Dennis Brutus Collection

  • Dennis Brutus Collection Description

    The Dennis Brutus Collection consists of a range of primary documents donated by Dr. Dennis Brutus, including manuscripts, letters relating to many public and personal topics, texts of speeches, travel documentation, and photographs. These materials are now available for access by scholars, students, and independent researchers from outside Worcester State University. The collection is housed in the Library.  Below is a descriptive list of the contents of the collection:

  • Box Title Description
    1, 1A
    Apartheid and Sport
    Dennis Brutus become involved in the movement to isolate the South African Apartheid system through the use of sports boycotts. By boycotting the sports events or teams of countries that accepted all-white South African teams, Brutus and others hoped to put pressure on the government in an effort to end Apartheid. These boxes contain documents concerning his involvement in this movement. A finding aid is available for both Box 1 and Box 1A. 
    2 Poetry by Dennis Brutus Published in Periodicals This box of poetry by Dennis Brutus published in various periodicals has a finding aid.
    3, 3A, 3B Photographs The envelopes in these boxes contain snapshots and photographs of the private and public sides of Dennis Brutus’ life. Some of the photographs are dated and documented; many are a surprise view into the many aspects of this activist-poet’s past. As the photographs are so diverse, a finding aid is not available for this part of the collection. Please make sure each photograph returns to the envelope from which it was taken.
    4, 4A, 4B, 4C Manuscripts by Dennis Brutus The finding aid for these boxes of manuscripts is under construction.
    5, 5A, 5B, 5C Prose Writing not by Dennis Brutus Many writers sent Dennis Brutus their work for his perusal. A finding aid of the many diverse writings in these boxes has been created.
    6, 6A Poetry Manuscripts not by Dennis Brutus Poets all over the world turned to Dennis Brutus for feedback on their own work. This box contains only some of the poetry he received over the years. A finding aid is available for these boxes.
    7, 7A Postcards Sent to Dennis Brutus Dennis Brutus had friends, family, colleagues, and admirers from around the world. This box contains some of the postcards received by him over the years. A list of the entire postcard collection is currently not available for these boxes.
    8, 8A, 8B, 8C, 8D Calendars, Appointment Books, Travel Records, Plane Tickets These boxes give an insight into the schedule and travel of Dennis Brutus as he attended activist conferences and taught all over the world. A partial finding aid is available; a more detailed record of these many documents is under construction.
    9 Calendars This box is a continuation of Dennis Brutus’ many calendars. No finding aid is available.
    10, 10A United States Deportation Case Against Dennis Brutus During the early 1980s, the Reagan Administration attempted to deport Dennis Brutus from the United States back to South Africa, a country that had imprisoned him 20 years earlier and from which he was exiled. The controversy arose when Rhodesia, the birthplace of Mr. Brutus, became the independent country of Zimbabwe, causing a delay in the issuing of a new passport for the poet. These boxes contain newspaper accounts, letters, legal document, and other materials concerning the nearly two-year battle between Mr. Brutus and the United States government. A finding aid is available for these boxes.
    11 Published Reviews of Dennis Brutus’ works; Unpublished Seminar Papers on Dennis Brutus’ Works; a Manuscript of Bede M. Ssensalo: Critical Perspectives on Dennis Brutus A finding aid for this box is under construction.
    12 Honors and Awards Dennis Brutus received many honors and awards during his lifetime, some of which he refused to accept on moral grounds. This box contains a full list of its contents.
    13 Courses Taught by Dennis Brutus Dennis Brutus taught at many American colleges and universities, including Northwestern University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Northeastern University, and Worcester State College. This box contains information on some of the courses Mr. Brutus taught during his tenures at some of these schools. A partial finding aid is available; a full listing is under construction.
    14 Brief Notes: Drafts and Fragments of Letters, Speeches, and Position Papers This box and the next two boxes contain a smattering of writings by Dennis Brutus, who was an avid note-taker and poetry scribbler. He wrote, jotted, recorded and listed on just about any type of paper he could find - brochures, flyers, envelopes, copies of emails, note paper, hotel stationary, university letterhead, and even scraps and place mats. In these boxes are the casual writings of Dennis Brutus - phone numbers, addresses, outlines of speeches, reminders, along with full letter drafts, calligraphy practice, and sketches and doodles. A descriptive finding aid for these boxes is under construction.
    15 Brief Notes: Drafts and Fragments of Letters, Speeches, and Position Papers See box 15 description.
    16 Brief Notes: Drafts and Fragments of Letters, Speeches, and Position Papers
    See box 15 description.
    17, 17A, 17B Published Prose by Dennis Brutus; Interviews, Public Testimonies, Speech Transcripts of Dennis Brutus; Biographical Information on Dennis Brutus; Miscellaneous Realia These three boxes contain numerous examples of Dennis Brutus’ writing, both in published and unpublished forms. A complete finding aid for these boxes is available.
    18 Dennis Brutus and Amnesty International Dennis Brutus was a great supporter of Amnesty International, once serving on the group’s Board of Directors. This box contains a finding list.
    19 Dennis Brutus at the University of Pittsburgh Dennis Brutus held a professorship at the University of Pittsburgh in both the English and Africana Studies departments. This box contains a partial finding aid of the contents; a full listing is under construction.
    20 The GAR The GAR was an underground publication on which Dennis Brutus served on the editorial board and published many of his poems. This box has a finding aid of its contents, which includes the name of the poem by or article about Brutus, and the position he was serving on the periodical at the time of its publication.
    21, 21A Anti-Apartheid Divestiture Movement After the end of Apartheid in South Africa, Dennis Brutus became involved in the divestiture movement, a movement embraced by President Barack Obama. A finding list is available for these boxes.
    22, 22A, 22B African Literature Association Dennis Brutus was an active member of the African Literature Association, and this box reflects his interest in that group. These boxes contain finding aids.
    23 Manuscripts on the Poetry and Activism of Dennis Brutus Dennis Brutus was both an activist and a poet, and his poetry often reflected his activist self. This box contains others’ writings on two of the sides of his public personality, and a finding aid is available.
    24 Apartheid Reparations Jubilee 2000 This meeting was part of the Anti-Apartheid Divestiture Movement of Boxes 21 and 21A. A finding aid is in progress
    25 Democracy in Haiti Dennis Brutus’ activist leanings spanned a wide range of issues, including democracy in Haiti. This box contains a finding aid.
    26 Troubadour Press This independent publishing house printed many of Dennis Brutus’ poetry collections, including Poems from Algiers and Thoughts Abroad. This box contains information about that publisher, and a finding aid.
    27, 27A, 27B Letters from Dennis Brutus The comprehensive finding aid will help the scholar peruse the hundreds of copies of Dennis Brutus correspondence in these boxes. Please also see Boxes 30, 30A, 30B, 30C, 30D, 30E, 30F, 30G: Letters to Dennis Brutus.
    28, 28A Racism and the Death Penalty: The Mumia Abu-Jamal Case Yet another of Dennis Brutus’ activist pursuits, this box contains information, publications, and correspondence concerning the ongoing Abu-Jamal case, which began in Philadelphia in 1982. A finding aid is available for this topic.
    29, 29A, 29B Dennis Brutus’ Public Appearances Dennis Brutus appeared in public forums hundreds of times, and a finding aid is included with these boxes.
    30, 30A, 30B, 30C, 30D, 30E, 30F, 30G Letters to Dennis Brutus Dennis Brutus corresponded with people throughout the world. This box contains letters sent to him, plus a comprehensive finding aid. Please also see Boxes 27, 27A, 27B: Letters from Dennis Brutus.
    31 Personal and Organizational Business Cards Presented to Dennis Brutus Dennis Brutus collected business cards from hundreds of individuals and groups. Those cards have been categorized and alphabetized; no finding aid is available.
    32 Biographical Information on Dennis Brutus A partial finding aid is currently available for this box of biographical information on Dennis Brutus; a full listing is being constructed.
    33, 33A, 33B Dennis Brutus Audio/Visual Collection These boxes contain many different audio and visual media of Dennis Brutus, including VHS tapes, cassette recordings, CDs and DVDs of many of his speeches and interviews. Also included are recordings of programs of activist subjects of interest to Mr. Brutus, and a finding aid is available.
    34 Dennis Brutus Travelling File This ever-changing file accompanied Dennis Brutus as he travelled around the world. This box, as it stands, is the final incarnation of his travelling file, and a finding list is included.