Human Rights: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

As part of Human Rights week, SCRC is sharing some items from a few of our collections that relate to either the protection of human rights or a neglect for them. The first is a report on the Virginia Council on Human Rights, which was established on August 7, 1987. The goal of the council included protecting individuals from unlawful discrimination. This report is part of the Emilie F. Miller collection which covers a vast array of topics relating to politics within Virginia. She was local activist and supporter of equal rights for women.

"Virginia Council on Human Rights." Emilie F. Miller collection, Collection # C0048, Box 07, Folder 60, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

“Virginia Council on Human Rights.” Emilie F. Miller collection, Collection # C0048, Box 07, Folder 60, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

The second item comes from the French Communist Poster collection. The poster advocates for amnesty for the political prisoners and exiles of Spain. Though it did not gain enough support to win a presidential election, the PCF supported the workers and farmers of France and fought for more social welfare programs, like higher minimum wages, better retirement conditions, better working conditions, and equal pay and also sought female support by celebrating women’s issues and equal rights.

French Communist Party poster collection #C0168, MC folder 2, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

French Communist Party poster collection #C0168, MC folder 2, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

The last item is from the East German Poster political series collection. This poster is undated but references events of 1939. The quote is taken from a Bertolt Brecht poem about the “house-painter” and who made promises of “great times to come.” Brecht went into exile at the onset of the Second World War and is famous for many of his plays.

"Aus dem Reich kommen wenig Nachrichten",East German poster collection # C0169, AE-1825, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

“Aus dem Reich kommen wenig Nachrichten”,East German poster collection # C0169, AE-1825, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

To search the collections held at Special Collections Research Center, go to our website and browse the finding aids by subject or title. You may also e-mail us at speccoll@gmu.edu or call 703-993-2220 if you would like to schedule an appointment, request materials, or if you have questions. Appointments are not necessary to view collections.

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage

Hispanic Heritage month begins September 15th and continues until October 15th. In 1988 President Reagan formally established this 30-day period, which includes the anniversary of independence for many Latin American countries such as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico and Chile, to celebrate and draw attention to Hispanic heritage and culture in America.

Chavez, Linda, Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation , Booknotes 1992-03-22, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

Chavez, Linda, Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation , Booknotes 1992-03-22, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

 

 

 

 

Linda Chavez in, Out of the Barrio, discussed immigration and the progress made by Hispanics in America while analyzing government policies, the importance of assimilation, and attitudes towards immigrants in our country.

 

 

Nichols, Madaline W., Sarmiento: A Chronicle of Inter-American Friendship , F2846_S26_N5_1940, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

Nichols, Madaline W., Sarmiento: A Chronicle of Inter-American Friendship , F2846_S26_N5_1940, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

 

 

 

 

 

Sarmiento is about the activist and President of Argentina (1868-1874), Domingo Faustino Sarmiento. This book is significant for telling the story of a man and his travels for which there is little known, written, or translated for an English-speaking audience.

 

 

 

Planned Community Archives, Collection # C001, Box 101, Folder 04, Page , Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

A look at Hispanic communities as part of George Mason University’s local history. Planned Community Archives, Collection # C001, Box 101, Folder 04, Page 22, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries. (Click link for Page 23)

 

George Mason University celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month in September 1995. Office of University Relations, Collection # R0004, Box 56, Folder 29, Page 3/3, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

George Mason University celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month in September 1995. Office of University Relations, Collection # R0004, Box 56, Folder 29, Page 3/3, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

 

Helpful Information:

GMU Calendar for Hispanic Heritage Month 2016

Hispanic Latino Leadership Association (HLLA)

Hispanic Heritage

PBS Films and TV

GMU Office of University Relations

Planned Community Archives

 

To search the collections held at Special Collections Research Center, go to our website and browse the finding aids by subject or title. You may also e-mail us at speccoll@gmu.edu or call 703-993-2220 if you would like to schedule an appointment, request materials, or if you have questions. Appointments are not necessary to view collections.

 

Fighting for Freedom: The League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area

The League of Women Voters was formed by Carrie Chapman Catt in 1920 before the 19th amendment had been passed, allowing all women the right to vote. Multiple local leagues were established in counties and cities around the United States. In 1948, a League of Women Voters was created in Fairfax but was reestablished and stabilized in 1964 shortly after Fairfax City became separate from Fairfax County. Since 1948, the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area (LWVFA) has fought for many issues and provided educational resources to women and men on how to vote, choose candidates, information on current issues and much more.

Doc.1 The 1985 Congressional Forum regarding women in the Senate and House. Some issues regard the difficulty for women to gain experience and feel encouraged and confident enough to run for a seat in the Senate or House. There is also a list comparing women in these types of positions around the world. Document is from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area Records, Collection # C0031, Box 13, Folder 02, Page 2/2 of "Our Daighters' Daughters Will Adore Us ," Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Doc.1 The 1985 Congressional Forum regarding women in the Senate and House. Some issues regard the difficulty for women to gain experience and feel encouraged and confident enough to run for a seat in the Senate or House. There is also a list comparing women in these types of positions around the world. Document is from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area Records, Collection # C0031, Box 13, Folder 02, Page 2/2 of “Our Daighters’ Daughters Will Adore Us ,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

From the table in Doc. 1, Denmark’s People’s House had the largest percentage of women in a legislative role at 26.8% in 1985. Norway’s Stortinget followed  with 25.8%, while the U.S. Senate had 2% and the U.S. House had 5% of women involvement. Today, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union updated in February of 2016, the U.S. is ranked 95 out of 185, with women holding 19.4% of the House, and 20% of the Senate. Some of the countries ahead of the U.S. are Cuba, Mexico, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Canada.

Aside from urging more women to run for seats in the House and Senate, the LWVFA have fought for a number of environmental and class issues, female reproductive rights, equal pay among many others.

Doc. 2 references the pay gap of .64 cents earned by women for each dollar that a man earned in 1984 for full-time work. Currently, the wage gap stands at .79 cents for every dollar that a man makes in 2016, according to The American Association of University Women. This percentage is the average gap, but can shift slightly due to many factors such as age, education, race, location, and occupation.

Doc. 2 Document from LWVFA President, Sue Anderson, in February 1984 regarding equal pay. Document is from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area Records, Collection # C0031, Box 14, Folder 01, "Letter from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area dated February 27, 1984," Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Doc. 2 Document from LWVFA President, Sue Anderson, in February 1984 regarding equal pay. Document is from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area Records, Collection # C0031, Box 14, Folder 01, “Letter from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area dated February 27, 1984,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

The LWVFA also opposed and urged Congress against the Kemp amendment to Title X in 1985 (Doc. 3), which would remove federal funding for family planning at any organization or institution that performed abortions or provided abortion counseling. This amendment was passed and few alterations have been made.

Document is from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area Records, Collection # C0031, Box 14, Folder 01, Page 1/2 of "Letter from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area to Congressman Frank R. Wolf dated November 25, 1985," Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Doc. 3. Document is from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area Records, Collection # C0031, Box 14, Folder 01, Page 1/2 of “Letter from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area to Congressman Frank R. Wolf dated November 25, 1985,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

There has been a lot of correspondence between members of Congress and the LWVFA. League members wrote to leaders about issues of concern and received many responses back, often positively, from members of Congress thanking them for expressing their views. C0031B30F14: topics within these letters regard the Clean Air Act Amendment bill, the Equal Rights Amendment , and congratulatory letters to the elected President, Leslie Byrne, in 1981.

C0031B39F09: document is from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area records, Collection #C0031, Box 39, Folder 09, “Bylaws of the League of Women Voters of the United States,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries. Bylaws were amended as of May 3, 1948.

C0031B27F03: document is from League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area Records, Collection #C0031, Box 27, Folder 03, “How to Judge a Candidate” and “How to Watch a Debate,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries. Documents were created for the Presidential Election of 1986.

 

 

For more information about the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area, important issues, and information on voting, visit http://www.lwv-fairfax.org/.

For information about Carrie Chapman Catt or the history of the League of Women Voters, go to http://www.catt.org/ or http://lwv.org/.

For information about the LWVFA records in the Special Collections Research Center at George Mason University, you can view our finding aid and contact speccoll@gmu.edu to look through our collection.

Black Focus: The Promise of Change in Reston

Developer Robert E. Simon bought land in the western area of Fairfax County with his development company Palindrome, Inc. in March 1961. He began planning for a new community that brought together the best aspects of rural and urban life. The town he created was Reston, and it was one of the first areas to welcome diversity and to have an open housing policy. Many of the surrounding areas at the time were not open to equal housing opportunity, making Reston a great choice for many lower class and minority groups. In 1969, African American residents formed a group called Reston Black Focus to promote an understanding of African American culture among fellow Reston residents.

Reston Black Focus was a group of black Restonians who wanted to make sure black people could participate in their town as citizens and preserve black culture and lifestyles. Since black families had limited living choices, many looked to these ‘new towns’ for housing, schooling, and recreation away from the racism encumbered in ‘old’ urban and suburban towns.

C0137B01F048_Page_4

This list represents the original concerns of Reston Black Focus at the start of their formation and integration into the ‘new town’. Document is from Reston Black Focus Records, Collection # C0137, Box 1, Folder 48, Page 4/4 of “Reston Black Focus Goals,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries. The link to “Reston Black Focus Goals” http://mars.gmu.edu/handle/1920/9294

In their original document under “Basic Premises” it stated:

“Black middle class cannot avoid the negative ramifications of political and economic exploitation of black people…We must come to better understand ourselves to present to our children a non-racist vision of who they are and their relationships to each other and to the positive development of America…A new town must, if it is to be truly open, have all kinds of people in positive encounters with each other to lose their fears of the unknown other” (Page 2-3).

In the “Activity” section, they list four main goals for the group (Page 3):

  • Education and cultural development
  • Rearing of black children
  • Concerns of black Restonians with the development of Reston
  • Relationships among black Restonians

Even though Reston had promise of a new and more positive living environment, there were still many struggles in and around the area.

C0137B04F028_Page_2

C0137B04F028_Page_1

 

 

News article from the Globe on 9/19/1974. The article references the shooting of a black man, Felix Rohls, by a white police officer, John Mueller. Rohls had been pulled over for a traffic violation and then fatally shot by Mueller. The FBI was called in to investigate after complaints were made by the NAACP. Article from the Reston Black Focus Records, Collection # C0137, Box 4, Folder 28, Page 2/8 & 8/8 of “New Town,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries. The link to “New Town” http://mars.gmu.edu/handle/1920/9506

 

 

 

C0137B04F030

 

News article from the Reston Times from the 1960’s. Article stated that Betty Nester, the manager at a Seven-Eleven, denied customer service, made racial comments, and denied a refund to a group of teenage boys because the were black. The boys later brought their parents to the store and they were again denied service, resulting in police officers being called from both parties in which the officers determined the incident had not been about race. Article from the Reston Black Focus Records, Collection # C0137, Box 4, Folder 30, “Racial Incident,” Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries. The link to “Racial Incident” http://mars.gmu.edu/handle/1920/9508.

 

More information about the Reston Black Focus records can be found on the Special Collections Research Center website at http://sca.gmu.edu/finding_aids/restonblackfocus.html. Additionally, the digitized documents can be explored on our digital repository at http://digilib.gmu.edu/dspace/handle/1920/228 by typing Reston Black Focus into the search box.