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David Beckwith papers

Scope & content

The David Beckwith papers comprise correspondence, training materials, records and publications that cover all aspects of community organizing, including the management and fundraising practices of individual organizations. The bulk of the material dates from 1980 to 1999, when Beckwith worked as a community organizing specialist with the Center for Community Change (CCC), a national non-profit social justice organization committed to the empowerment of low-income people. The content reflects the Center's mission of training local groups and individuals as advocates for a wide variety of fundamental community needs such as equitable housing, job creation and transportation.

The papers are organized into the following five series:

Series 1, David Beckwith personal papers (1976-2010): This series includes personal correspondence, notes, datebooks, and material from the Great Lakes Institute, Beckwith’s consulting business (Box 1, folder 7).

Series 2, Center for Community Change records (1977-2002): This series has seven subseries: Annual reports; Policy, promotional, and financial documents; Publications; Staff; Projects and initiatives; Workshops and training; and CCC papers on organizing. In addition to several newsletters, CCC has published numerous monographs on economic development, jobs, housing, and community organizing. They have also participated in special projects such as the Housing Trust Fund Project (Box 3, folders 5-17) and the Jobs and Economic Development Initiative (JEDI) (Box 3, folders 20-21), which are represented in this series. Among the many training programs offered by CCC are the Transforming Lives and Neighborhoods Workshop, and the training subseries contains materials from several national sessions (Box 4, folders 14-22; Box 26X, folder 4).

Series 3, Community organizing (1971-2011): This series contains material dealing with the methodology of community organization, including the management and fundraising practices of non-profit organizations. Also included are materials from consortia such as the National Organizers’ Alliance (Box 6, folders 11-20; Box 27, folder 15) and Organize! Ohio (Box 6, folders 21-24). The training subseries contains course catalogs, syllabi, and class material from the Concordia University Institute in Management and Community Development (Box 28, folders 9-18) and the Development Training Institute (Box 7, folders 4-22; Box 8, folders 1-3; Box 28, folder 19), among others. Promotional and informational material from numerous private and public foundations and funding organizations can be found in the funding subseries. The last subseries deals with community development and community development corporations on a national and regional level; included are papers from the National Commission on Neighborhoods (Box 31) and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) (Box 10, folders 3-7). This subseries also includes information about the investigation into financial improprieties at ACORN (Association for Community Reforms Now) during the early 2000s (Box 29), during Beckwith’s tenure at the Needmor Fund.

Series 4, Advocacy Organizations by Field (1970-2011): This series contains the records and publications of numerous local community organizations arranged alphabetically within eleven topical subseries, including community development, economic development, housing, environment, and transportation. Nearly all of them consulted with David Beckwith while he worked for the Center for Community Change. Although the majority of organizations in this series represent Ohio interests, there is significant material from others such as HART (Hartford Areas Rally Together) (Box 13, folders 2-13; Box 27, folders 19-20; Box 30, folder 26) and HUD (U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development) (Box 18, folder 3; Box 32, folders 5-10). Also included are records of TEN (Transportation Equity Network) (Box 18, folders 23-31; Box 19, folders 1-3), ACES (Association for Children for Enforcement of Support, inc.) (Box 21, folders 1-8; Box 32, folder 22), and the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (formerly Citizens’ Clearinghouse for Hazardous Wastes) (Box 15, folders 20-25; Box 16, folders 1-20; Box 27, folders 25-28).

Series 5, Counter-culture newsletters and monographs (1946-1975): The publications in this series are a sampling from the counterculture movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s in the United States. They include anti-capitalist, anti-war, feminist and black power newsletters, and represent such organizations as Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the Black Panthers. The series also includes several political publications from the Joseph McCarthy era and communist Chinese journal issues.