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Tom Gardner papers

 Unprocessed — Multiple Containers
Identifier: ViU-2022-0094

Content Description

This collection contains the papers of Thomas Gardner, an alumnus of the University of Virginia (UVa), a leader in the Southern civil rights and national peace movements of the ‘60s and ‘70s, and Professor of Communication at Westfield State University. The collection documents Gardner's work on an unpublished book of E.D. Nixon and Gardner’s activist activities. The materials related to E.D. Nixon, a union leader and Civil Rights advocate in Alabama and who played a critical role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, contain interviews on audiocassettes, transcripts, notes, photographs, correspondence, research, clippings, and drafts of Gardner's unpublished book. The interviews with Nixon cover a variety of topics including the Bus Boycott, the Brotherhood, the NAACP, bombings at Montgomery, E.D. Nixon's early life and life as a porter, and his community work since 1957. The other bulk of the collection document Gardner's own activist work and involvement with Civil rights, labor, anti-war, and anti-prison movements through different organizations such as the Southern Conference Education Fund (SCEF), the Southern Student Organizing Committee (SSOC), and the Union for Concerned Scientists. The bulk of the documents are from the 1960s-1980s and include materials like the Virginia Weekly clippings and drafts, informational pamphlets, agendas, memos, notes (taken by Gardner about meetings, to-do lists, goals, and ideas), handbooks, prospectus, correspondence, pamphlets, reports (weekly, biweekly, annual), proposals, lists of goals, correspondence and invitations for meetings, to the causes of the different organizations Gardner served as well as some political newspapers including “ Right On Black Community News Service” of the Black Panther Party, “The Call”, “The Red Worker” of the Communist Party in Georgia and “The New South Student” There is also more recent work with the Union of Concerned Scientists from the 1980s. The collection includes topics on the nuclear arms race, the use of nuclear weapons, the prison reform system, civil rights, unions and worker movements, worker unions, and strikes. Tom Gardner became very active in the Southern Student Organizing Committee (SSOC) during his time as a student at UVa and even left school for a time to serve as staff of the National Student Association's Southern Project in Atlanta and as a full-time campus traveler for SSOC. The documents show that he was also involved in different organizations afterward, such as the Southern Conference Education Fund (SCEF).

Acquisition Type



Gift of Tom Gardner, 10 March 2022.

Restrictions Apply


Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research. Original digital media (floppy disks, zip disks, thumb drives, born digital files, etc.) and other media formats such as LPs, audiotapes, reel-to-reels, videotapes, films, CDs, and DVDs cannot be handled directly by patrons. Please contact Special Collections via our online Reference Request form,, to request access to these materials. Please be aware that additional actions may be required to make these items available. Items will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis before access can be made. Depending on the size of the request, it may take some time to make them available for use.


  • c. 1966-2008



1.75 Cubic Feet (1 cubic, 1 legal document box, 1 half legal document box) : legal box contains audiocassette tapes and a handwritten guide to the tapes cubic and half legal box contains documents

19 audiocassettes

32.00144 Gigabytes (1 floppy disk, 1 5 1/4 floppy disk, 1 USB flash drive)


1 cubic box, 1 legal box for AV material, 1 half legal box,