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Allen (Robert L.) Papers
BANC MSS 2017/193  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Accruals
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Biography
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Processing Information
  • Related Materials
  • Content Description
  • Separated Materials
  • Conditions Governing Use

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: The Bancroft Library
    Title: Robert L. Allen papers, 1962-2015
    source: Allen, Robert L., 1942-
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 2017/193
    Physical Description: 17 linear feet (14 cartons, 3 boxes, 1 oversize box, 1 oversize folder)
    Date (inclusive): 1962-2015
    Abstract: This collections contains the papers of Dr. Robert L. Allen, activist, writer, editor and educator.
    Language of Material: Collection materials are in English.
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Collection is open for research.


    No future additions are expected.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    The Dr. Robert L. Allen papers were given to The Bancroft Library in 2017 by Allen.


    Dr. Robert L. Allen is a writer, educator and civil rights activist who wrote and published a number of influential books on racial equality and gender social justice issues. His publications include Black Awakening in Capitalist America, The Port Chicago Mutiny and Reluctant Reformers: Racism and Social Reform Movements in the U.S. Allen has contributed numerous articles to anthologies and textbooks, held editorial posts at The Black Scholar, partnered with Alice Walker in 1984 to launch the independent Wild Trees Press and has been a university educator and administrator.
    Allen was born on May 29, 1942 in Atlanta, Georgia to Robert Allen, a mechanic, and Sadie (Sims) Allen, a teacher and academic administrator. Growing up in racially segregated Atlanta, Allen was deeply impacted by the brutal killing and lynching of Emmett Till in 1955. This event greatly informed his view on racial discrimination and societal injustices and when Allen entered Morehouse College in 1958, he participated in the protests and marches of the burgeoning civil rights movement. After graduating with a B.S. from Morehouse in 1963, Allen worked in investigative journalism with The Guardian newspaper in New York City while actively protesting against the Vietnam War. He pursued a master’s degree in sociology at Columbia University, obtaining an M.A. from the New School for Social Research in New York in 1976.
    Allen’s teaching career began at San Jose State University in 1969 in the newly formed African American Studies program. In 1973, he was appointed assistant professor and head of the Ethnic Studies Department at Mills College in Oakland, California. Later, Allen taught in University of California at Berkeley’s African American Studies and Ethnic Studies department from 1993-2013, serving as Adjunct Professor of African American and Ethnic Studies for the second half of his tenure and advising graduate students.
    In the mid-1970s, Allen began his inquiry into the historic Port Chicago explosion and mutiny trial, upon discovering a pamphlet published in 1945 titled “Remember Port Chicago?” while researching an article about wartime racism and discrimination of blacks in the Navy. Allen investigated the events of the story that unfolded 30 years prior and decided to focus his Ph.D thesis on the topic of exposing the discrimination as well as the collective memory and stress caused by the event. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship toward the research in 1977 and spent several years conducting original research, interviewing and writing about the events of Port Chicago, before receiving his Ph.D. in sociology from University of California at San Francisco in 1983.
    Allen is the recipient of many awards, fellowships and honors, including a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship (1963), a Guggenheim Fellowship to support research on The Port Chicago Mutiny (1977), a Resolution of Commendation by the California State Assembly for The Port Chicago Mutiny research (1990), a Northern California Emmy Award for The Port Chicago Mutiny television documentary (1991), and an American Book Award (1995), shared with Brotherman co-editor, Herb Boyd.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Dr. Robert L. Allen papers, BANC MSS 2017/193, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Processing Information

    Arranged to the folder level.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Lisa M. Monhoff in 2018.

    Related Materials

    Dr. Robert L. Allen Port Chicago papers at the National Park Service (POCH-26).

    Content Description

    The Dr. Robert L. Allen Civil Rights papers contain documentation of Allen’s work as an educator, author and civil rights activist for over fifty years. The collection includes materials from Allen’s early activism in opposition to the Vietnam War and the draft (Selective Service System) and advocating for people of color and women; his career in journalism with The Guardian in New York and San Francisco including his travels to Vietnam in 1967 and China in 1973 to cover the Vietnam War; conducting research for civil rights leader Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays; his editorial and journalistic roles with Black Journalists, The Black Scholar and The Black World Foundation; his writings, speeches and publishing company Wild Trees Press, founded with partner Alice Walker; and his teaching and advising experience in African-American and Ethnic Studies. The collection is arranged into 5 series: Personal, Writings, Educator, Photographs and Audiovisual Materials.

    Separated Materials

    4 cartons of books used for research, writing and teaching

    Conditions Governing Use

    Some materials in these collections may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user. All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Allen, Robert L., 1942-