The Hub

Introducing the Intersectional Feminist Popular Education Hub and Activism Collection

The Intersectional Feminist Popular Education Hub and Activism Collection is the result of a noted feminist historian urging educators and collaborators elmira Nazombe, Mariama Williams, Carol Barton, and Pamela Sparr to find an institution to preserve and make accessible the writings and other materials that document their contributions to progressive feminist organizing in the US and internationally over the past 40+ years. The collection will showcase the depth and breadth of their cutting-edge intersectional popular education, organizing, and policy advocacy on a wide range of topics from the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s to today’s struggles around immigrant rights and climate justice, to name just a few arenas. This collection is unusual because it is not simply one woman’s story, but also offers insights into their evolving friendships and political collaborations. Over time, the Collection will be adding physical materials and documentation of other progressive feminist activists from the US and internationally.

elmira Nazombe, Mariama Williams, Carol Barton, and Pamela Sparr joined Nandita Mani, Dean of University Libraries, and Aaron Rubinstein, Head of the Robert S. Cox Special Collections and University Archives Research Center, to sign the formal agreement designating the UMass Libraries as the recipient of this extraordinary collaborative collection and initiating the development of the Intersectional Feminist Popular Education Hub to activate the collection and ensure that the materials it contains are accessible to activists, organizers, popular education groups, economics instructors, and other educators committed to advancing social and economic justice via an intersectional feminist lens.

While our next issue will feature a more in-depth look at this collection and the incredible people who created and donated these materials, here are some of the reasons elmira, Mariama, Carol, and Pam elected to partner with UMass Libraries on this initiative:

“Our Feminist Popular Education Hub (a.k.a. the Hub) is designed as both a physical and digital space for popular education materials, coaching, collaborative strategies, and tools for movement building within organizations working for gender, racial, economic, and environmental justice around the globe. UMass Libraries and Special Collections excel at collecting, presenting, and maintaining for the long haul the kind of digitization leadership and archival collections assets that the Hub needs. It will also be part of a broad and deep spectrum of archival materials from critical moments of justice work in US history which are available for the present and future generations to use as sources for inspirational creativity.”
—Mariama Williams

“UMass Amherst Libraries and Special Collections have long been involved in documenting the organizing efforts of grassroots leaders in their work for social justice. They are committed to an intersectional approach that looks at how gender, race, class, sexual orientation and gender identity and other factors impact women’s lives and how women are organizing in response. This led us to house our Feminist popular education and advocacy collections and Hub at UMass Amherst. Popular education plays a critical role in helping communities — including students and faculty in the UMass Amherst community —understand the forces at work in the complex issues we face today, and to build collective responses. It is an important tool for this moment of multiple crises.” —Carol Barton

“I first learned of UMass Amherst when a social justice colleague found it was the place where she could do graduate studies in our area of mutual interest – popular education. Later I found that UMass social justice analysis materials provided my first teaching content. I now have the opportunity to share my own popular education work in the context of such wonderful archival materials as those of W. E. B. Du Bois and the Black Feminist Archive, which opens new opportunities for continuing collaboration and learning.” —elmira Nazombe

“We’re delighted to be working with UMass Amherst to develop our Collection. The University is a great fit for us for a number of reasons. We are philosophically in tune with the academic and archiving culture. The university has a great national reputation for maximizing access to its collections through digitization. Some of us have worked with and admired various faculty members over many decades. We are thrilled with Dean Mani’s vision for bringing the Collection alive, to have the chance to collaborate with a wide range of faculty, staff, and students to develop interesting and useful programs for everyone on campus.” —Pamela Sparr