All posts by Renata

June is PRIDE month!

June is PRIDE month for the GLBTQ community. Each year the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan is being honored nationally. It is a special time for recognizing the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally, and for remembering those who paved the way and those who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. The celebration includes pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia, and concerts. 

The LGBTQ Archives in the Elihu Burritt Library at CCSU hold primary material related to the struggle for gay rights, and is particularly strong in Connecticut collections, offering comprehensive coverage of local political and cultural history from the 1960s to today.  

Collections in the LGBTQ archives tell the stories of overturning the sodomy ban (1969); passing the hate crimes (1990), gay rights (1991) and marriage equality (2008) laws; fighting for progressive AIDS legislation (1980s-1990s); and securing transgender protections (2010s). The Archives hold many personal papers donated by people active in the community as well as records of organizations. Our students and history professors conducted oral history interviews which were also placed in the archives. They give an intimate insight into individual struggles. A wide collection of ephemera is also a part of the Archives. It includes photographs, books, buttons, T- shirts, videos, postcards, and flyers documenting campaigns and events. 

Some of the key collections are the records of such organizations as Connecticut AIDS Action Council, Connecticut Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights, Connecticut Gay and Lesbian Film Festival/Out Film, Connecticut Gay and Lesbian Pride Festival, Dignity Hartford, Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective, Metropolitan Community Church, Project 100/GLBT Community Center, and the Reader’s Feast bookstore. 

Among the key leading figures of the local LGBTQ movement who have donated their papers were Richard Cardarelli, Carolyn and Lesley Gabel-Brett, Victor D’Lugin, Betty Gallo (longtime lobbyist for GLBTQ rights), George W. Henry/Canon Clinton Jones, Christine Pattee, Jerimarie Liesegang, Richard Nelson, and Donna Stimpson.  The Archives also holds the papers of John Loughery and William J. Mann, nationally known authors. 

Link to general information about the GLBTQ Archives: https://library.ccsu.edu/help/spcoll/index.php

Link to finding aids of some of the archival collections: https://archives-library.wcsu.edu/cao/

The Elihu Burritt Library received grant for CCSU’s mural collection

A recent grant award received by Central Connecticut State University will help to preserve some of the university’s most colorful history in the Connecticut Digital Archive 

The Elihu Burritt Library at CCSU received a $10,000 grant from CT Humanities to create a digital collection of artwork and murals by Professor Emeritus Mike Alewitz and his students.

The collection will feature work produced during Alewitz’s 16 years as director of the mural painting program at CCSU. Since the program’s launch in 2000, students have produced more than 100 murals on the CCSU campus; numerous murals in downtown New Britain; and several throughout the world as part of the program’s international mural slams, plus hundreds of smaller art pieces.

The contributions of these young muralists will be revealed with a permanent online collection in the Connecticut Digital Archive, a statewide digital repository at the University of Connecticut and a partner of the Digital Public Library of America. As part of the Burritt Library’s expanding digital collections, this archive will support teaching and research in art and art history, both for CCSU students and for artists and scholars around the world. The materials will be uploaded over the course of the year, culminating in an exhibit and symposium at the library.

Alewitz is a well-known as an activist and agitprop artist. He was a leading antiwar activist at Kent State University, an eyewitness to the massacre of May 1970, and a leader of the national student strike that followed. He has remained a lifelong labor and social justice activist. In 1999, Alewitz was named a Millennium Artist by the White House Millennium Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation.

Alewitz’s students greatly expanded the boundaries of mural painting, grappling with issues in science, education, substance abuse, sexual assault, war, racism, climate change, 9-11, homelessness, censorship, popular culture, and many other topics. The collection demonstrates a genuine diversity of students’ perspectives, artistic styles, and political viewpoints informed by their unique backgrounds and experiences.

This project is made possible by a CT Humanities SHARP (Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan) capacity grant.

 Professor Emeritus Mike Alewitz may be contacted at alewitz@gmail.com. Project manager and CCSU’s Digital Humanities Librarian Brian Matzke may be contacted at bmatzke@ccsu.edu.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH

The Elihu Burritt Library presents a small sampling of publications on African American topics from its holdings. Topics include biographies, politics, slavery, health, wellness, and entertainment.

The exhibit is on view till the end of February and exhibit cases are located on 2nd and 3rd floor.