Monday, March 16, 2009
One of the strengths of the Class of Nonviolence is its use of original writings: you don’t read about Gandhi – you read what he wrote. Even better, I think, is to peek at original documents. I stumbled into the FBI’s online “reading room,” where the heirs of J. Edgar Hoover archive photocopies of some of their most requested files. Tucked away amid Bonnie & Clyde and the KKK you’ll find a few writers from the Class of Nonviolence: Martin Luther King, Jr., Albert Einstein, Clarence Darrow and Erich Fromm. Many others of interest to scholars of peace and nonviolence are here as well: César Chávez, Marion Anderson, Edward Abbey, Jane Addams, W.E.B. DuBois, the Highlander Folk School, Malcolm X, Eleanor Roosevelt, the ACLU and the AFSC.
Most of the files (this is SO cool) consist of documents: in Fromm’s file, for example, you’ll find the manifesto from the 1965 Washington Mobilization, a petition from the Chicago Committee for a SANE Nuclear Policy and a flier from Women’s Strike for Peace. There are 142 pages on Lucille Ball, described as “testimony at the 1953 House Select Committee on Un-American Activities hearings which reflected her registration to vote as a communist in 1936 due to the insistence of her grandfather.” Did I mention that this is cool?