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John T. B. Mudge (AC 1971) Papers on Amherst College Moratoria

 Collection
Identifier: MA.00398

Scope and Contents

This collection includes material collected by John T.B. Mudge during the moratoria. This material primarily includes clippings, printed matter, photographs, and administrative records related to the first two of the four separate moratoria held at Amherst College from April 1969 to May 1970.

The files “First Moratorium” and “Black Moratorium” contain material generated during the two events. The former includes correspondence, mimeographed proposals, flyers, notes, and speeches, while the latter only contains material circulated by the Afro-American Society and a proposal for a course on “Radical Perspectives on American Societies.” Subsequent folders contain material created in response to the moratoria, arranged by subject and publication.

Dates

  • Creation: 1969-1971
  • Creation: 1993
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1969

Creator

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

In spring 1969, student grievances led to a series of moratoria to allow for College-wide discussion of campus and national concerns. John T.B. Mudge (AC 1971), a self-described “‘moderate’ or ‘conservative’” took an active role in the series of Amherst College moratoria beginning in April 1969.

On Friday, April 25, 1969 the Amherst College faculty in a closed meeting decided to suspend classes for two days, April 28 and 29, to allow for a campus-wide discussion to evaluate the College's problems in response to a proposal made by the English 98 seminar, "English and Education." The moratorium officially began on Monday, April 28, with an open meeting in front of Frost Library, when participants would then break into four groups to discuss questions raised at the meeting. Discussions with professors were held in fraternity houses later that evening. In anticipation of this first meeting, the College would distribute mimeographed material to campus mailboxes; students and faculty alike submitted proposals and grievances. Out of these two days the College community voted on the Ad Hoc Committee's proposals dealing with reforms to the college and the drafting of a letter addressed to President Nixon informing him of "our concern as a committed institution for the existing relationship between the crisis on the university campus today and the larger ills of society" (Amherst Student, April 30, 1969).

On May 1, 1969, the faculty and College Council again approved a suspension of classes for May 14, 1969, to begin with a mass meeting in Johnson Chapel (Amherst Student, May 8, 1969). Led by the Afro-American Society, this “Black Moratorium” was intended to create a “contagious awareness of the subtleties of racism that will eventually spread through the student body” (Amherst Student, May 15, 1969). To this end, the moratorium featured a series of seminars on Black students at Amherst and predominately white institutions, Black Power, and the rationale for a Black Studies Program. Poems were circulated in an effort to focus discussion on Black experiences in the country, while the moratorium was preceded by a showing of a series of films from the “Of Black America” series. The featured speaker, The Invisible Man author Ralph Ellison, gave an address entitled “Race and the Dynamics of American Literature” to benefit the Amherst Summer Action Programs. However, the second moratorium did not receive as much support and attendance as the first. The moratorium was part of a legacy of activism that contributed to the establishment of the Black Studies Department in 1971.

Extent

.5 Linear feet (15 folders)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

This collection includes material collected by John T.B. Mudge during the moratoria, in which classes were officially canceled in order to allow campus-wide discussion of grievances and proposals related to the Vietnam War, racism, College governance, and coeducation, among others. This material primarily includes clippings, printed matter, photographs, and administrative records related to the first two of the four separate moratoria held at Amherst College from April 1969 to May 1970.

Related Materials

  1. Amherst College Moratoria Collection

Processing Information

When the collection was donated in 1993, it was split into five folders due to physical requirements and placed in the General Files under the Political Activity and Activism heading. Further processing in 2022 revealed a lack of a discernable original order. Material was rearranged into 15 folders based on subject.

Author
Anna Smith (AC 2022)
Date
2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2299