What role does this type of engagement play in civic discourse and reflection? 

Recognizing the important role of public television in cultural dialogue, Maryland Public Television (MPT) founded, in 1969, the Urban Affairs Advisory Council, a group of 60 men and women from the Baltimore area. Together, this group designed a variety of half hour-long programs that addressed issues specific to Baltimore, including the daytime serial Our Street and the documentary series Afro-American Perspectives, produced as part of MPT’s educational arm, ITV. Episodes of both these programs are available in the University of Maryland Libraries Digital Collections, and in watching them, viewers get access to both the perspectives of the past and commentary on the present.

The 56 episodes of Our Street tell the fictional story of the Robinsons, a Black family from East Baltimore. Syndicated to 20 stations around the country, Our Street introduced Baltimore to communities beyond Maryland, examining challenging themes within the framework of domestic drama. 

Picture of a newspaper with two photographs and a block of text. The top photo takes up most of the page and features a man with dark skin leaning over a couch to talk to a woman with dark skin, who sits with her lands in her lap. Text next to them reads black family's search for dignity and respect. Below, a photograph of a group of four people with dark skin, and 1970s fashion.
“Our Street” featured in Daytime TV, October 1972. Image: Daytime TV, October 1972.
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Virtual Maryland Day 2020

Happy Maryland Day! The crowds are staying home this year while we all practice social distancing, but you can still enjoy a bit of Special Collections and University Archives fun from home!

Start off with the official UMD Maryland Day activity book! You can color Testudo, play work search, create finger puppets, and lots more! Download online: http://go.umd.edu/mdbook

Here are a few Maryland Day activities from Special Collections and University Archives you can explore from the comfort of home:

COLOR OUR COLLECTIONS

Get creative and unwind with these ready-to-color illustrations curated from our Rare Books collection! Choose from a selection including artwork by William Morris, Walter Crane, George Gaskin, and John Tenniel.

MAKE AN ORIGAMI HEART

Show your love with origami! ♥♥♥ Every Maryland Day in Hornbake Library, staff from the Gordon W. Prange collection show visitors how to make origami hearts. Grab some paper and follow the directions in the video below to make you own!

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Collection Highlight: Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO records

A recent addition to the UMD Labor Collections is now available for the public: the Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO records, containing material dating from 1896 to 2016.  The Metro Washington Council (MWC) is a local labor council representing a federation of 175 diverse local unions in Washington, DC and the surrounding area.  Presented to the archives in September 2018, the Metro Washington Council records examine

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Join us for Afternoon Tea on September 26

UMD Libraries Special Collections and University Archives would like to invite you to join us for Afternoon Tea at our Annual Open House on Thursday, September 26th between 2-4pm

Special Collections and University Archives is home to a number of collections that can give us incredible insight into political rhetoric throughout US history. This year, in the spirit of the University of Maryland’s first year book, Demagoguery and Democracy by Patricia Roberts-Miller,  we invite you to explore the insights we can gain from these items on how to identify and challenge demagogic rhetoric wherever we find them. 

To participate, drop by anytime during the event. We can’t wait to share a cup with you.

Student Art History Projects

Have you ever wondered what life was like on UMD’s campus during the Vietnam War?  Or how our university handled sexual assault cases throughout the decades?  How did the Civil Rights Movement impact our campus?

Well, look no further because these five fabulous art history projects have all that information and more!

In the fall of 2018, the students in ARTH260 produced a variety of projects about activism, sexual assault gender inequalities and other important topics using research found in Special Collections.  Among these creations were four websites and a video.

Each group project was accompanied by a mixture of art, whether it was paintings, photographs or decorative flyers plucked from our very own archives, and extensive information each group researched for their topics.

umd-in-context

The homepage of “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back.”

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back” discusses the double-standards that women experience during their education and in the workforce.  Using yearbook photos from our archives and speaking with students, the website highlights sexist standards women are given — particularly in the mathematics and scientific fields — while men are provided with different guidelines to follow. Continue reading

May Day in the Meany Labor Archives!

Today is May Day! Also known as International Workers’ Day. May Day is considered an international labor holiday. This post highlights some of the materials in our collections related to May Day. Much of our May Day material can be found in the May Day, 1885-1986 folder in the vertical file collection, and the Haymarket folders in the Morris B. Schnapper collection!

May Day was created by a resolution initiated by American Socialists at the International Socialist Congress in Paris, France, in July of 1889. The purpose of May Day was to gain support for an eight-hour work day. The Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada, precursor to the American Federation of Labor, and the Knights of Labor cooperated in preparing for a general strike in U.S. cities on May 1, 1886. And on that day, approximately 350,000 American workers went on strike, impacting over 11,000 businesses. Although workers in New York, Baltimore, Detroit, Milwaukee, and other cities participated, Chicago was widely considered the center of May Day agitation, largely due to Chicago being one of the few cities with broad union and radical solidarity in support of the eight-hour day.

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Upcoming Exhibit, “Crossing the Divide: An American Dream Made in Occupied Japan, 1945-1952”

Gordon W. Prange Collection

We are pleased to announce that an exhibition of materials from the Gordon W. Prange Collection entitled, Crossing the Divide: An American Dream Made in Occupied Japan, 1945-1952, will be on display in the Maryland Room Gallery in Hornbake Library North, University of Maryland, from the middle of October 2018 through July 2019.

On August 15, 1945, Japan surrendered unconditionally to the United States and Allied Powers, ending World War II. In the aftermath, thousands of U.S. military and civilian personnel and their families moved to Japan to oversee the rehabilitation of the defeated nation. This exhibition focuses on interactions between Japanese and Americans in communities built for U.S. personnel and in key contact zones in the surrounding city. Using materials from the Gordon W. Prange Collection, Crossing the Divide reveals the “American dream” that these communities represented and shows how the Japanese people envisioned their own dreams as…

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We brought back the classics for Banned Books Week

Last week, Special Collections celebrated Banned Books Week!

We have a slew of classics in our Literature and Rare Books collection with literary works by Ralph Ellison, Ernest Hemingway, James Baldwin Sylvia Plath, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck, George Orwell and many others.

All these authors have something in common: they have had their books challenged and/or banned many times throughout the years.

During Banned Books Week, we posted staff picks of their favorite classic banned books from our collection.

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Recent Accession Highlight: The Joe Uehlein Papers

West Virginia steelworkers locked out of their factory.

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Famous musicians performing at labor benefit concerts.

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The impacts of law reform, globalization, and 9/11 on labor.

As the former secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO’s Industrial Union Department and the former director of the AFL-CIO Center for Strategic Campaigns, Joe Uehlein saw it all. And researchers will soon be able to experience these events from Uehlein’s perspective now that his papers are part of the Labor Collection. Continue reading

The Labor Movement and Posters: Promoting Human Rights, Part 2

This is the last post in a series of blogs by the Labor Collections Team highlighting the amazing posters on display in the Hornbake Library Gallery exhibit, “For Liberty, Justice, and Equality: Unions Making History in America.” These posters encompass a wide range of human rights issues supported by the labor movement. There are nine different human rights issues that are covered in the exhibit. In Part 1 of this series, we showcased the posters in the African-American Rights, Women’s Rights, the Eight-Hour Day, and A Living Wage sections of the exhibit. This post will explore the posters in the Religious Freedom, International Workers, the Environment, and LGBTQ Rights sections, and several other posters included in the exhibit from the AFL-CIO collections.

Religious Freedom:

FabricofOurLives

This poster of a mosaic mural at the Bernard Horwich Community Center in Chicago, IL was produced by the Jewish Labor Committee. The Committee was founded in the 1930s to unite the labor movement and the American Jewish community in opposition to the rise of fascism. AFL-CIO Posters, Broadsides, and Art Collection.

 

 

 

 

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