The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories
Civil rights movement in Vermont collection
Repository: Vermont Historical Society
Collection Description (Extant): The collection is divided into four series. The first series contains background information about the Vermont-New York Youth Project, mostly in the form of newspaper stories copied from the organization's archives at the University of Vermont. This series describes some of the events and social conditions that precipitated national concern regarding racism and, in turn, the concern of Governor Hoff, his staff, and many citizens. The reports and evaluations in this series give details of the programs and their effects on the participants. The news stories deal with many aspects of the program and the varied reactions and opinions of the populace.
The second series contains records related to a celebration of the twentieth anniversary of project by the Vermont Historical Society held on Martin Luther King Day, 1989. The reunion project was headed by Karen Lane, Education Coordinator, and Michael Sherman, Director of the Society. This series contains correspondence, news stories, transcriptions of interviews with participants, and a copy of a photograph of the leaders of the project taken in 1969.
Series III contains information about other Vermont civil rights organizations and activities in Vermont in the 1960s. These organizations include the Human Rights Council, the Conference of Christians and Jews (Rutland, Vt.), Vermont in Mississippi Project, and Vermont Civil Rights Union. The folder on the Vermont in Mississippi Project includes newspaper articles about the firing of Ted Seaver from his position at Montpelier High School in a dispute over time off to participate in the project. The series also includes articles about two predecessor projects, 'The Vermont Plan' of 1948 and 'The Box Project' of 1962. Some of the copies in this series were provided by the Rutland Historical Society.
The fourth series contains one folder of materials about Martin Luther King day programs at the Vermont Historical Society in 1992-1996.
Biographical or historical data :
The Vermont-New York Youth Project was developed in 1968 as a Vermont response to the nation's racial problems. Vermonters were motivated by conditions described in the report of The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (March 1968) that attributed urban riots to white racism and separate and unequal black and white societies. Vermont had also been shaken by the shooting of the house of a black minister in northern Vermont in 'The Irasburg Affair' during the summer of 1968.
The project, a private non-profit corporation called Youth Project of Vermont, Inc., was formed by Vermont Governor Philip H. Hoff with the cooperation of Mayor John V. Lindsay and the Youth Service Agency of New York City. Three hundred black teenagers were brought to Vermont from New York City to join a like number of Vermonters in various programs. Some of the program sites included Castleton State College, Putney School, University of Vermont, Vermont Academy, and Windham College. Participants took part in camping, theater, literature and language arts, academic classes and performing arts. One of the programs set up for participants was called Community of the Performing Arts whose director was Malvine Cole, a former member of the Vermont legislature. The program ran for two summers and was discontinued because contributions and grants fell short of needs for a third summer.
Digital Status: No
Existing IDs: Call no: MSA 307
Extent: .5 linear feet
Finding Aid URL: http://www.vermonthistory.org/documents/findaid/civilrightsvt.pdf
Related Archival Items: There is an audio tape of the VHS’s reunion of the Vermont-New York Project participants in 1989 (audio M-61). Related tapes include interviews with Irving Adler in 1986 about the Vermont in Mississippi Project (Audio M-47) and with Paul Hackel in 1986 about the Civil Rights Commission (Audio M-63) as well as Martin Luther King Day programs in 1988 (Audio M-60),1992 (Audio M-62 and M-87) and 1997 (Audio M-137)
The VHS library has a collection of photographs of the Vermont in Mississippi Project taken by Tyler Resch in Mississippi during the summer of 1965. They are housed in FB-17.
Additional posters and programs from VHS Martin Luther King Day programs may be found in the broadside collection under “VHS,” in uncat. pam. “Vermont Historical Society,” and in administrative files.
Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights
African Americans--Civil rights--Vermont
Civil rights movements--New York (State)
Civil rights movements--Vermont
Civil rights workers--Vermont
United States. National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders