Al Weinrub Justice Papers

50 years of justice activism in the labor, anti-war, human rights,
and climate justice movements in the U.S.

The papers of Al Weinrub, the social justice activist who co-founded the national anti-imperialist organization Science for the People (SftP) in 1969, have been acquired by the Robert S. Cox Special Collections and University Archives Research Center (SCUA), as part of their collections documenting social change.

The collection contains materials on Science for the People and the anti-imperialist science movement; the 1970s energy crisis in the United States; the revolutionary and counter-revolutionary political struggles of the post-Vietnam War era; the struggle in U. S. labor against the war in Central America, as represented by the Labor Network on Central America; the National Rainbow Coalition of the 1980s and the associated work of the political organization Line of March; defense of the rights of freelance writers by the National Writers’ Union, including the struggle to free political death-row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal; and more recently, taking on the existential threat posed by climate injustice, especially in the U.S.

The Al Weinrub Justice Papers document the breadth and depth of Weinrub’s social justice activism and its intersections with political struggles over the past five decades. The collection, donated by Weinrub, joins SCUA’s array of activist papers and records, including several collections related to SftP.

Aaron Rubinstein, the head of SCUA, notes that “Al Weinrub’s collection will provide a vital lens on the history of many of the most important movements of the last fifty years, and also a roadmap for contemporary activists, who are fighting many of the same societal ills Weinrub dedicated his life to addressing.”

“What’s special about this collection is that it not only provides insight into the early years of Science for the People, but also shows the diverse political activism a single activist-scientist has engaged in over the course of his life. Weinrub went on from founding SftP to supporting anti-imperialist labor struggles in Central America in the 1980s, to taking part in Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. He has brought these experiences together in is more recent efforts to advance the cause of climate justice by building a movement to democratize energy in the U.S.” —Sigrid Schmalzer, UMass Amherst professor of history and the organizer of the 2014 conference “Science for the People: The 1970s and Today.”