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Department of Afroamerican and African Studies (University of Michigan) records, 1966-2010 (majority within 1970-1994)

54.5 linear feet — 1 oversize folder — 1.9 TB

This record group pertains to the University of Michigan Department of Afroamerican and African Studies and to campus, regional, and national organizations devoted to political and civil rights causes from the 1960s to the 1990s. The collection includes print documents, photographs, and audio-visual material that document racial harassment incidents, political protests, scholarly conferences and symposia, MLK Day celebrations and black student life on the U-M campus. There are also materials about the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the anti-apartheid and divestment movements of the 1980s. Originally a Center, the unit was formally recognized as a department of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts in 2011.

The records of the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies (DAAS; formerly known as the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies, or CAAS) include correspondence, syllabi, clippings, publicity materials, photographs and audio and video recordings of campus speakers. The record group includes archival material that was originally collected and made available in DAAS's library relating to black activism and to organizations of interest to black students, faculty and staff, as well as DAAS's own organizational archives. Because these materials have been consulted and cited by researchers prior to their transfer to the Bentley in 2011, their original arrangement has been preserved so far as possible.

Paper and photographic records consist of three major series: Black student activism, 1969-2001 (5.5 linear feet), Blacks at U-M, 1969-2007 (4.5 linear feet) and Organizational archives of CAAS, 1962-2010 (17 linear feet) (formerly designated simply "Archives.") There is some overlap of subject matter. These categories reflect the organization of the materials imposed by CAAS librarians and archivists prior to transfer to the Bentley in 2011.

The following list identifies the greatest concentration of material relevant to some of the notable subjects in the collection:

  1. The Black Action Movements (Boxes 1-2 and 55)
  2. Incidents of on-campus harassment and responses (Boxes 1, 2, 4)
  3. South Africa, apartheid, and divestment -- (Boxes 2, 3, 5)
  4. Free South Africa Coordinating Committee (Box 3)
  5. Washtenaw County Coalition Against Apartheid (Box 5)
  6. United Coalition Against Racism and the Baker-Mandela Center (Boxes 1, 4, 5)
  7. The Michigamua controversy (Box 3)
  8. The Nelson Mandela Honorary Degree Petition (Boxes 3, 11)
  9. Gulf War activism (Boxes 3, 4)

This record group also includes a large number of audio and video recordings of presentations, interviews, documentaries, and cultural performances from the 1970s to the 1990s. The recordings include several notable faculty members, visiting scholars, and activists, including Harold Cruse, Cornell West, Rita Dove, Jesse Jackson, Angela Davis, Marian Wright Edelman and Rosa Parks.

The audio-visual material in the collection is organized is organized in to six series by format: Audio recordings on cassettes, 1975-2001 (486 cassettes, 9 linear feet), U-Matic videotapes, 1971-1989 (91 videotapes, 9.1 linear ft.) VHS videotapes, 1971-2004 (131 videotapes, 7 linear feet), Open reel videotapes, 1971-1980 (12 videotapes, 1 linear feet), Reel-to-reel audiotape, 1971, 1980 and undated (4 audiotapes, 0.3 linear feet) and Mini DVDs, 1999-2000 and undated (24 Mini-DVDs, 0.2 linear feet).


James J. Blanchard Papers, 1982-2002

356 linear feet — 9 oversize volumes — 3.66 GB (online) — 50 digital audio files

Blanchard was Democratic governor of Michigan from 1983 to 1991. The collection is arranged mainly by unit or functional responsibility within the governor's office. These series are chief of staff/executive assistants, correspondence office, government relations, issues development, legal department, operators, personnel, press office, Upper Peninsula office, Washington office, Lansing residence, and political and campaign files. The files document the Blanchard administration's efforts in areas of education, job creation, the state's economy, environmental protection, and the rebuilding of Michigan's infrastructure.

James J. Blanchard, as Governor of Michigan, was the chief executive of the state. He was vested with the power to execute the laws of the state and to issue executive orders. He supervised the nineteen departments of the executive branch, ran the executive office of the governor, and appointed members to state boards and commissions. The governor submitted messages to the state legislature and recommended measures considered necessary or desirable; in short, Blanchard set a legislative agenda. A key element of this agenda were the annual state budgets submitted to the legislature, recommending revenues to meet proposed expenditures. Although Blanchard had the power to grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons, he exercised this power with care. Blanchard also was empowered to seek extraditions and issue warrants on fugitives from justice. Finally, as governor, Blanchard was the commander-in-chief of the state's armed forces. In addition to these roles defined by law, custom, and practice, Blanchard used the governorship as a platform from which to champion Michigan.

In the course of completing the many tasks inhering in the office of governor, Blanchard and his executive office created and reviewed a welter of written documents. These records and papers provide an important source documenting the executive actions for the years of Blanchard's tenure, 1983-1990. Many are in the departmental files at the State Archives. This collection of papers at the Bentley Library constitutes that portion of executive documentation which Blanchard, upon leaving office, decreed personal in accordance with the traditional practice of recent governors of Michigan.

The materials came from geographically distinct offices (Lansing, Detroit, Upper Peninsula, and Washington), reflected the efforts of staff ranging from policy analysts to Blanchard himself, and were preserved in varying degrees of completeness. Among these records and papers retained are: correspondence, budgets, memoranda, reports, briefing books, minutes and agenda, press releases and public statements, legal briefs and decisions, legislative bills and analyses, clippings, photographs, audiotapes, and videotapes. These materials were especially strong in documenting the Blanchard administration's investment in human capital and education, efforts to promote economic development and create jobs, interest in rebuilding Michigan's infrastructure while preserving and restoring its environmental beauty, and generally reflecting its commitment to act to promote the commonweal. The collection sheds some light on affirmative action, citizens' protection, criminal justice, the Michigan Youth Corps, and attitudes of Michigan residents as reflected in letters to the governor. The collection is weak in its coverage of Blanchard's private life and his activities related to the Democratic party.

Researchers should note that Blanchard's executive office was not a rule-bound operation, restricted by strict adherence to hierarchical functions. There was considerable sharing of responsibilities, especially at the higher levels of the administration. One finds that roles filled by a chief of staff sometimes devolved to an executive assistant or to a staff member in the Legal or Government Relations Office. Work on large recurring projects, like the budget or the state of the state address, involved participation at many levels cutting across offices. Day to day functions, like responding to issue-oriented constituent correspondence, often entailed action by the chief of staff, counsel, or a policy analyst from the Washington Office, in addition to the expected responses from the Issues and Correspondence Offices. These sorts of overlap are noted when appropriate in the finding aid.

The Chief of Staff had the primary responsibility for seeing to the efficient functioning of the executive office of the Governor. In fulfilling this responsibility, the Chief of Staff interacted with nearly every department in the executive branch of state government and with each unit within the executive office. The Chief of Staff served as a sort of gatekeeper for the Governor, apprising him of significant issues, informing him of how best to respond, and judging how effectively the response meets the issue. During Blanchard's two terms in office, he was served by four Chiefs of Staff: F. Thomas Lewand, Phillip Jourdan, Rick Cole, and Steve Weiss. Records are extant from each chief except Rick Cole; these range from the thin but rich records of Lewand to the more fulsome materials of Jourdan and Weiss.

The efforts of the Chief of Staff to facilitate frictionless functioning of state governance were augmented by able deputies, competent staff, and a cadre of Executive Assistants. Chief among these assistants were Nancy Austin-Schwartz, Bill Liebold, Carolyn Sparks, and Ron Thayer. Given that the Blanchard administration was democratic and decidedly non-hierarchical, these Executive Assistants often filled roles similar to the Chiefs of Staff. At these highest levels of administration, decisions were made and actions taken without much regard to hierarchy or job description strictures. In this free market of ideas and ability, whoever had the best idea or was best able to handle a situation attended to it. Sometimes this was the chief, sometimes one of the assistants, but just as often things were handled by other members of the executive office staff or by someone from an executive department.

The Correspondence Office was that division within the Executive Office which received, routed, and responded to constituent correspondence. In handling this task, staff in the Correspondence Office worked closely with the Issues Development Office, with head of executive branch departments, and with the Office Operations Division. Mail received by the unit was directed to specialists in Issues Development, to the appropriate state department, to the Governor's personal attention, or handled with a standard response. Given the volume of mail directed to the Governor's attention (at times reaching thousands of pieces per week) and its issues-oriented nature, one should not be surprised to find that most mail sparked a standard response. The bulk of the materials saved reflects the office's efforts to individually address constituent concerns in a timely fashion. This work originally was the domain of an autonomous Communications Unit, fell to the correspondence unit within the Operations Division for a time, until finally it was established as a separate office. Donna Kaufman oversaw this unit from 1983 until 1988 when Patrick Casey took charge.

The Government Relations Office was the unit which tracked the Governor's legislative agenda and the executive branch's reaction to bills coming out of the legislature. The Government Relations Office served as the Governor's interface with the Michigan House and Senate. In fulfilling this mission, the office had to rely upon the advice and consent of many within the executive office, specifically the Legal Division and the Issues Office (especially the intergovernmental relations unit). This reliance on diverse input was evident in Blanchard's first term as the Legal/ Legislative/Government Relations functions were all met by a single office, headed by Conrad Mallet, Jr. There exists little to document Mallet's tenure as head of this office, aside from transition files and enrolled house and senate bills. During Blanchard's second term the legislative functions fell to separate government relations, legal, and issues offices which then maintained a close working relationship. Stan Fedewa, and later, William Kandler, directed the work of the Government Relations Office at this time. The efforts of both of these men are well reflected in the extant materials.

The Issues Development Office was charged with delineating, articulating and disseminating the official Blanchard position on the topics of the day. These functions, central to the administration, insured that the issues office would be integral to the executive office. This is manifest in the myriad array of units heavily reliant on the Issues Development Office for their own operations; the Chief of Staff, Executive Assistants, Correspondence, Government Relations, Legal, and Press Offices all were in daily contact with Issues. Within the Issues Development Office, responsibilities were divided among analysts according to issue: agriculture, education, environment, human services, local government, and urban affairs. These analysts reported to the office manager, who in turn reported to the Deputy Chief of Staff, who checked that positions were consistent with the policy goals of the administration.

The Issues Development Office eventually came to house the papers of the Local Government Advisor. Connie Shorter was the senior staff member responsible for local government affairs and she moved with the unit from its original home in the Policy Department, through the Government Relations Office, back to Issues. The office also served as aegis for special projects ranging from the Cabinet Council on Human Investment, to Citizens' Protection, to the Public Investment Task Force. The issues office itself underwent numerous name changes over the years, beginning as the Policy Office, then to Planning and Program Development, before settling on Issues Development in 1987. In whatever guise, under whatever name, this office remained poised to build Blanchard's stance on any issue.

The Legal Division dealt with the many legal problems arising out of running a state government. These include, but are not limited to, issues related to administrative rules, bonds, local charters, corrections, crime, pardons, extraditions, legislation, and protection of civil rights. This rather broad array of issues eventually proved too disparate to be capably handled by the relatively small legal staff, so some duties were shunted to the Government Relations and Issues Offices. As with the government relations materials above, there are no materials from Conrad Mallet, Jr.'s tenure. Materials relating to administrative and emergency rules, bonds, local charters, pardons, and extraditions have not been retained with this collection; they are retained by the State Archives. What has been retained from the Legal Division are the papers of Mike Hodge, Legal Advisor and Special Counsel to the Governor from 1987 to 1990. Hodge's papers superbly document the legal concerns facing Blanchard during his second term.

The Operations Division's primary function within the Blanchard administration was scheduling the Governor's out-of-office events. This entailed handling the thousands of invitations for the Governor to appear, deciding which of these events merited Blanchard's presence, making local arrangements with the advance team, briefing Blanchard on the hot-button issues, and serving as liaison between local contacts and the executive office. Jill Pennington capably directed the scheduling unit for both of Blanchard's terms as governor. During one of the periodic reorganizations of the executive office, the Operations Division oversaw the correspondence unit and a speakers bureau. Both of these proved to be outside the scope of the scheduling mission and were dealt out of operations' hand in the next office restructuring. The division remained committed to placing a prepared Blanchard before congenial forums.

The Personnel Division was charged with filling all appointive positions in the executive and judicial branches of state government. These positions include all executive posts on boards, commissions, task forces and the executive office, as well as all court posts ranging from courts of appeals, to district courts, to the State Supreme Court. The Personnel Division was initially headed up by Ron Thayer. Shelby Solomon next ran the office. The papers related to personnel division during the tenure of both of these men was not forwarded with the Blanchard collection. All that remains are the papers of Gregory Morris, director of the division from 1987 to 1990. The materials Morris retained dealt exclusively with Blanchard's judicial appointments from 1983 to 1990. This narrow, but very important, stratum of information remains the only evidence on how and who Blanchard chose to extend his program.

The Press Office presented the public face for the Blanchard administration. This office coordinated press conferences, released policy statements and copies of Blanchard's speeches, arranged photo opportunities, mediated with local and state media, and generally put the best possible spin on the administration. The Press Office was the single point of fixity in the field of flux that was the Blanchard executive office. This office fell under the eye of only two directors, Rick Cole and Tom Scott, during the two gubernatorial terms. Scott was with the office almost from the outset and is largely responsible for the retention of much of the materials. He treated the Press Office as the archives of the executive office, saving newspaper clippings, press releases, speeches, audiotapes, videotapes, and photographs which document the public life of Blanchard. These materials provide the most comprehensive picture of Blanchard as politician, statesman, governor.

The Upper Peninsula Office was one of the regional offices established by the executive office to better serve a specific clientele, in this case the residents of the upper peninsula. This office brought the services of state government to the more immediate attention of upper peninsula citizens. It answered constituent correspondence, served as liaison between county officials and the state, and briefed the Governor for his trips to the upper peninsula. In short the Upper Peninsula Office provided a scaled-down version of the outreach functions offered by the executive office. Tom Baldini, director of the office, filled his post so competently that he was viewed by the executive office and citizens as the "governor" of the upper peninsula.

The Washington Office served as a clearinghouse for information on federal proposals, congressional legislation, and national policy developments. It also lobbied for the interests of the state. In pursuing these ambitious, if amorphous, interests, the Washington Office employed a staff of five to ten people over the years of Blanchard's tenure. The staff of the office worked with Blanchard, the executive office, and Michigan agency directors to develop responses to federal activity, to initiate timely communication between federal and state officials, and to arrange and conduct meetings and conferences when appropriate. Aside from the director of the Washington Office, E. Douglas Frost, who focused on budgets, taxes, and overall policy planning, each of the staff members in the office was responsible for broadly defined issues. Rosemary Freeman, who preceded Frost as office director, served as deputy director and handled issues related to training, labor, and education. James Callow was the legislative analyst charged with keeping abreast of economic and trade issues. Maura Cullen was responsible for social services, health and human services, and child welfare. Peter Kyriacopolous was the last of three analysts (Charlie Moses and Jo Ellen D'Arcy preceded him) who handled concerns related to the environment and transportation.


Mary Hathaway papers, 1980-2003

6 linear feet — 6 digital audiovisual files

Prominent Ann Arbor, Mich. area peace and social justice activist; was involved in both church and community organizations concerned with topics as diverse as nuclear disarmament, homelessness in Ann Arbor, and the immigration rights of El Salvadorian refugees. The collection includes organizational and church files detailing her various activities.

The Mary Hathaway papers span from 1981-2003 and document Mrs. Hathaway's role as a social justice activist and church and community leader. The collection is divided into three series, Community Activism, 1981-2003, First Presbyterian 1981-1990, and Clippings, 1981-2003. Though community and church activities are represented separately in this collection the division is somewhat artificial; Mrs. Hathaway's civic and religious activities are deeply intertwined, all showing a deep and faith-based engagement with her community.


Tim Retzloff oral history interviews, 1993-2012

91.3 GB

The Tim Retzloff oral history interviews (1993-2012) consist of over eighty oral histories conducted by Tim Retzloff with members of Detroit's LGBTQ community.

The collection includes oral history interviews with members of Detroit's LGBTQ community conducted by Tim Retzloff between 1993 and 2012. Topics of discussion include experiences of coming out and gay life, Detroit's gay bar scene and other community spaces, and involvement in a variety of organizations including the Detroit Gay Liberation Front, the Gay Liberator, Detroit Gay Activists, the Green Carnation Community Center, ONE, and the Association of Suburban People.