|Title||Red and Black Books Collective records |
|Finding Aid Identifier||Ms51 |
|Finding Aid Title||Red and Black Books Collective |
|Subject||finding aid; Red and Black Books Collective; bookstore; anarchy; socialism; feminism; environment; women's liberation movement; equal rights; gay and lesbian rights; civil rights; racism; literature |
|Abstract||The Red and Black Collective papers cover the years 1981-1999 and are fragmentary. The records are divided into ten series: Meeting Minutes, Shift Notes, Past Productions, Members, Community Resource Notebooks, Notebooks, Newsletters, Bibliographies, Book Recommendations, and Miscellaneous Items. |
|Biography||Red and Black Books Collective began on May 1, 1973 as an outgrowth of the Id, an early leftist
bookstore in Seattle that was involved in the social upheaval of the 1960's. The Red and Black name came
from the membership of the collective, anarchists and socialists, but early on the anarchists left to form Left
Bank Books. Because the collective believed that access to information was critical for empowerment the
bookstore focused on politics and providing the community with ideas and information not readily available
elsewhere. The store was a vehicle for social change, promotion of progressive perspectives on issues such
as feminism, respect for the environment, and alternative lifestyles and families.
Membership in the collective ranged from five to thirty people. Members were accepted into the
collective if their beliefs were similar to those stated in Red and Black's "Basis of Unity." Over the years,
members were required to work a certain amount of hours, but scheduling people to work always remained
problematic. Every collective member participated in the managerial and political decisions made by Red and
Black. The collective believed in no hierarchical structure that separated the volunteers from the paid staff,
but tensions did arise between the volunteers and paid staff due to unclear expectations of the members,
which were later addressed in a formal procedures manual.
Red and Black strove to inform the community about ideas that differed from the mainstream and to
show their support for various causes, the collective sponsored workshops, speakers, and other events.
Margaret Randall came twice to discuss her books and her INS deportation case. Alice Walker visited
Seattle shortly after winning the Pulitzer Prize for the Color Purple. Dennis Brutus spoke on apartheid and
his exile status in South Africa. Throughout the years, other artists were brought to the Seattle area to relate
their individual stories.
Since the later 1980's, Red and Black had ongoing discussions as to whether they should close or
remain open. In December of 1998, the collective made the decision to close the bookstore in 1999 unless a
buyer could be found to save it. Faced with mounting debt, the inability to find a buyer, and the emergence
of chain bookstores, Red and Black, the oldest feminist independent bookstore in the United States, closed
on March 17, 1999. |
|Scope and Content||The Red and Black Collective papers cover the years 1981-1999 and are fragmentary. The records
are divided into ten series: Meeting Minutes, Shift Notes, Past Productions, Members, Community Resource Notebooks, Notebooks, Newsletters, Bibliographies, Book Recommendations, and Miscellaneous Items.
Meeting Minutes are arranged by date from 1985-1999 with various committees intermixed. The
minutes describe the decision-making process of the collective and the inability to have a majority of
members attend the required meetings. Some of the committees represented by these minutes are the All-
Collective, Finance, Decorating, Moving, and Interview committee. Discussions ranged from the various
experiences of relocation, financial problems, scheduling dilemmas, and theft.
Shift Notes remain in original order by date, 1982-1998. One set of Shift Notes was a weekly compilation of events or important notices written by S. ‘Red' Reddick, a longtime employee of the collective. The remaining notes were in a notebook with daily entries by members discussing problems, requests, suggestions, events, or personal items. The Shift Notes were a diary for the members to refer to for information or ask questions. The Shift Notes describe the atmosphere of the collective and how the members worked together through the years.
Past Productions records from 1983-1993 are arranged alphabetically. These records show the
process of bringing artists to the Seattle area by Red and Black. Many of the records include the contract,
Red and Black notes, programs, and tickets for the event.
Members records describe the process by which Red and Black accepted and trained members.
Records include training information, completed applications, procedures, and personal notices.
Community Resource Notebooks are divided into three notebooks: ‘Big Blue,' ‘Mighty Maroon,'
and ‘Really Red.' Each notebook contained different information about resources or events available to the
community such as Gays/Lesbians, travel, or mental health.
Notebooks reflect some of the activities Red and Black was interested in. The anti-racism notebook
grew out of a collective desire to teach white collective members about racism. The military counselor's
manual focused on giving advice to conscientious objectors. The procedures manuals are two versions of
procedures for running the bookstore.
Newsletters are from 1984-1998 and cover in-house collective news and books reviews for
Bibliographies were an outreach tool for the collective to inform customers about the books they
held. They are arranged alphabetically from ‘Aging' to ‘Writing Literary Criticisms.'
Book recommendations were used by the collective to tell customers about certain books
individual members liked and for what reasons. The recommendations are arranged by collective member
name and then by author name.
Miscellaneous items consist primarily of book reviews, correspondence, news articles, financial
statements, and community newsletters.
|Keywords||finding aid; Red and Black Books Collective; bookstore; anarchy; socialism; feminism; environment; women's liberation movement; equal rights; gay and lesbian rights; civil rights; racism; literature |
|Inclusive Dates||1973 - 1999 (Bulk dates: 1981-1999). |
|Volume||4.5 linear feet |
|Accession number||1999.19.1 |
|Num of Boxes||3 |
|Electronic Publisher||Washington State Historical Society |
|Contributors||Washington State Historical Society |
|Object Type||text/pdf |
|Coverage||Seattle, WA |
|Rights||Property of the Washington State Historical Society - All Rights Reserved |
|Data Entry||kam |