Guide to the Moses Moon Collection, [audiotapes]

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.0556
Creators:
McNamara, Norris
Moon, Moses
Dates:
1963-1964
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
4 cubic feet
18 boxes
Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Recorded by Moses Moon (known at the time as Alan Ribback) and assisted by Norris McNamara during 1963 and 1964, the collection includes audio recordings of interviews with civil rights leaders and participants as well as free-style recordings of mass meetings, voter registration events, and other gatherings organized by Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). This collection provides a mostly unfiltered documentation of significant moments in the civil rights movement.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
This collection consists of 115 reel to reel audio recordings containing interviews, mass meetings, demonstrations, and conversations concerning the civil rights movement, and in particular the voter registration drives organized by SNCC in Alabama and Mississippi in 1963 and 1964. Mass meetings were recorded in Greenwood, Mississippi; Americus, Georgia; Selma, Alabama; Jackson, Mississippi; Danville, Virginia; Washington, D.C.; Hattiesburg, Mississippi; and Indianola, Mississippi. Major demonstrations recorded include the March on Washington in August of 1963, Freedom Day in Selma, Alabama in October of 1963, and Freedom Day in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in January of 1964. Interviews with SNCC workers include Julian Bond, John Lewis, James Forman, Bruce Gordon, Prathia Hall, Ivanhoe Donaldson, Bob Moses, Avery Williams, Willie Peacock, Bruce Boynton and his mother, as well as dozens of others involved in the movement, who are named in the collection inventory. Many of those interviewed were actively involved in strategizing and carrying out SNCC demonstrations and political actions, and many were victims of death threats, beatings, unlawful arrest, police brutality, and torture and abuse in prison. These interviews contain detailed eyewitness accounts and personal testimony regarding these experiences, as well as personal history and thoughts about the movement, the South, and the future.
It is clear from what we know of the dates and locations of these recordings, as well as from documentation of these events in other sources, that many of these recordings are unique documents of important events in American history, which may also contain the commentary of important political and cultural figures who were involved in the movement. For example, an article by Howard Zinn recounts how an unidentified man recorded James Baldwin on October 7, 1963, Freedom Day in Selma, on the steps of the courthouse. Baldwin was furious at the lack of support from nearby federal agents as state troopers advanced on peaceful demonstrators. One of the tapes dated October 7, 1963, originally labeled "courthouse interviews," appears to be this recoding, although Baldwin is not named. The same article (available in The Howard Zinn Reader) recounts the mass meetings which led up to that demonstration, at which actor Dick Gregory gave a rousing sermon as his wife sat in jail for demonstrating in Selma. The Moses Moon Collection may be the only existing audio recording of that sermon as well as many other sermons and speeches.
Moses Moon changed his name after these recordings were made. He is referred to in the finding aid as Alan Ribback because that name is used on the recordings.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged in two series.Series 1 is in chronological order to the degree recording dates can be determined, and is based on the locations and dates provided by Moon in his description or gleaned from the recordings themselves and other secondary sources. Series 1 contains 17 groups of recordings.
Moon's original numbers are recorded in the column next to the descriptions. Following the first four Greenwood tapes, which are numbered sequentially, Moon's numbering system took the first two letters of the town in which the recordings were made, a one (1), a decimal, and then a tape number. Numbers preceding the town code refer to the recording day. "N" numbers were later assigned by Moon to the 7" reels only, after the original recordings were made, possibly during editing or when the tapes were made available to the Program in African American Culture.
Series 1, Original Tapes
1. Greenwood, Mississippi; Spring 1963; 4 7" reels
2. Chicago, Illinois; August 9, 12, 1963; 2 5" reels
3. Americus, Georgia; August 17, 1963; 5 5" reels, 1 7" reel
4. Atlanta, Georgia; August 21, 1963; 1 5" reel
5. Washington, D.C.; August 26-28, 1963; 6 5", 8 7" reels
6. Atlanta, Georgia; September 8, 1963; 4 5" reels
7. Selma, Alabama; September 29-October 7, 1963; 11 5" reels, 16 7" reels
8. Gadsden, Alabama; October 23, 1963; 2 5" reels
9. Jackson, Mississippi; Fall/Winter 1963; 11 7" reels
10. Greenwood, Mississippi; c. November 3, 1963; 3 5" reels, 4 7" reels
11. Danville, Virginia; 1963; 6 7" reels
12. Washington, D.C.; soon after November 22, 1963; 6 7" reels
13. Washington, D.C.; late 1963, or possibly during MOW; 10 7" reels
14. Hattiesburg, Mississippi; January 1964; 9 7" reels
15. Indianola, Mississippi; Summer 1964; 2 7" reels
16. Monroe County, Mississippi; August 1, 1964; 4 5" reels
17. Milton, Mississippi; August 16, 1964; 3 5" reels
Series 2, Preservation Masters
consists of data DVDs for a portion of the collection.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Moses Moon was born Alan Ribback in 1928. During the 1950s until 1962, Ribback was the proprietor of the Gate of Horn, Chicago's premier folk music club, which featured performers including Bob Gibson, Odetta, Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Jo Mapes, Peter, Paul and Mary, Lenny Bruce, and Shelley Berman. On December 5, 1962, Lenny Bruce was arrested during a performance at the Gate of Horn along with Ribback, George Carlin, and others. As a result of the arrest and Bruce's subsequent conviction for obscenity, the club was closed by the City of Chicago, and Ribback left Chicago with Norris McNamara, an audio technician, to record folk concerts taking place in the South as part of the growing civil rights movement. From the spring of 1963 until the summer of 1964, Ribback and McNamara recorded demonstrations and mass meetings and interviewed civil rights activists, primarily those involved in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Later, Ribback moved to New York and edited his recordings into an album called Movement Soul. Ribback married Delia Moon in 1971, took her last name and changed his first name to Moses. In 1979, Bernice Reagon Johnson, working with the Program on African American Culture at the Smithsonian, contacted Moon and borrowed the recordings of mass meetings for a 1980 program on the voices of the civil rights movement. In the late 1980s, Moon was stricken with a severe case of Guillain-Barre syndrome, which left him paralyzed. Moon donated the entire collection of original recordings shortly before his death in 1993.

Administration
Processing Information
Many of the original recordings displayed evidence of mold contamination, both on the original cardboard boxes and on the tapes themselves. Safe Sound Archives remediated the mold contamination on the tapes and the affected tapes are stored in new acid-free archival boxes.
When asked about the making of these recordings, Norris McNamara, Moon's audio technician, responded: "I doubt any such recordings were ever made with comparable quality. We lugged a generator, a huge Ampex PR-10, and four AKG C-60 condenser mics around to many Freedom Rallies (or Freedom Days or whatever.) The recordings are certainly unique…." (email correspondence with Megan McShea).
From March to May 2004, Megan McShea evaluated and reviewed twenty-one of the audio reels, mostly 5" reels containing interviews and conversations with SNCC people. Tapes were described in health reports, and most of those reviewed were leadered and labeled. The tapes were then arranged in the order described above, and all original tapes were re-housed in acid-free archival boxes. During re-housing, the original boxes were photocopied and discarded. The photocopies were stapled to health reports prepared for each tape and hand-written notes from screening. Re-housed tapes were numbered and titled using Moon's original numbers. McShea also conducted research including interviewing Norris McNamara and wrote the historical and scope and content notes.
In 2002, Danielle Snyder had copied, re-housed, and described a handful of tapes from this collection, and her descriptions have been integrated with the others.
The former National Museum of American History Program in African American Culture staff produced audio cassette reference tapes for most of the 7" reels. They also recorded general content descriptions at that time, although the names and subjects of speakers at mass meetings are often omitted. These descriptions are in the collection folder, stapled to Moon's very general logs. Grant support from the NMAH Collections Committee Preservation fund supported preservation duplication of forty 5" reels. Digital preservation files are saved on archival-quality gold DVDs, and reference copies exist as .wav files on audio CDs. Hannah Rosen provided the descriptions for most of these tapes. A donation from Emilye Crosby supported digitization of 42 reels.
Processed by Megan McShea, intern, 2004, Hannah Rosen, intern, 2009, Danielle Snyder, intern, 2002 and Wendy Shay, archivist, 2011.
Author
Wendy Shay
Sponsor
Partial funding for preservation and duplication of the original audio tapes provided by a National Museum of American History Collections Committee Jackson Fund Preservation Grant.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Moses and Delia Moon in 1995.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research. Reference copies must be used. Tapes noted in the container list have digital reference copies in the Smithsonian Institution Digital Asset Management System (DAMS).
Preferred Citation
Moses Moon Civil Rights Movement Audio Collection, 1963-1964, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but copyright status unknown. Contact Archives Center staff for additional information. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Related Materials
Materials at Other Organizations
The papers of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee are held by the King Library and Archives in Atlanta, Georgia; archives@thekingcenter.org.

Custodial History
Custodial History
Reference tapes of the recordings of mass meetings (almost all tapes with "N" numbers) were made by the Program in African American Culture and transferred to the Archives Center in the 1980s as part of the Voices of the Civil Rights Movement recordings from the Program in African American Culture Collection. In 1993, Moon donated his original tapes to Archives Center, including many tapes of demonstrations and interviews which were not previously available. Prior to his donation, Moon may have made his tapes available to others, which would account for sequential gaps in his original numbering system. Prior use of these recordings, apart from Moon's own production of the album Movement Soul, and their use for PAAC, is unknown.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
African American civil rights workers. Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
African American preaching. Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mississippi Freedom Project Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Civil rights movements Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (U.S.) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Civil rights Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Audiotapes -- Open reel Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sound recordings Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Voter registration Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
African Americans -- Civil rights Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Audiotapes Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
African American student movements. Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Folk music Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Washington, D.C., 1963 Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gospel music Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Parks, Rosa, 1913-2005 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Horne, Lena Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lewis, John Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bikel, Theodore Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Conyers, John, 1929- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Baldwin, James, 1924-1987 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Barry, Marion, 1936- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Carawan, Guy Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Seeger, Pete, 1919-2014 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Baker, Ella, 1903-1986 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Donaldson, Ivanhoe Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Odetta, 1930-2008 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hamer, Fannie Lou Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Moses, Robert Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Height , Dorothy I. (Dorothy Irene), 1912-2010 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Robinson, Jackie Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Reagon, Bernice Johnson, 1942- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dylan, Bob, 1941- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Baker, Josephine, 1906-1975 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Anderson, Marian, 1897-1993 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Abernathy, Ralph, 1926-1990 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Baez, Joan Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Reagon, Cordell Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gregory, Dick Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Guyot, Lawrence, 1939- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Freedom Singers Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Shuttlesworth, Fred L., 1922-2011 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ferebee, Dorothy Boulding , 1898?-1980 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Forman, James, 1928-2005 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Robinson , Amelia Boynton, 1911-2015 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rustin, Bayard, 1912-1987 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sherrod, Charles, 1937- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Moses, Robert Parris Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu