BERTA GREEN LANGSTON PAPERS, 1958 - 2005

 

                           • ALEXANDER DEFENSE COMMITTEE

                           • FAIR PLAY FOR CUBA COMMITTEE

                           • COMMITTEE TO COMBAT RACIAL INJUSTICE

                           • COMMITTEE TO AID THE MONROE DEFENDANTS

• COMMITTEE ON NEW ALTERNATIVES IN THE MIDDLE EAST

 

Collection Number:  HLL-1

 

 

 

HOLT LABOR LIBRARY

 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA

 

2005

 

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Provenance

 

The Berta Green Langston Papers were given to the  Holt Labor Library in 2005, 2003, and 2002.

 

Access

 

            Collection is open for research.

 

Publication Rights

 

            Copyright has not been assigned to the Holt Labor Library.  All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director for forwarding.  Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Holt Labor Library as the owner of the physical items, and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

 

 

Collection Number

 

            HLL-1

 

Size

 

            Number of containers:  1 carton, 1 volume

            Linear Feet: 1.25

 

Processed by

 

            Caralee Kahn

 

Date Completed

 

            December, 2005

 

Preferred Citation

 

            [Identification of item], Berta Green Langston Papers, HLL-1, Holt Labor Library

 

Related Collection

 

• Pamphlet files: Fair Play for Cuba Committee, Committee to Aid the Monroe Defendants, Williams, Robert F.

• Archives: Asher Harer Papers, Paul Colvin Papers

• Socialist Workers Party bulletins and related publications

 

 

 

 

BIOGRAPHY

 

Berta Green was born July 22, 1926, on the Lower East Side of New York City.  She joined the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) at age 19 or 20.  For a brief time in the 1960s she was a member of the Party’s National Committee.  She remained active in the SWP until 1983, when she was expelled, along with numerous other long time members.  She immediately went on to help form Socialist Action, to which she belonged for several years.  

 

In 1957/1958, she moved to Detroit and began working for the SWP full time. Her Party name was Berta Graham.  One of her first tasks was to help organize a tour in Michigan for Harold Davies, a British Labour Party Member of Parliament.

 

In December of 1958 the “kissing case” broke in North Carolina.  At that time, the SWP was deeply involved in regroupment; orienting the Party’s work toward reaching disillusioned Communist Party (CP) members following the Twentieth Congress and Khrushchev revelations. Langston was a member of a small minority that felt the CP members were burned out and would abandon politics.  Instead Langston’s group thought that participation in the growing civil rights movement would offer them greater opportunities. As such, Langston volunteered to work on the Committee to Combat Racial Injustice nine-day tour of Michigan by Robert Williams, beginning her work on various defense committees. During this time, she worked under the name Berta Green.

 

As the Cuban Revolution was underway, Langston moved back to New York City, where she participated in Cuban defense activity and was elected Secretary of the New York branch of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC).  Later she became the de-facto National Executive Secretary of the national group.

 

When the SWP national office decided to move away from Cuba work (which Langston protested), she was re-assigned from the FPCC to the Committee to Aid the Monroe Defendants (CAMD), where she served as Secretary.

 

In the late 1960s, Langston became involved in organizing activities with the Alexander Defense Committee (ADC), which had been formed to aid victims of South African apartheid.

 

In the early 1970s, under the name Berta Langston, she was active in the Committee on New Alternatives in the Middle East (CONAME) along with her husband Robert Langston.

 

Berta Langston currently lives in Connecticut, where she continues to be politically active.

 

 

 

SCOPE AND CONTENT

 

 

The Berta Green Langston Papers 1958-2005 consist of a selection of correspondence, newsletters, newspaper articles, and miscellaneous writings and memorabilia concerning the Alexander Defense Committee, Committee to Combat Racial Injustice, the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC),  the Committee to Aid the Monroe Defendants (CAMD), and the Committee on New Alternatives in the Middle East (CONAME), organizations in which the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) was active in the United States during the 1960’s and 1970’s.

 

Correspondents of note in the collection include James Baldwin, Robert F. Kennedy, Robert F. Williams, Albert Perry, Dave Dellinger, William Worthy, Pete Seeger, Noam Chomsky, and Arie Bober, as well as officials in the United States Department of Justice, Congress, and the Attorney General’s office. Memorabilia in the collection include issues of the CAMD newsletter The Crusader and the FPCC newsletters Fair Play, Student Council, and Cuban Press Survey. Some legal papers concerning the trial of the Monroe Defendants are included, as is one black and white photograph of the defendants. Other memorabilia includes a draft of Van Gosse’s 1993 book Where the Boys Are, newspaper clippings, press releases, event announcements, conference and symposia documents, and benefit concert information.

 

 

 

 

SERIES DESCRIPTION

 

 

SERIES 1:        ALEXANDER DEFENSE COMMITTEE, 1965 - 1971

                        Carton 1, folders 1 - 2

 

            Arranged chronologically.

 

            Contains correspondence from Alexander Defense Committee members to various individuals, including Congressman William Ryan, Assistant Attorney General J. Walter Yeagley, and President Lyndon Johnson.  Press releases, notices, and brochures relating to the committee are also included.

 

 

SERIES 2:        FAIR PLAY FOR CUBA COMMITTEE, 1958 – 2002

                        Carton 1, folders 3 – 14 and 1 volume

 

            Arranged chronologically.

 

            Contains correspondence, announcements, press releases, notices, and minutes from the Fair Play for Cuba Committee and its chapters.  Information about the FPCC’s first national conference and their December, 1960 Cuba tour is included. Newsletters make up one sub-series (containing copies of Fair Play, Student Council, and Cuban Press Survey).  A second sub-series for the Socialist Worker’s Party contains correspondence and documents from the Political Committee and the National Executive Committee. Materials relating to the Eastland Committee Hearings, newspaper clippings, and a scrapbook (1 volume) containing Political Committee minutes and documents are also included.

 

 

SERIES 3:        COMMITTEE TO COMBAT RACIAL INJUSTICE, 1958 - 1959

                        Carton 1, folders 15 – 16

 

            Arranged chronologically.

 

            Contains newspaper clippings about the North Carolina “Kissing Case” and the involvement of Robert F. Williams, President of the North Carolina National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) during the case in which two young boys were arrested and charge for kissing a white girl.  Correspondence, notices, and announcements about the case and other Committee affairs are also included.

 

 

SERIES 4:        COMMITTEE TO AID THE MONROE DEFENDANTS, 1959 – 2001

                        Carton 1, folders 17 – 33

 

            Arranged chronologically.

 

            Contains a sub-series for correspondence, which includes letters to and from Albert Perry, Dave Dellinger, William Worthy, Mae Mallory, Conrad Lynn, Calvin Hicks, Robert F. Williams, and James Baldwin.  Also included is correspondence concerning the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the Southern Conference Educational Fund (SCEF), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the NAACP, as well as to the United States Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Attorney General. Other documents include newsletters (The Crusader), bulletins, summary reports, financial statements, and conference and symposium information.  Of particular note is a black and white photo of the Monroe Defendants. A second sub-series contains newspaper clippings concerning the Monroe Kidnap Case and Robert F. Williams and the Monroe Defendants.

 

SERIES 5:        COMMITTEE ON NEW ALTERNATIVES IN THE MIDDLE EAST, 1969 – 2005

                        Carton 1, folders 34-38

 

            Arranged chronologically.

 

            These documents primarily concern the American speaking tour of Arie Bober, an anti-Zionist Israeli and member of the Israeli Socialist Organization, which CONAME sponsored in spring and summer of 1970. A sub-series for correspondence includes substantial correspondence with Bober, as well as letters to and from sponsors of the committee (including Arthur Miller, Noam Chomsky, and Pete Seeger) and various media and press outlets. Newspaper clippings, press releases, publicity materials, Bober’s biography, copies of speeches, tour reports, schedules, and financial statements are also included. Of note is correspondence with Doubleday concerning publication terms of Bober’s book The Other Israel. One issue of ISRAC, the Israeli Revolutionary Action Committee newsletter, is also included.

 

 

 

 

CONTAINER LISTING

 

SERIES 1:        ALEXANDER DEFENSE COMMITTEE, 1965 – 1971

 

Container      Folder            Contents                                                       Dates

 

Ctn. 1               1                      Correspondence                                             1965 – 1971

 

                        2                      Press Releases, Notices, Brochures              1965 – 1966

 

 

SERIES 2:        FAIR PLAY FOR CUBA COMMITTEE, 1958 - 2002

 

                        3                      Correspondence                                             1960 –2002

                       

                        4                      Announcements, Press Releases, Ads,

                                                Notices and receipts                                       1960 – 1962

 

                        5                      Eastland Committee Hearings              1960 – 1961

 

                        6                      V. Gosse Draft Dissertation                            1991

 

                        7                      Newspaper Clippings                                      1958 – 1959

 

                        8                      First National Conference and Cuba Tour       1960 – 1961

 

                        9                      New York Chapter & Banquet            1961

 

                        10                    Other Chapters (Correspondence, Notices,

                                                Announcements)                                            1961

 

                        NEWSLETTERS, 1960 – 1963

 

                        11                    Fair Play Newsletter                                       1960 – 1961

 

                        12                    Student Council Newsletter                           1960 – 1961

 

                        13                    Cuban Press Survey Newsletter                    1961 – 1963

 

SOCIALIST WORKER’S PARTY, 1960 – 1963

 

                        14                    Political Committee (PC) and National Executive

                                                Committee (NEC)                                             1961 – 1963

 

                        Vol. 1               Scrapbook (PC Minutes, Correspondence,

and Misc.)                                                       1960

 

 

 

 

 

SERIES 3:        COMMITTEE TO COMBAT RACIAL INJUSTICE, 1958 – 1959

 

Container      Folder            Contents                                                       Dates

 

Ctn. 1               15                    Newspaper Clippings                                      1958 - 1959

                       

                        16                    Correspondence and Announcements           1959

 

 

 

SERIES 4:        COMMITTEE TO AID THE MONROE DEFENDANTS, 1959 - 2001

 

                        17                    Press Releases, Form Letters, Fact Sheets   1961 – 1964

 

                        18                    Information Bulletins, Summary Reports,

                                                Financial Statements                                       1961 – 1964

 

                        19                    Histories (Mayfield, Williams, Weissman,

Helms, Lavan) and Photograph                       1962 – 2001

 

                        20                    Symposium and Conferences             1962 - 1963

 

                        21                    Benefit Concerts and Other Events               

                                                (Includes Pete Seeger Correspondence)       1962 - 1963

 

                        22                    Newsletters (Crusader, Monroe

                                                Non-Violent Action Committee,

Voice of Action)                                              1959 – 1964

 

CORRESPONDENCE, 1961 – 1987

 

            23                    A. Perry, D. Dellinger, W. Worthy and Misc.   1961 – 2003

 

                        24                    Robert F. Williams                                            1961 – 1963

 

                        25                    Attorneys, DOJ, FBI, Legal Briefs                   1961 – 1987

 

                        26                    Internal SWP and CAMD (C. Lynn, C. Hicks,

                                                M. Mallory)                                                       1961 – 1964

 

                        27                    James Baldwin                                                1963 – 1964

                       

                        28                    Chapters (Boston, Ohio, Calif, etc.)                1961 – 1964

 

                        29                    NAACP                                                            1961 – 1962

 

                        30                    ACLU                                                               1962

 

                        31                    SNCC, CORE, SCEF                                         1961 – 1963

 

 

 

 

Container      Folder            Contents                                                       Dates

 

Ctn. 1               NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS, 1961 – 1969

(cont.)

                        32                    Newspaper Clippings                                      1961 – 1963

 

                        33                    Newspaper Clippings                                      1961 – 1969

 

 

SERIES 5:        COMMITTEE ON NEW ALTERNATIVES IN THE MIDDLE EAST,

                        1969-2005

 

Container      Folder            Contents                                                       Dates

 

Ctn. 1               34                    Newspaper Clippings, Press Releases,

Publicity and Marketing                                    1970

                       

                        35                    Arie Bober Tour                                              1970-2005

 

CORRESPONDENCE, 1969-1970

 

36                    Media and Press                                             1970

 

37                    Committee Sponsors and Arie Bober              1969-1970

 

38                    Arie Bober Tour                                              1970