Amherst College La Causa/Chicano Caucus Collection
Scope and Contents
Documents in the collection range from drafts of constitutions for La Causa and founding documents for La Casa, the Latinx Cultural Theme House to articles and letters from allied student groups such as Black Students’ Union. Other documents include research material for events, posters, and correspondence between guests and La Causa.
- Creation: 1965-2008
Conditions Governing Access
In general, there is no restriction on access to collection for research use. Selected items may be restricted to protect the privacy rights of individuals or for other legal reasons. Particularly fragile or valuable items have been replaced with copies.
Conditions Governing Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights prior to publication.
Biographical / Historical
La Causa was established in the early 1960s. One of La Causa’s primary goals is to increase recognition of students of color at Amherst College. Throughout its history, the group has aimed to represent the interests of these students by hosting a number of lectures, concerts, and celebrations. Some events, such as Cooking Night, P’alante and Voices for the Voiceless, occur on an annual basis. In addition to La Causa’s social interests, the group has advocated for the creation of a Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies department at Amherst College since the 1970s. Along with this initiative, La Causa has promoted the importance of ethnic studies across disciplines and campaigned for the College to hire faculty of color. La Causa has also been integral in the creation of other on-campus groups supporting Latinx student interests. Such groups include the Chicano Caucus, El Arco Iris, and the creation of the Latinx Culture Theme House, La Casa. La Causa looked to Latinx groups from within the Five College Consortium and beyond for support and collaboration in their efforts. Some years, the group reached out extensively to its alumni network as well. While the efforts of the group have been aided in some circumstances by faculty/administration, La Causa is primarily a student-driven and student-oriented organization.
4 Linear feet (6 record cartons, 3 mapcase drawers)
Language of Materials
Minutes, correspondence, publications, and posters related to the activities of La Causa, a student group on campus. The material covers the 1970s through the present.
The collection is organized into the following eleven series:
- Series 1: Administrative Materials
- Series 2: Events
- Series 3: Correspondence
- Series 4: Five College Consortium/Other Colleges
- Series 5: Other Clubs/Groups
- Series 6: Social/Political Movements
- Series 7: Job/Scholarship Information
- Series 8: Publications
- Series 9: Latin American, Caribbean, Latino Studies
- Series 10: Miscellaneous
- Series 11: Ephemera
As evidenced by the materials in this collections, the degree to which documents were maintained by members of La Causa has historically been inconsistent. Inspired by the recent creation of an archive for the Afro-American Society/Black Students’ Union, this collection was transferred from the José Martí room located in Keefe Campus Center. Since its opening on March 20th, 1973, the José Martí room has served multiple functions for La Causa and the Latinx community. One of its primary functions has been to serve as a resource center for Latinx cultural materials, which have included a library of books gathered from past students and photographs of past members. Like the Afro-American Society/Black Students’ Union, La Causa never deposited any of its materials in the Archives. Though the group has not, to date, had a system for archiving documents; the creation of this collection is part of a wider effort to establish a process by which La Causa will be able to add to its archives for years to come.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
In the Fall 2016 semester, six students from “An Introduction to U.S. Latino/a History, 1848-Present” were assigned to create and organize an archival collection for La Causa. In the course of their work, the students brought the collection from the José Martí room in Keefe Campus Center - La Causa’s homebase on campus - to the Archives.
- In Progress
- Helena Burgueño (AC 2019) Joshua Hernandez (AC 2018) Genesis Peña (AC2020) Irma Zamora (AC 2017), and Rachel Jirka.
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description