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Occupy Boston Audre Lorde to Howard Zinn Library records

 Collection
Identifier: M217

Scope and Contents

The records of the Audre Lorde to Howard Zinn Library contain materials related to the founding and operation of the Occupy Boston protest and the activities of the A-Z Library. The records are arranged into two series: Series 1 contains material related to the creation, mission, and operation of the A-Z Library, as well as discussions on how to document Occupy Boston. Series 2 contains materials regarding both the day-to-day operations and future goals of the Occupy Boston protest including general assembly meeting minutes and agendas as well as the minutes of various working groups, proposals, resolutions, surveys, and workshop materials. It also contains materials related to the civil action taken by Occupy Boston against the City of Boston regarding police raids in Dewey Square, as well as various rally posters, pamphlets, flyers, printed articles, and reference materials such as newspapers and gazettes.

Dates

  • 1963-2013
  • Majority of material found within 2011-2012

Conditions Governing Access

Apart from Series 2, Folder 94 in Box 3, this collection is unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Use Note:

Copyright restrictions may apply.

Historical Note:

The Audre Lorde to Howard Zinn Library (also known as the A-Z Library) was formed in 2011 by Metacomet Books (Plymouth, Massachusetts), the Boston Radical Reference Collective, and the Simmons College Chapter of the Progressive Librarians Guild to meet the information needs of the Occupy Boston protest. The protest was inspired by a similar protest in New York City called Occupy Wall Street, which began on September 17th. The protestors called for social reform particularly in the area of the financial industry and the activities of special interest groups in politics. The volunteer-run organization, which rallied around the slogan, “We are the 99%!”, remained in Dewey Square until they were forcibly removed on December 10, 2011. The Audre Lorde to Howard Zinn Library’s mission was “to foster inquiry, learning, critical analysis and information-sharing among Occupy Boston occupiers, participants and visitors in order to better understand, challenge and transform interlocking systems of oppression.” They did this by providing reference services, computer access, and children’s programs as well as books, magazines, pamphlets, zines, and newspapers both in physical formats and online via Occupy Boston’s wiki page. Most of their collection was non-fiction, with a focus on political and activist history and contemporary movements, but they also had a small collection of fiction, poetry, and children's collections. The entirety of their collection was donated, and the Library was run by over 35 volunteers. The A-Z Library also archived the records created by Occupy Boston, focusing on milestone events, and organizational and legal documents. Although the Dewey Square camp was dissolved on December 10, 2011, Occupy Boston groups continued to meet through at least 2012.

Chronology

September 30, 2011
Occupy Boston protestors establish camp in Dewey Square.
October 10, 2011
Police conduct a nighttime raid of the Occupy Boston camp, arresting 141 people.
October 13, 2011
Meeting of Boston Radical Reference Collective where it’s reported that John Ford (the owner of Metacomet Books) had set up a large library tent and stocked it with books that night (afterwards considered the first meeting of the A-Z Library).
October 20, 2011
After a discussion and vote, the library is officially named the Audre Lorde-Howard Zinn Library.
November 15, 2011
The National Lawyers Guild and the American Civil Liberties Union go to court on behalf of Occupy Boston regarding the right to peaceful protest and assembly, and request an injunction to prevent the removal of Occupy Boston protesters from Dewey Square.
November 17, 2011
The Superior Court Department of the Trial Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts orders the City of Boston to refrain from removing individuals and/or their belongings from Dewey Square; mediation and a hearing on the preliminary injunction set for December 1, 2011.
November 29, 2011
Declaration of Occupation officially adopted by the General Assembly at Occupy Boston.
December 7, 2011
After a hearing before the Honorable Frances McIntyre of the Superior Court, the temporary restraining order against City of Boston is vacated and the motion for a preliminary injunction denied. The A-Z Library collection is cataloged almost entirely in one night in preparation for a police raid.
December 10, 2011
Dewey Square camp is dissolved, but the General Assembly, working groups, and A-Z Library continue to meet in other locations.

Extent

2.30 cubic feet (3 containers, 3 flat file folders, 1 tube)

Language

English

Historical Abstract

The Audre Lorde to Howard Zinn Library (also known as the A-Z Library) was formed in 2011 by Metacomet Books (Plymouth, Massachusetts), the Boston Radical Reference Collective, and the Simmons College Chapter of the Progressive Librarians Guild to meet the information needs of the Occupy Boston protest. The records of the Audre Lorde to Howard Zinn Library contain materials related to the founding and operation of the Occupy Boston protest and the activities of the A-Z Library. The records are arranged into two series: Series 1 contains material related to the creation, mission, and operation of the A-Z Library, as well as discussions on how to document Occupy Boston. Series 2 contains materials regarding both the day-to-day operations and future goals of the Occupy Boston protest including general assembly meeting minutes and agendas as well as the minutes of various working groups, proposals, resolutions, surveys, and workshop materials.

System of Arrangement:

Organized into two series: Series 1. The Audre Lorde to Howard Zinn Library, 2011-2013; Series 2. Occupy Boston, 1963-2013 (bulk 2011-2012)

Physical Location

96/4; FF1/D5; RS11/S4

Separated Materials Note:

The fabric flag in Series 1 was oversize and removed to a poster tube located RS11/S4. Oversize materials from Series 1: "Meetings: Brainstorming" and "Now Mobile Poster" removed to oversize folders located in FF1/D5. Series 2 "Plan of Dewey Square Site" was removed to FF1/D5.
Title
Finding Aid for the Occupy Boston Audre Lorde to Howard Zinn Library Records
Author
Finding aid prepared by Emily Mathay
Date
October, 2018
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Description is in English

Repository Details

Part of the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
92 Snell Library
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston MA 02115 US