“We will not sit idly by and watch our world go up in flames and flames,” said the late university activist Randall Forsberg who once lifted a crowd of more than 700,000 protesters in New York’s Central Park, calling at the end of the nuclear arms race. between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Recently, the Cornell University Library launched an online selection of recorded and written speeches, testimonies and correspondence of Forsberg, who was a leader of the international Nuclear Freeze movement and the founder and director of the Institute for Boston Defense and Disarmament Studies (IDDS).
Titled Randall Forsberg and the Nuclear Freeze Movement: Selected Materials from the Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies Archive, the collection is the culmination of a project led by Matthew Evangelista, Professor of Government; Agnieszka Nimark, visiting scholar at the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies; and Judith Reppy, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Science and Technology Studies. The Library’s Grants Program for Digital Arts and Science Collections provided funding as well as support for preservation and digitization.
The IDDS archives and Forsberg’s work can help shed light on today’s issues, according to Evangelista.
“At a time when the United States is engaged in more than 20 years of continuous warfare, the legacy of the IDDS is more relevant than ever,” he said.
“The institute has combined the study of military policy with initiatives to reduce the prevalence of weapons and armed conflict,” he explained. “Whether you want to learn about techniques for analyzing military forces and arms control proposals or found a social movement to end war, there is something in the archive for you.”
Forsberg’s Bertrand Russell Peace lecture in 1989 was of personal interest to Evangelista.
“She talks about her childhood in Alabama and how that shaped her later understanding of the relationship between racism and issues of war and peace, and includes a self-criticism of early failures to acknowledge the problem of discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexuality – still very current topics,” he said.
The collection also offers insight into Forsberg’s writing and editing process, according to Nimark.
“We have several drafts of important articles she wrote like the call to stop the nuclear arms race that basically started the movement,” she said. “Forsberg’s presentation of Soviet experts’ views on nuclear disarmament and the Freeze proposal after his visit to Moscow, various discussions with other scholars, private letters, all these original documents are very interesting to see.”
Nimark explained that the online collection is just a sample of the extensive physical IDDS archive – which includes institute publications such as the Arms Control Reporter, World Weapon Database and Peace Resource Book – physically available at the Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript. Collections.
Nimark expects the digitized highlights to inspire scholars to visit the full archive and create new scholarship, the same way she was inspired to continue her current oral history project documenting the Nuclear Freeze movement. at local level.
“I realized that the Tompkins County nuclear weapons freeze campaign was very active and was one of the best organized in the country,” she said. “I started looking for people involved in the freeze movement in the 80s and was very lucky to find the main organizers and coordinators still living here.”