Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Daniel and Joyce Stokes Papers
Scope and Contents of the Collection
Centered around the newsletter Into the Night, the Stokes Papers contains correspondence from a range of self-identified political prisoners, accompanied by an interesting, but ultimately miscellaneous suite of publications from the radical press. As small and tightly focused as it is, the collection provides a valuable window into the radical edge of the late 1980s political spectrum, and particularly the conjunction of antiracist and anti-imperialist groups within the prison system.
Although some of the correspondence is at best mundane -- mostly requests for subscriptions -- several prisoners provide compelling analyses of their political views and the conditions of imprisonment. Most correspondents are represented by only one or two letters, however the Ohio 7 "seditionists" (Ray Luc Levasseur and Carol Manning), the MOVE organization (Ramona Africa and William Phillips Africa), and members of the Black Liberation Army are somewhat better represented.
Among other noteworthy items in the collection are letters from Chicano revolutionaries Alberto Aranda and Alvaro Hernandez, including protests filed with the Texas Department of Corrections regarding the decision to deny Aranda access to Into the Night, and two lengthy letters from Aranda discussing political prisoners. Marilyn Buck's letters provide a sharp analysis of the need for political ideology along with a copy of court proceedings filed by her and Mutulu Shakur (see also the folder relating to the Resistance Conspiracy Case). Several African American revolutionaries discuss their political motives and life in prison, including Ramona Africa (filed under MOVE), John Albury (Born Allah), Anthony Bottom (Jalil Muntaqim), Eric Clemmons-Bey, Kenneth Akbar Muhammad Jenkins, Ruchell Cinque Magee, and Richard Williams.
Finally, the collection includes a small number of radical antiwar and antinuclear resisters, most notably Philip Berrigan, Carl Kabat, George Ostensen, and Gillam Kerley.
While editing Into the Night, the Stokes kept copies of other radical publications, many intended for political prisoners or fellow revolutionaries, the more uncommon of which have been retained within the collection, which also includes an apparently complete run of Into the Night, including paste-ups of four of the five extant issues.