Human Rights Collections at UT
As part of our commitment to human rights research, the Rapoport Center works UT Libraries to preserve, promote and expand the presence and use of human rights archives at the University of Texas. The acquisition of such collections as the George Lister papers and the Joyce Horman archives are part of a collaborative project between the UT Libraries and the Rapoport Center to make accessible primary resources on and about human rights. We are also partners of the UT Libraries' Human Rights Documentation Initiative (HRDI). Working with activists, scholars, and organizations to identify electronic and analog resources that are particularly vulnerable to loss, the HRDI aims to preserve the most fragile records of human rights struggles worldwide, promote the security and use of human rights archival materials, and further human rights research and advocacy around the world.
The Center’s collaboration with UT Libraries continues through two programs to enhance efforts to preserve and study fragile human rights archives. As a part of a foundation grant, UT Libraries provides for a Graduate Research Assistant to assist in digitizing, preserving and analyzing human rights archives online or at UT. They also fund at least one Summer Research Grant for a UT graduate student to visit and work in a human rights archive abroad, with the hope of facilitating its understanding and preservation. The Center is honored to be involved in such an important project.
I. Human Rights Documentation Initiative
The UT Libraries' Human Rights Documentation Initiative (HRDI) is committed to the long-term preservation of fragile and vulnerable records of human rights struggles worldwide, the promotion and secure usage of human rights archival materials, and the advancement of human rights research and advocacy around the world. The HRDI website highlights the following types of materials:
Primary source, archival materials related to human rights
Websites, reports, audio, video, photographs on human rights struggles that are produced by individuals or small organizations who lack resources and opportunities for widespread distribution of their work
Audiovisual documentation (limited access)
Fragile, born-digital, audiovisual documentation of human rights violations acquired through partnerships with human rights organizations worldwide (see About the HRDI, access to these materials is currently limited due to the sensitive nature of the information)
II. Tarlton Law Library
From 1944-1946, the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Jewish Problems in Palestine and Europe analyzed the suitability of Palestine as a homeland for Jewish refugees. Joseph C. Hutcheson, Jr., was a federal judge who served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and on the aforementioned Committee of Inquiry. Collection documents include testimonies from both sides of the debate – that of victimized Jewish refugees in need of a home and of displaced Palestinians. Relevant documents include memoranda; photographs; speeches by Hutcheson; transcripts of hearings held in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East; reports by the committee; and reports submitted to the committee by other bodies including the Jewish Agency for Palestine and the American Jewish Committee.
Better known as "The Justice Case", Case No. 3: U.S. v. Joseph Alstötter et al. was a war crimes trial specifically for members of the German judicial system. The defendants included nine officials in the Reich Ministry of Justice and several prosecutors of the People's Court and the Special Courts. As representatives of a Nazi judicial system that persecuted Poles, Jews, and others in occupied territories, they were accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Case no. 3 was heard by the United States Nuremberg Military Tribunal (NMT) III, and was part of a second set of twelve trials that focused on the mechanisms of Nazi aggression. The bench notebooks of Judge Mallory Blair, a Texas judge appointed to the Tribunal by Pres. Truman, include procedural materials, testimony, and personal notes relating to Case No. 3, U.S. v. Josef Alstoetter, et al., jurists of the Reich Ministry of Justice.
Leo Blackstock prosecuted Japanese war criminals as Chief of the Prosecution Division, General Headquarters, Tokyo (1945–1948). After he was released from active duty as a colonel in 1946 he remained in Japan as a civilian attached to the army and continued his work in the prosecution of war criminals. The collection contains correspondence, reports, and case files relating to Blackstock's service as prosecutor in trials of Class B and Class C war criminals in Japan, and courts-martial.
John Greer was a defense attorney for the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate during the International Military Tribunal for the Far East following World War II. The collection contains trial and background materials relating to the prosecution of Japanese war crime trials before the Military tribunal following World War II. A finding aid is available in the Tarlton Law Library’s Rare Books & Special Collections office.
Trial for War Crimes Committed in the Philippines: Teodoro Tatishi
Teodoro Cantos was a Philippine national who served as a member of the Japanese Civilian Army during World War II under the name of Teodoro Tatishi. Following the war he was accused of murder and treason and tried in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East and appealed in the Supreme Court of the Philippines. Tatishi argued that he could not be tried in this court because he was a national of the Philippines and therefore a U.S. citizen. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review this case, but then dismissed it as moot when the Philippines gained its independence. The collection includes the documents, exhibits and transcript of evidence of his war crimes trial. No finding aid is available for this collection.
Orlando Letelier, a former Chilean diplomat and opponent of the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, was assassinated by a car bomb in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 21, 1976, together with Mrs. Ronni Moffitt. An investigation conducted by an international commission established by bilateral treaty concluded that Chilean secret police were responsible for the assassination and determined the settlement. The bulk of these materials consist of four bound volumes of briefs filed by the governments of the United States and the Republic of Chile before the international commission.
Tom C. Clark served as a U.S. Supreme Court justice from 1949-1967, presiding over some of the most well-known cases decided during the Warren Court period. The collection highlights court documents on desegregation, the constitutionality of school prayer, the Miranda rights, the expansion of 4th Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure, and other key civil rights decisions. Materials in the collection include case files, bench memorandum, briefs, and slip opinions from these cases, as well as personal correspondence and speeches by Justice Clark.
III. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
Oliver LaFarge was an anthropologist and novelist who helped draft a constitution for the Hopi Indians, documented in his 116-page manuscript, Running Narrative of the Organization of the Hopi Tribe of Indians (1936). The LaFarge collection contains papers, manuscripts, and correspondence relating to Indian rights and the Hopi Constitution. The collection also includes works of non-fiction, novels and short stories, and the book A Pictorial History of the American Indians.
Following a decade of work in post-World War II Europe with various U.S. government offices, Michael Josselson decided to help lead the newly created Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF), a liberal, anti-Communist organization founded by American and European intellectuals to expose Communist cultural oppression and to oppose all forms of totalitarian rule. As the Administrative Secretary of the CCF, Josselson arranged for financing of organizations that operated as fronts to channel CIA funds. After his resignation, Josselson continued to informally advise former CCF associates who created a new organization, the International Association for Cultural Freedom, which disavowed the CCF and the CIA but continued many of the CCF's programs. Collection documents include research notes, reports, maps and correspondence.
IV. Benson Latin American Collection
Charles Edmund Horman, a Harvard educated American freelance journalist, was abducted, tortured, and executed in Chile during General Augusto Pinochet's coup d'état that began on September 11, 1973 to overthrew the government of Salvador Allende. After Horman's disappearance his family, including wife Joyce Horman and parents Edmund and Elizabeth Horman began an effort to find him, and then, following the eventual discovery of his body, to determine who was involved in his murder. In 1976 Joyce Horman, on behalf of the Horman family, filed the landmark suit Joyce Horman, et al., v. Henry Kissinger, et. al. that charged Kissinger and other Nixon Administration officials with the wrongful death of Charles Horman and with its concealment. In 1980 the case was dismissed "without prejudice." Materials, written and collected by Joyce and Edmund Horman, document events resulting from Charles Horman's abduction, torture, and execution during General Pinochet's coup d'état in Chile. The collection is currently arranged in five categories: Charles Horman Biographical Files, Edmund Horman Correspondence, FOIA Request Documents, Joyce Horman v. Henry Kissinger Documents, and Press Clippings. Additions to the collection from Joyce Horman are ongoing.
George Lister was a career foreign service officer who held State Department posts in Moscow, Warsaw, Rome, and Bogota, and worked in the State Department’s Bureau of Latin American Affairs. In the 1970s, he played a leadership role in the creation of the Bureau of Human Rights, Democracy, and Labor, and in 1974 Lister became the first Human Rights Officer in the State Department’s Bureau of Inter-American Affairs. Because of his important behind-the-scenes work in making human rights an important consideration in diplomacy, he was labeled “Mr. Human Rights” by historian Arthur Schlesinger. Materials include Lister’s writings, correspondence, audio-visual materials and his collected materials on a variety of his professional and personal interests.
Nine members of the military junta that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1982 were put on trial by the Buenos Aires Federal Court of Criminal Appeals, a civilian court, and were charged with crimes including homicide, torture, illegal detention, and robbery. The collection consists of photocopies of case transcripts of testimonies by 828 witnesses at the 1985 trial of these military commanders. The 7630 sheets of testimonies, chiefly by released prisoners like Jacobo Timmerman, document instances of kidnapping, illegal detention in clandestine centers, systematic torture, coerced collaboration, and death under torture. Transcripts are arranged chronologically and a list of witnesses is included.
Documentation Exchange Central American Newspak 1983–1999 and Mexico Newspak 1993–1999
From 1983 to 1999 the Central America Resource Center (CARC) compiled a collection of news articles on the current events in the U.S. and Central America. A similar project was undertaken for Mexico, the Mexico Newspak, from 1993-1999. The articles documented human rights violations in Central America that immigration attorneys used in their political asylum petitions. In 1992 CARC changed its name to the Human Rights Documentation Exchange (HRDE) and expanded its mission to collect documentation for asylum cases worldwide.
Eduardo Idar was a Mexican American lawyer and legal rights activist. The materials document Idar's career as an attorney in Texas with the Attorney General's office, his involvement with organizations such as the American G.I. Forum, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the Political Association of Spanish Speaking People, and his activism for Mexican American rights in schools and in the political and legal process. A large part of the collection documents the case of Ruiz v. Estelle, which found widespread abuses of prisoners in the Texas state prison system and placed it in federal receivership.
The Political Asylum Project of Austin/Proyecto de Asilo Politico de Austin (PAPA) started in 1988 as a completely volunteer organization, and remained largely staffed by students, lawyers, and community volunteers for about a decade. The original mission was to promote the human rights of refugees and immigrants in Central Texas through legal representation, public education, and advocacy. A 1989 grant from the National Sanctuary Defense Fund to PAPA via the Friends Meeting of Austin enabled PAPA to hire Nidia Salamanca, its first employee and director for fifteen years. The second grant, from the Texas Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) in 1990, enabled PAPA to hire its second employee (and first paid lawyer), Cynthia Leigh. In 2008 the organization voted to change its name to "American Gateways." The collection includes PAPA's publications and outreach documents from 1990-2001.
V. Center for American History
In the court order in the case of Ruiz v. Estelle, Federal District Judge William Wayne Justice found widespread abuses of prisoners in the Texas state prison system and placed it in federal receivership administered by the Office of Special Master. The Special Master records span the period of federal receivership from 1979 to 1992, including trial transcripts and exhibits, prison medical testimony and administrative documents.
The Center for American History has extensive holdings regarding slaves in the U.S. The link above connects to the Center’s page for Slavery Research and the finding aids for individual manuscript collections, government documents and slave narratives collected by the WPA. Additionally, the Center’s holdings on slavery in the southern United States include collections includes personal and legal papers dating from 1793 to 1864 of slave owners. These papers include slavery bills of sales and business and financial records of ante- bellum businesses and plantations in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
From 1940 to 1988, the Field Foundation provided support to organizations promoting human rights, civil rights, civil liberties, child welfare and social change, including the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Children’s Defense Fund. This collection includes correspondence, reports, legal documents, printed material, clippings, and photographs documenting the many movements and groups the foundation supported as well as the foundation's role as an active participant in social change.
As an attorney working for the Legal Aid and Defender Society of Travis County, Frances Jalet-Cruz represented Texas inmates in suits against the Texas prison system and became one of the central figures in the Texas prison reform movement during the late 1960s and 1970s. The collection includes correspondence, legal documents, newspapers, clippings, and printed material documenting Jalet-Cruz's activities as an attorney and activist on this issue.
Texas Human Rights Foundation Records
Founded in 1977 by Robert "Mort" Schwab, the Texas Human Rights Foundation is devoted to protecting the human rights of Texans, with the primary goal of ending discrimination against homosexuals, bisexuals, transsexuals, and persons living with AIDS and HIV. The collection includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, audio-visual recordings and other documents relating to the work of this organization between 1978 and 1992.
VI. Perry-Castañeda Library
Ruth First (1925–1982) was a South African journalist, university lecturer, and anti-apartheid activist. She helped draft the Freedom Charter of the African National Congress (ANC) and was a member of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the ANC's military wing. She was forced into exile in 1964 and assassinated with a parcel bomb in 1982. She was married to Joe Slovo, long-time president of the South African Communist Party (SACP), and for many years First edited the Johannesburg weekly paper for the SACP. First’s papers include documents from her work as a journalist, anti-apartheid activist, and books and articles she authored. UT owns microfilm copies of Ruth First's papers. The originals are housed in the University of London's Institute of Commonwealth Studies.
VII. Digital Repository: UT Libraries Collections – Human Rights Archive
The Repository's purpose is to collect, record, provide access to, and archive the scholarly and research works of the University of Texas at Austin, as well as works that reflect the intellectual and service environment of the campus.
VIII. Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice
A small collection of materials related to collective land rights in Afro-Brazilian communities is located in the Rapoport Center office, Townes Hall 3.119D.
Ecuador: Collective Land Title in Afro-descendant Communities