Skip Navigation
Falvey Memorial Library
Advanced
You are exploring: Home > Blogs

Organizing African American Workers: The National Negro Congress, 1936-1947

By Jutta Seibert

Proceedings of the 1st National Negro
Congress, Feb. 14-16, 1936, Chicago.
Courtesy of Washington Area Spark.

Labor rights were an important facet of the civil rights movement and figured prominently on the program of the National Negro Congress (NNC). Some union excluded African Americans while others limited their rights in one way or another. The Communist Party of the United States of America, which promoted worker solidarity across racial and national boundaries, supported the work of the NNC. Although the NNC did not expressly favor any political party some of its members were affiliated with the Communist Party. James W. Ford, one of the co-founders of the NNC, was three times selected to run as the Communist Party’s vice presidential candidate. The novelist, poet, and activist Richard Wright was likewise affiliated with both organizations. Other prominent members of the NNC included the singer, actor, and activist Paul Robeson and Asa Philip Randolph, the founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. African America, Communists, and the National Negro Congress (AACNNC), a collection of primary sources documenting the work of the NNC is available at Falvey Memorial Library. The papers in the collection outline the history of the NNC from its inception to its dissolution.

John P. Davis, a lawyer, journalist, and activist, who was the driving force behind the NNC, envisioned it as an umbrella organization that would unite and focus existing efforts in the struggle for equal rights and thus increase national impact. He already had an extensive network of connections among African American organizations, such as the NAACP and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters from his prior work with the Joint Committee on National Recovery.

The NNC convened for its first national convention in Chicago on February 14, 1936. Richard Wright attended the convention and wrote about it in an essay entitled “Two Million Black Voices,” which appeared in the communist magazine The New Masses (Feb. 25, 1936, p. 15). In it he vividly evoked a sense of shared purpose and hope.  African American newspapers likewise reported on the Chicago convention. Throughout the month of February The Chicago Defender informed its readers about the activities at the Convention in great detail. It also published the resolutions adopted by the NNC.

“Resolutions Adopted by the National Congress.” Chicago Defender, February 22, 1936, p. 10.

The oldest documents in the AACNNC collection date back to 1933, predating the formation of the NNC by a few years. The papers from those early years document the efforts to get the new organization off the ground. The range of documents in the collection includes print materials as well as typed and hand-written manuscripts from the papers of John P. Davis, Edward Strong, and Revels Cayton, who served as executive secretaries from 1935 to 1947, as well as Davis’ files from the Negro Industrial League and from his work on the Joint Committee on National Recovery along with records of the Negro Labor Victory Committee. The original documents are preserved at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, which provides a detailed description of the collection on its website.

Villanova students, faculty, and staff may access the collection on Gale’s Archives Unbound platform via the Library’s Databases A-Z list under “A”.

Related Resources

  • Wittner, Lawrence S. “The National Negro Congress: A Reassessment.” American Quarterly 22, no. 4 (1970): 883–901. https://doi.org/10.2307/2711875.
  • Davis, John P. Let Us Build a National Negro Congress. Washington: National Sponsoring Committee, National Negro Congress, 1935. https://hdl.handle.net/2027/uiug.30112063345828.
  • Black Historical Newspapers (ProQuest)
    Offers access to the major African American newspapers of the 20th century: the Atlanta Daily World (1931-2003), the Baltimore Afro-American (1893-1988), the Cleveland Call & Post (1934-1991), the Chicago Defender (1910-1975), the Los Angeles Sentinel (1934-2005), the New York Amsterdam News (1922-1993), the Norfolk Journal & Guide (1921-2003), the Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001), and the Pittsburgh Courier (1911-2002).
  • The New Masses Digital Archive (Marxist Internet Archive)
  • The Daily Worker Online, 1922-1968 (Brill)
    Offers the complete archive of the Daily Worker, which was the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) between 1924 and 1958.
  • African American Studies Center (Oxford University Press)
    Contains a selection of information sources ranging from the authoritative Encyclopedia of African American History to the African American National Biography project. Selected primary sources, maps, images, charts, and tables round out the collection.
  • Race Relations in America (Adam Matthew Digital)
    Documents the fight for civil rights with digital copies of the reports, surveys, analyses, and speeches produced by staff and participants of the Annual Race Relations Institute based at Fisk University from 1943 to 1970. Sourced from the records of the Race Relations Department of the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries, housed at the Amistad Research Center in New Orleans.

Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



Like

Introducing Falvey’s Newspapers & Magazines Research Guide

By Jutta Seibert

Newspaper section of
Emily McPherson College Library,
Russell Street, circa 1960s.
Courtesy of Museums Victoria.

Newspapers and magazines are popular primary sources for good reasons: many of them have been digitized, they cover most topics and events, and they are continuously published over many years.

Compared to other primary sources, which are preserved in brick and mortar archives and which may only exist in their fragile original format, newspaper and magazine archives are widely available with few hurdles to access. By their very nature they were mass-produced when they were first published, and in many cases have since been converted to microfilm and digital formats.

Identifying suitable newspapers and magazines for a project among the plethora of serial publications would be daunting where it not for specific research tools designed to help with this task.

Newspaper and magazine archives present some unique research challenges, such as locating existing archives or issues and finding access to them through library portals. Falvey’s new research guide Newspapers & Magazines addresses most of these challenges. It offers guidance on how to find a specific newspaper or magazine, how to find a cited article, how to identify newspapers and magazines for a project, and gives advice on how to work with digital and microfilm archives. It also covers Chicago-style citations for news articles. One of the most exciting features of the new guide is an A-Z list of available newspaper and magazine archives.

Microfilm reader, Haifa University Library, ca. 1980.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Newspapers & Magazines research guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which encourages interested readers to reuse all or part of its contents. Falvey also offers a workshop on research with newspaper and magazine archives, which can be requested through the Library’s website.

We invite you to take a closer look and revisit the guide the next time you are looking for newspaper and magazine archives. The Newspapers & Magazines research guide can be found on the history subject guide on the Library’s website.

Let us know what you think and send us your questions.


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



Like
1 People Like This Post

Expanded Access to Studies in Imperialism

By Jutta Seibert

Villanova University faculty, students, and staff now have electronic access to all volumes in the acclaimed Studies in Imperialism series published by Manchester University Press. For close to forty years the series has retained its relevance in academic circles by steadily expanding its cross-disciplinary scope. John M. MacKenzie, the founding editor of the series and an occasional contributor, explored the cross-fertilization or, as some would argue, the cross-contamination between the usurper and the usurped in Propaganda and Empire (1984), the first volume in the series. The series’ continued success reflects the pervasive and persistent bonds between metropolis and periphery in the post-colonial period.

As general editor, MacKenzie has promoted cross-disciplinary research in imperial studies through his research and editorial work for more than thirty years. In Propaganda and Empire MacKenzie explored the impact of imperialism on British popular culture. As the editor of the following volume, Imperialism and Popular Culture (1986), he invited other scholars to further explore the same topic. During his tenure as general editor, MacKenzie continued to push Studies in Imperialism into new directions. Examples include his foray into environmental history with The Empire of Nature, which appeared in 1988, followed by Imperialism and the Natural World (1990), a collection of essays edited by MacKenzie. His Museums and Empire (2009) introduced museum studies to the series. Later volumes on imperial museums and exhibitions include Exhibiting the Empire (2015), a collection of essays edited by MacKenzie that explored the domestically promoted imperial narrative, and Curating Empire (2012), a collection of essays edited by Sarah Longair and John McAleer.

The Library’s catalog includes records for all available print and electronic editions of individual volumes in the series. Access to the complete series is also available via the Library’s Databases A-Z list under S.

Learn more about Studies in Imperialism
Related resources

Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



Like

Izvestiia: Trial access to Russia’s longest running daily

By Jutta Seibert

Villanova faculty, staff, and students have temporary access to the complete digital archive of Izvestiia until Nov. 1. Izvestiia (Известия) is one of the longest running Russian newspapers. It was the official organ of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and was often called the Kremlin’s newspaper of record. It was first published in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg) by the Petrograd Soviet in 1917. The Bolsheviks took over Izvestiia after the October Revolution and relocated it to Moscow when the Soviet government moved there. Izvestiia remained the main news outlet of the Soviet state until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, after which it became independent. The archive covers the Soviet era in its entirety as well as the collapse of the Union and the following decades until 2011.

The Izvestiia archive is available from East View, a publisher that specializes in international news sources. The search interface accepts Romanized (transliterated) Russian and Cyrillic search terms. Cyrillic search terms can be entered with an integrated Cyrillic keyboard.

Russian news sources available through Falvey Library include:
  • Izvestiia Digital Archive, 1917-2011 (East View)
    Presents the complete archive of Izvestiia (Известия), one of the longest running Russian newspapers and the official organ of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. The archive covers the Soviet era in its entirety as well as the collapse of the Union and the first decades of the Russian Federation.
    Trial access until Nov. 1, 2021.
  • Moscow News Digital Archive (East View)
    Features the longest running English-language newspaper published in Russia from 1930 to 2014.
  • Current Digest of the Russian Press, 1949- (East View)
    Offers a selection of Russian-language news in translation.
  • Imperial Russian Newspapers (East View)
    Presents open access to selected Russian newspapers published between 1782 and 1917.

Trial access is available to all Villanova University faculty, staff, and students. Links to the two archives will be available on the Databases A-Z list under “I” for the duration of the trial. Contact us if you would like to recommend this resource for the permanent collection.


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



Like

Experience Ireland’s struggle for independence up-close

By Jutta Seibert

Falvey Library recently expanded its Irish newspaper holdings with assistance from the Irish Studies program and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. The newly acquired Radical Newspapers collection from Irish Newspaper Archives includes more than 100 Irish newspapers, bulletins, and pamphlets, mostly from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The collection consists of digital copies of a broad range of nationalist, republican, and socialist publications. It offers rich contemporary commentary on Ireland’s War of Independence (1919-1921) and many other topics.

The United Irishman, Sinn Fein Daily, The Irish Worker, and The Workers’ Republic are some of the better-known newspapers in the collection. The United Irishman was an Irish nationalist weekly published from 1899 to 1906. Irish leaders such as Pádraig Pearse, Maud Gonne, and Roger Casement regularly contributed to the paper. The paper ceased publication after only seven years following a libel suit. The same year it was re-started under the new name Sinn Féin, under which it was published until 1914 when it was suppressed by the British government. The Irish Worker was founded in 1911 by James Larkin, an Irish trade union leader. It was also suppressed by the British government in 1914. The Workers’ Republic was the official organ of the Socialist Party of Ireland. Its first issue was printed in 1898 under the aegis of James Connolly, another Irish trade union leader and the founder of the Irish Socialist Republican Party. Connolly emigrated to the U.S. in 1903, where he worked for a few years as the editor of the Free Press, a newspaper out of New Castle, Pa. He returned to Ireland in 1910 as organizer of the Socialist Party of Ireland. Many of his contributions to The Workers’ Republic and other papers have been transcribed for the Marxist Internet Archive.

Many of the publications in the collection were ephemeral in nature and, in some cases, only a handful of issues have been preserved. For example, the Radical Newspaper archive only includes a single issue of The Woman Worker (An Bhean Oibre), a short-lived newspaper published by the Irish Women Workers’ Union from 1926 to 1928. Helpful publication histories for individual titles in the collection are available elsewhere on the publisher’s website.

Irish Newspapers Archive has created a short tutorial that introduces available search features. Search facets include date range, publication title, and document type. The search bar features Boolean operators to combine search terms. Search results can be refined in various ways but beware the byline facet as many articles do not carry a byline and results are unreliable. The digital archive is easy to navigate from search results to article and/or page display. Individual articles can be clipped and downloaded or saved to a personal collection. Access the Radical Newspapers archive via the Library’s Databases A-Z list under “R”.

Austin Molloy.
The Nation’s Armour.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Related resources in the Falvey collections:

  • Irish studies research guide
  • The Irish Times (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)
    Presents a complete archive of the Irish Times back to 1859 (except for the most recent two years) and the Weekly Irish Times (1876-1958).
  • Irish newspapers in Falvey’s Digital Library
    Available titles include The Free State, The Irish Felon, The Irish People, The Irish Tribune, The Irish Worker and People’s Advocate, The Irishman, The United Irishman, and The Waterford Chronicle.
  • Irish newspapers on microfilm in the Falvey collection
    Titles available include: An-Phoblacht/The Republic, Belfast News-letter, Dublin News, Evening Freeman, Evening Telegraph, Freeman’s Journal, Irish Freedom, Irish Times, Irish Tribune, Irishman, Pilot, The Peasant, United Irishman, and The Weekly Nation.
  • The Irish Press
    A weekly newspaper dedicated to Irish nationalism for an Irish American audience. It was founded by Joseph McGarrity and published in Philadelphia from 1918 to 1922.

Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



Like

Bloomsbury History: Theory & Method on Trial

By Jutta Seibert

Bloomsbury History: Theory & Method is a brand new digital resource dedicated to historiography and the examination of historical theory and methods using a global approach. It features cutting-edge scholarship in the form of exclusive articles contributed by historians from 25 different countries. At the core of the collection are the recently published four-volume survey Historiography: Critical Readings edited by Q. Edward Wang and 100 essays that explore key concepts, thinkers, debates, and methods as well as a small selection of classical texts that shaped the discipline. Examples of topics include medievalism, social movements, agency, causality, microhistory, environmental history, and public history to name just a few. The collection also features digital access to more than 60 previously published monographs and essay collections that focus on historiography, theory and methods. Included are the following titles:

New content will be added continuously in the coming years. Trial access will be available until October 22, 2021. A link to the collection is available on the Library’s Databases A-Z list under B. Get in touch if you would like to recommend this resources for the Library’s permanent collection.


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



Like

Bloomsbury Cultural Histories

By Jutta Seibert

Bloomsbury’s Cultural Histories are multi-volume sets that survey the social and cultural construction of specific subjects through the ages. All volumes in a set explore the same themes. For example, the Cultural History of Western Empires consists of six volumes covering antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Age of Enlightenment, the Age of Empire, and the modern age. Each volume in the set includes a chapter on race written by an expert in the field. Compare the chapter on race by Cord Whitaker from the volume covering the Middle Ages in the Cultural History of Western Empires to the chapter on race by Vanita Seth from the volume covering the Age of Enlightenment to gain a better understanding of what the series has to offer.

The digital platform currently comprises 24 subjects ranging from animals to work. Recently added subjects include comedy, education, home, memory, and peace. Color, democracy, fairy tales, genocide, medicine, and sport are among the subjects currently in production.

The collection also includes a small selection of complementary cultural and social history books from Bloomsbury Academic, Berg, and Continuum. Among them are David Sutton’s exploration of the relationship between food and memory in Remembrance of Repasts: An Anthropology of Food and Memory (Berg, 2001) and Mark M. Smith’s Sensory History (Berg, 2017), to give just two examples.

Visual resources from the Wellcome Collection, the Rijksmuseum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art round out the collection, which also includes an interactive timeline and lesson plans for the undergraduate classroom. Remote access is provided through the Library’s Databases A-Z list under B.


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



Like
1 People Like This Post

Modernism Explained

By Jutta Seibert

Scholars interested in modernism will be delighted to learn that they now have electronic access to The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism (REM) through Falvey Memorial Library. Modernism is an umbrella term for a hodgepodge of movements in literature and the arts, among them expressionism, dadaism, cubism, social realism, surrealism, futurism, and Bauhaus. Modernist thinking and ideas influenced architecture, dance, theater, film, literature, music, philosophy, and the visual arts from the late 19th century until the middle of the 20th century.

All the articles in the Encyclopedia are written by subject specialists and include recommended reading lists as well as cross-references to related content. For example, the article about Russian Modernism includes links to articles about representative Russian artists together with links to overview articles about Social Realism and Symbolism. A scholar looking up Entartete Kunst will find two overview articles on Modernism in Europe and Expressionism, five topical articles including one on Entartete Kunst, and three biographical articles on artists associated with the movement.

REM’s global interdisciplinary coverage is particularly noteworthy. Contents are indisputably skewed towards Europe, but there is a fair amount of global coverage. Articles about literature and the visual arts clearly dominate content about the other arts. REM’s landing page links out to popular and new content. Modernism in the Middle East and Arab World is currently featured as the most read article. If you would like to learn more about REM, take the online tour.

Related resources:

Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



Like

Jewish Studies Classics in the Falvey Collection

By Jutta Seibert

Against considerable odds the Littman Library of Jewish Civilization has flourished since its launch in 1965. In an article published in 1982 in Jewish Historical Studies, Louis Littman, the series’ founder, recounted his goals for the series and the obstacles he faced in realizing them.

Littman, who grew up in Brighton in the thirties, blamed the relative ignorance of the Jewish intellectual tradition among British Jews on a lack of English translations of classical Hebrew scholarship. He hoped to change the status quo by commissioning translations and publishing Hebrew scholarship in English in a series dedicated to the memory of his father.

However, publishers showed little interest in his project as the series was not expected to be a commercial success and qualified translators were few and far between. It took considerable effort to get the project off the ground.

The first book in the series was a small volume of Hebrew poems from medieval Spain. On its jacket, Littman described the scope of his project:

“The aim of the Littman Library of Jewish Civilization is to present to the English-speaking public a selection of some of the finest products of the Jewish religious and literary genius. It is hoped that this Library will help to encourage a revival of interest in a religious and literary Heritage, much of which has been virtually closed to those unfamiliar with the language in which it is enshrined.”

In 2017, the Littman Library entered a publishing partnership with Liverpool University Press and launched its first e-books. The Villanova community acquired electronic access to the series through JSTOR. A subset of books from the series is also available in print.

Related resources:


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



Like

Legislative and Judicial Branch Trial Databases

""""

Trials of the following databases are now available at Databases A-Z

CQ Congress Collection (SAGE) – Features include:

  • Floor votes and member profile tabs covering members of congress from 1969-present, including records on CQ designated key votes, interest group voting, and CQ generated voting scores.
  • Data analysis section including Congressional member alignment with other members, interest group ratings with other members and groups and advanced key vote analysis to compare how members voted or to analyze voting behavior, based on member demographic information on the same vote.
  • A How Congress Votes tab features a Policy Analysis section on broad topics including floor votes on legislation, legislative chronologies and links to Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports, where applicable.

CQ Supreme Court Collection (SAGE) – Features include:

  • Search for case summaries by court name from Jay to Roberts, select a term from 1789-present or browse all cases by constitutional area, court, justice, term, topic, voter totals, case type and date. Alternately, browse justices by name, court, term or type of opinion.
  • Use the “Analyze Data” section, 1941-present, to search for a justice’s role in an opinion, opinion alignment or voting block incidence (to search the number of times the bloc of justices selected were together in the majority and the number of times they were together in the minority, or the number of times the selected bloc of justices voted against each other).
  • Other sections include justices’ biographies, CQ key cases pertaining to constitutional amendments, court rules and traditions, analysis of term overviews (such as the Coronavirus Term), a Supreme Court Encyclopedia, key documents and laws in American history and a glossary of common legal terms.

See these and other related resources in SAGE’s CQ Press Library (CQ Press).

 


""Merrill Stein is Political Science Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 

 

 


 


Like
1 People Like This Post

Next Page »

 


Last Modified: September 7, 2021