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Special Collections

Digitized Materials

Digitized materials from our special collections have not yet been made available on this website, although they will be in the future. However, digitized photographs from two of our special collections, the Boston Black United Front Records and the Vera Laska Collection, are available on Flickr. Photographs of protests, gatherings, and the daily work of the Boston Black United Front are included, along with 127 postcards of Mexico from the Vera Laska Collection.


The RCC Special Collections strives to provide deeper understanding of the complexity, challenges, and community strengths of Greater Roxbury (Roxbury, Dorchester, and Boston’s South End). It collects, preserves, and makes accessible records of community organizations and individuals relevant to the cultural, political, economic, and social history of this area.

Collection Policy

The RCC Special Collections collects the original records of Greater Roxbury-based community organizations and individuals. The community can be defined as geographical or as a group responding to social justice issues. The Special Collections’ primary interests are:

  • Architecture, Culture, and Religion: Community groups and organizations, including churches, which celebrate and promote the arts, culture, and religious activity of Greater Roxbury-based residents, artists, and writers.
  • Art: Photographs, postcards, textiles, and other audio-visual material of or by individuals of African, African-American, Hispanic, and Asian heritage, even if they are from outside Greater Roxbury.
  • Population and Social Activity: Community groups and neighborhood organizations formed according to group identity for support and advocacy, or that document the history and development of Greater Roxbury.
  • Social Reform and Welfare: Individuals, organizations, and activities that address the economic, educational, and social discrimination of African Americans, Hispanic, and Latin Americans in the Greater Roxbury area and work to advocate for rights through social reform, such as the civil rights movement.
  • The History of Roxbury: Any material, published or manuscript, related to Roxbury or African-American life in the Boston area.

Acquisition Policy

The RCC Library accepts donations of the above records in all formats, including manuscript, audio-visual, and digital. It also accepts donations of other records outside of its collection policy on a case by case basis. Final authority for acquisition decisions will be made by the Librarian Archivist in conjunction with the Library Director, based on the size, condition, provenance, format, and subject(s) of the collection.

Finding Aids

Boston Black United Front Records

Boston Black United Front Finding Aid

The Boston Black United Front was founded as a power-oriented organization with the goal of developing Boston’s Black community into a united base of economic and political power, ultimately improving the living conditions of community residents. Operating between 1968 and 1972, it advocated for the safety and well-being not only of the Boston Black community, but also for that of allied communities in Cairo, Illinois, and New Bedford, Massachusetts.

PLEASE NOTE: The Boston Black United Front Records are currently being digitized. As a result, portions of the collection are unavailable for research. Please contact the archivist to confirm which records are currently accessible.

Franklin Park Coalition Records

Franklin Park Finding Aid

The Franklin Park Coalition (FPC) is a non-profit organization founded in 1971 in order to support and advocate for Franklin Park in Boston. FPC seeks to engage the park’s surrounding communities through programming, fundraising, and volunteer park maintenance. The organization has worked with state and local government, the Parks and Recreation Department, the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA), local schools and colleges, and various community groups.

Claudia Kaiser-Lenoir Collection

Claudia Kaiser-Lenoir Finding Aid

Claudia Kaiser-Lenoir was an Associate Professor in the Department of Romance Languages at Tufts University. This collection contains Latin American art and artifacts.

Records of Massachusetts Jobs with Justice

Massachusetts Jobs with Justice Finding Aid

This collection documents the founding, operation, and activism of the Massachusetts chapter of Jobs with Justice, a labor justice organization, from 1992 to 2013. It also contains materials from other chapters of Jobs with Justice and organizations affiliated with Jobs with Justice. Taken together, the materials provide a deep look at many labor issues salient in Massachusetts and the broader world in the 1990s and 2000s. 

Melvin King Papers, 1983 Mayoral Campaign

Mel King Finding Aid

Mel King was an advocate for affordable housing and community-based urban development in Boston’s Black community. He was a state representative for the Ninth Suffolk District of Massachusetts from 1973 to 1982. This collection comprises documents relating to King’s campaign for mayor of Boston in 1983, and to a lesser extent, his campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1986.

Vera Laska Collection

Vera Laska Finding Aid

Vera Laska was a Holocaust survivor, educator, author, and professor at Regis College in Weston, MA. This collection contains materials relating to the history of Massachusetts and Mexico.

Massachusetts Experimental School System Records

MESS Finding Aid

The Massachusetts Experimental School System (M.E.S.S.) was a part of the larger African-American community movement to empower youth and to instill a sense of personal responsibility and community. Operating from 1971 to 1975, M.E.S.S. consisted of 3 “parallel” school systems – lower, middle, and high [upper school], which were authorized by the Commonwealth in 1967.

Roxbury History Collection

Roxbury History Finding Aid

This is an artificial collection consisting of materials from multiple donations relating to the history of Roxbury.

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