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In 1965, thirteen students from area colleges participated in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)’s Summer Community Organization and Political Education (SCOPE) project, a civil rights initiative announced by Martin Luther King in April of that year. The goals of the project were political education and registering African Americans to vote in different locations throughout the south. The group was assigned to Williamston, NC, after attending training sessions in Atlanta, GA. Participating in the student-led group was Amherst professor Hugh Hawkins. Recognizing the significance of the experience, Professor Hawkins saved his letters and documents from his summer with the SCOPE project.
We in the archives are fortunate to have received Professor Hawkins’s papers, containing these notes and letters, as well as printed material from SCOPE, newspaper clippings, and audiotapes. These materials give first-hand insight into a turbulent and heroic time in the nation’s history.
Last week, our intern Megan found three posters advertising balloon voyages amongst the items in the John P. Cushing World War I Poster Collection. Why were broadsides advertising nineteenth century balloon ascensions mixed-in with a collection of World War I posters? Are these three balloon voyages somehow connected? We may never know. What we do know is that we can now happily add these to the other early aeronautical items held by Amherst Archives and Special Collections.
I think this little find should rank high in the annals of Art and Sports. It’s a poem written by Rolfe Humphries (AC 1915) in tribute to Amherst College football coach James Ostendarp in 1966. Humphries had at that time recently retired from Amherst as a professor of English; Ostendarp had just finished his seventh football season at Amherst and would go on to become the winningest coach in the college’s history.
As the archives of Amherst College, one of our missions is to document student life. We have vast collections that document athletics, musical groups, dramatic activities, student publications, and other organized activities from the nearly 200 years of Amherst College history. One collection that provides a unique glimpse into the lives of individual students is The Scrapbooks Collection — 140 scrapbooks maintained by individual students between 1853 and 1967. These books contain a wide array of ephemera and include everything from report cards to ticket stubs to dance cards to newspaper clippings and photos.