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James Lafferty Papers

 Collection
Identifier: UP000626
Part I:

Series Description: Series 1: Correspondence, clippings, reports, newsletters, notes, and other general materials on a variety of topics, mostly relating to the peace and anti-war movement. 1969-1973

Series 2: Mainly correspondence, both to and from, various groups across the country involved in the peace and anti-war movement. 1969-1973

Series 3: Newsletters from various organizations, colleges, and universities. The content of the newsletters focuses primarily on the peace and anti-war movement. 1969-1973

Series 4: Correspondence, flyers, leaflets, agenda, reports, and notes pertaining to the National Peace Action Coalition. 1970-1973
Part II: Part 2 of the James Lafferty Papers contain materials relating to his involvement in the National Peace Action Coalition and the Detroit Coalition to End the War Now!, which were very active in protesting against the Vietnam War in the early 1970s. There are also many clippings, antiwar publications, and radical publications from this time period. There are a large amount of materials from Lafferty’s work with peace movements protesting U.S. military intervention in the Caribbean and Central America in the 1980s. Lafferty later became active in protesting the U.S. war in the Persian Gulf in 1990-91. There are materials from his work during that time as well.

Important Subjects: Middle East peace process National Peace Action Coalition (U.S.) Operation Desert Shield, 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War, 1991 Peace movements United States—Military relations—Grenada United States—Military relations—Guatemala United States—Military relations—El Salvador United States—Military relations—Nicaragua Vietnam War, 1961-1975—Protest movements

Important Names: Gage-Colby, Ruth Garvin, Bonnie Gordon, Jerry

Dates

  • 1969 - 1991

Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.

Access

Collection is open for research.

Use

Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.

Extent

7 Linear Feet (6 MB, 4 SB)

Abstract

James Lafferty was a Detroit lawyer who became one of the nation's most prominent draft attorneys and a staunch supporter of civil rights. He was active in the movement to end U.S. intervention in Vietnam, Central America/the Carribbean, and the Persian Gulf. He also founded the Oakland County branch of the American Civil Liberties Union. His papers reflect his involvement in the Detroit Coalition to End the War Now! and the National Peace Action Coalition during the Vietnam era; his work with peace movements protesting U.S. military intervention in the Caribbean and Central America in the 1980s; and his involvement in protesting the U.S. war in the Persian Gulf in 1990-91.

History

James Lafferty was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1938 He graduated from Detroit's Central High School in 1956, received a B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1960, and an LL.D. from Wayne State University Law School in 1963. After admission to the State Bar of Michigan in 1964, he served for three years as executive secretary of the National Lawyer's Guild, a progressive bar association. From 1967 to 1969 he held the position of Coordinator, Civil Division, Wayne County Neighborhood Legal Services.

From 1969 to 1977, Mr. Lafferty was a partner in the Detroit law firm of Lafferty, Reosti, Jabara, Stickgold, James Soble and Smith, which specialize in selective service/military law and civil rights. During these years the firm represented many of the leading groups and individuals working in various movements for social change and Mr. Lafferty became one of the nation's most prominent "draft attorneys."

Between the years of 1969 and 1973, Mr. Lafferty was active in the movement to end U.S. intervention in Vietnam. He served as chair of the Detroit Coalition to End the War Now! and was a founder and a national coordinator of the National Peace Action Coalition, the group that organized the largest demonstrations against the U.S. war in Vietnam. On behalf of this work he spoke and traveled nationally and abroad. He served as a part-time hearing referee for the Michigan Civil Rights Commission from 1972-1973.

In 1977, Mr. Lafferty established the law firm of Lafferty and Van Dyke in Birmingham, Michigan. In 1979 he organized the first branch of the American Civil Liberties Union in Oakland County, Michigan and served as chair of this branch until 1983. From 1979 to 1983 he also organized and chaired a pro-low cost housing group in Birmingham, Michigan.

Mr. Lafferty relocated to New York City in 1984, the same year he was an organizer of the Emergency National Council Against U.S. Intervention in Central America/the Caribbean. He served as one of its regional coordinators until 1991. During these years he also served on steering committees of various national efforts to end U.S. intervention in Central America/the Caribbean.

From 1985 to 1988, he taught at the New School for Social Research in New York City. Early in 1991, he became active in the movement to end U.S. intervention in the Persian Gulf, serving on the Steering Committee of the Campaign for Peace in the Middle East. At the time of this writing, Mr. Lafferty lived in New York City and was employed as the Associate Director of the Center for Seafarers’ Rights of the Seamen’s Church Institute.

Arrangement

Part I: Arranged in 4 series - Series 1 (Boxes 1-2), Series 2 (Box 3), Series 3 (Boxes 4-5), and Series 4 (Box 6). Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Part II: Folders are listed by their location within each box. They are not necessarily arranged, so any given subject may be dispersed throughout the entire collections. Folders in boxes 7-10 are listed by subheadings created by the donor and reflect their original arrangement.

Acquisition

Part I: The papers of James Lafferty were deposited with the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in 1974 by Mr. Lafferty.
Part II: Part 2 of the James Lafferty Papers were deposited by James Lafferty and his wife Bonnie Garvin in the early 1990s.

Related Materials

Detroit Coalition to End the War Now! Records, American Civil Liberties Union: Oakland County Branch Records

Transfers

Publications such as The Militant, published by the Socialist Workers Party and Fifth Estate can be found in the library collection.

Processing History

Part I: Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in 1990.
Part II: Finding aid written by JAred Natzke on July 16, 2012.
Title
Guide to the James Lafferty Papers
Status
completed
Author
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Date
1990
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Revision Statements

  • 2012-07-16: Part 2 processed and finding aid updated by Jared Natzke.

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

Contact:
5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA