Climate, Environment, Justice: cultivating action & resilience on Earth Day and beyond

New book display now available in the Library! Come find books centered on themes of climate justice, environmental justice, and activism.

The climate crisis stems from a lineage of colonization and is intertwined with the exploitation and harm enacted on indigenous communities and communities of color, both within the boundaries of present-day United States and around the world. This exhibit seeks to highlight not just this legacy, but also the resilience, the resistance, the activism, and the ongoing creation of new futures.

Books in the exhibit are available to check out, or you can find them in the Library’s featured digital exhibits.

Many thanks to all who contributed to making this exhibit: Lutetia Wang, Ann Matsushima Chiu, Mark McDaniel, Caroline Reul, Lin Liu, Kyle Napoli, Colleen Gotze.

Selena, Queen of Tejano: A Student-Led Zine Exhibit

Thursday April 20th 3-4:30pm
Reed Zine Library
Food & Music

Come explore in this student-led zine exhibit, how the Cumbia and Tejana musician Selena influenced Tejano music and the broader Chicano culture. In this exhibit, you will find zines, books, magazines, and records all pertaining to Latin identities and struggles by Latin creators! The overall mission of this showcase is to critically examine and expand Reed Library’s collection of Latin pieces of media in order to actively diversify the whiteness of the library’s holdings. From a curated selection of zines exposing what it is like being a mujer in society to vinyl records of Selena’s music to Chicana pop culture magazines, come learn about how Hispanic cultures and identities are expressed in art and media.

Poetland: The Work and Art of the Beat Poets

Tracing their roots to New York City and San Francisco a group of poets, known as the Beat Generation, were actively causing a ruckus during the mid to late 1950s. They were often thought to be a precursor to the 1960s counterculture movement and were interested in experimental drugs, the natural world, Zen Buddhism, and other Asian religious practices. Inspired by modernist literature, jazz rhythms, and the Surrealists, their poetry and novels were free verse and stream of consciousness. Some well known names of the Beat Poets are Jack Kerouac, Willam Boroughs, and Allen Ginsberg, including Reedies Lew Welch ‘50, Philip Whalen ‘51, and Gary Snyder ‘51.

Photograph of three fanned out publications titled Janus. The publication's cover on the left is mostly plain with blue characters written on the front. The publication's cover in the middle is light blue with angled navy blue lines and occasional red boxes. The publication's cover on the right is a depiction of a two-faced person with a beard, assumed to be an image of the roman god Janus.
Photograph courtesy of Kathryn Zix.

While at Reed, Gary Snyder, Phillip Whalen, and Lew Welch met and became friends. The three of them lived together in the Portland neighborhood of Sellwood, and created a “literarti subculture” where they shared their works with one another and in the student led publication Janus.

Welch, an English major, wrote his thesis on Gertrude Stein, being drawn to poetry after reading her work.1 His thesis was eventually published posthumously as How I Read Gertrude Stein. Snyder, who attended Reed on a “grant-in-aid” scholarship, was an Anthropology major whose thesis focused on the analysis of a Haida myth.2 He drew from multiple fields of study (including anthropology, folkloristics, psychology, and literary theory) to write his thesis under Loyd Reynolds. Whalen enrolled as a Literature major who attended Reed on the GI Bill and wrote his thesis, The Calendar, on Robert Graves’ translation of “The Song of Amergin.”3

Tan poster with green text and an image of a person holding a sword aloft riding on the back of an animal. The text reads: POEMS from the works of Gary Snyder, Phil Whalen, and Lew Welch read by Lew Welch. Reed College Faculty Office Building Lounge. Wednesday, 2 November, 8:00 P.M. --25 cents.
Lew Welch Poetry Reading.

After graduating from Reed, both Whalen and Snyder worked as fire-spotters on Mount Baker in Washington. In 1952, they moved to San Francisco to hone their craft as poets. While in San Francisco, they befriended fellow poets Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Amiri Baraka, Diane di Prima, and Lawrence Ferlenghetti, co-founder of City Lights Booksellers and Publishers. Both Whalen and Snyder were major influences on Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums,4 and in 1955, Snyder and Whalen performed at the famous Six Gallery reading (where Allen Ginsberg debuted Howl). The Six Gallery reading is considered the birth of the Beat Generation, and San Francisco’s bookstore, City Lights, published and distributed Beat literature. Welch was not present at this reading because following graduation he moved to New York, and later Chicago, to work as an advertising copywriter and enrolled in a Master’s program at the University of Chicago. After becoming disillusioned with Chicago, he eventually settled in San Francisco to focus on his poetry.5 However, despite being dispersed throughout the country, during the late 1950s and early 1960s, Snyder, Welch, and Whalen, as well as Allen Ginsberg, frequently visited Reed to share their poetry. 

Woodblock image of Smokey the Bear holding a shovel with his right hand and surveying with his left, standing on top of a car in blue ink.
Smokey Bear Woodcut by Michael Corr in The Fudo Trilogy by Gary Snyder.

Snyder’s love of the natural world led to his interest in Buddhism and North American Indigenous religious practices, which can be seen throughout his work and personal life. First introduced to mountain climbing at thirteen, Snyder had “climbed a number of summits” by the time he was twenty.6  In 1955, the First Zen Institute of America gave Snyder a scholarship to study Buddhism in Japan. In 1956, Snyder arrived in Japan, where he spent the next decade living between there and California. His first two poetry collections, Myth and Texts and Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems, were based on his travels in Japan. Snyder went on to win a Pulitzer prize in 1974 for his collection of poems entitled Turtle Island, as well as numerous other prizes for his poetry. 

Hand-drawn image of a bear holding a staff in one hand and ring of keys in the other, standing in a lotus flower with the sun behind his head on tan paper. The text reads: 31:W:59. the end, of a month of Sundays. Hurrah for the church. RUIN. Loud Music Now. Big. Goofing. Down down down. No limit. No lower limit. feature that! {if you will.}
Bodhisattva in Bear Wold
Philip Whalen
Bodhisattva in Bear World by Philip Whalen.

Similarly interested in nature, Buddhism, and Zen practices, Whalen’s poetry presents these themes with his unique stream of consciousness style. Along with this style, he frequently sketched in order to get his pen “warmed up” and these illustrations often accompanied his writing.7 In 1973, Whalen became a Zen monk in Kyoto, Japan and spent two decades at the Zen centers in San Francisco and Santa Fe. He became a Zen priest in the 1970s, and in 1991 he became the abbott for the Hartford Street Zen Center in San Francisco until he had to retire due to his health. He continued writing and publishing poetry while fulfilling his abbott duties. 

Welch’s poetry also focused on nature along with the discomfort of modern and urban America. Jazz music was a major influence, and music as a whole, is found generously in Welch’s work.8 He performed and published several collections of poetry in the 1960s including Wobbly Rock and Hermit Poems. From 1965 to 1970 he taught a workshop as part of the University of California Extension. In the mid-60s he met Magda Cregg and  her teenage son, Hugh, who later adopted Welch’s first name as his stage name to become Huey Lewis.9 In 1971, Welch disappeared into the Sierra Nevada Mountains and was presumed dead.

“Poetland: The Work and Art of the Beat Poets,” is on display across from  the reference desk on the first floor of the library through April 2023, to learn more about the poets featured here please visit the exhibit. For additional information and primary sources visit Reed College Special Collections and Archives Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm on Lower Level 2 of the library or to email us at

Photograph courtesy of Kathryn Zix.

Source List:

1 Welch, L. (1996). How I Read Gertrude Stein. Grey Fox Press.

2 Snyder, Gary. Interview by John Sheehy. July 22, 1998. Reed College Oral History Project, Reed College Special Collections and Archives.

3 Schneider, D. (2015). Crowded by Beauty: The Life and Zen of Poet Philip Whalen: The Life and Zen of Poet Philip Whalen. University of California Press.

4 Suiter, J. (2003). Poets on the Peaks: Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen and Jack Kerouac (1st ed.). Counterpoint.

5 Welch, L. (1973) Chicago Poem. Ring of Bone (1st ed.). Grey Fox Press.

6 Snyder, G. (1996). Mountains and rivers without end (1st ed.). Counterpoint.

7 Whalen, P. (1966). Preface. In Highgrade: Doodles, poems. preface, Coyote’s Journal.

8 Cregg, M. (1997). Hey Lew: Homage to Lew Welch. Magda Cregg.

9 Cregg, M. (1997). Hey Lew: Homage to Lew Welch. Magda Cregg.

Book exhibit: Counternarratives: Critical Race Theory in Context

Counternarratives: Critical Race Theory in Context is a new book display that seeks to expand, contextualize, and nuance the conversations about theories of race and racialization in academia and contemporary debate. 

Unlike what liberal and conservative media would like you to believe, Critical Race Theory is NOT a catch-all term for anything written by or about people of color. It’s not diversity, equity, and inclusion training. It’s not books like How to Be an Antiracist or White Fragility on your parents’ coffee table. It’s not even academic scholarship written about race. 

CRT is a field of legal scholarship about race in America that emerged out of Critical Legal Studies in the latter half of the twentieth century advanced by scholars including Derrick Bell and Kimberlé Crenshaw.1 Since its inception, CRT has expanded and spread into other fields, especially education, and taken on new forms such as AsianCrit, LatCrit, TribalCrit, and Critical Whiteness Studies. 

CRT is part of a large web of scholarship and theory about race, racism, and racialization. It exists in conversation, disagreement, and solidarity with other expansive and interconnected fields of thought such as Black Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Black Feminism, Carceral Studies, and Critical Indigenous Studies. 

Crenshaw uses the term intersectionality to describe how different structures of oppression intersect to affect marginalized communities. Thinking about the ways these structures and forms of violence overlap is important, but so is their specificity. 

Likewise, we can think of these disciplines as intersecting and interwoven attempts to study racism, colonialism, and violence in their many forms. Many of the books on display here could fit into more than one of these fields as well as other disciplines or fields that are not represented here. However, each field has its own traditions, archives, and strategies for thinking about race. 

Contextualizing CRT within this larger constellation can help us be smarter and think critically about modern understandings of race and racism. 

You can access the materials within this exhibit through the Library’s Featured Collections. You can check out any of the materials in the display by taking the item and your library card to the front desk. You can check out ebooks by scanning the QR codes that take you to the catalog record.

Organized by Ben Read and Ann Matsushima Chiu. Special thanks to Sarah Bavier, Angie Beiriger, Nick Campigli, Lily De La Fuente, Tracy Drake, Kyle Napoli, Caroline Reul, and Bee Yermish. Images from W. E. B. Du Bois.

Janel George, “A Lesson on Critical Race Theory,” Human Rights Magazine, January 11, 2021,

Exhibit: Race, Politics, and Women’s Rights: Visions of a New United States

Many have already heard of The Liberator, the 19th-century abolitionist newspaper created by William Lloyd Garrison. However, a new magazine under the same name emerged in the twentieth century. First published in the spring of 1918, the twentieth century Liberator continued the fight for equality: it focused on worker’s rights, women’s rights, and promoted socialism as an alternative to capitalism.

During World War One, the Wilson administration passed the 1917 Espionage Act and the 1918 Sedition Act. The legislation prohibited subversive speech that critiqued the draft, the Constitution, or the United States government.1 Subsequently, the U.S. government shut down socialist political magazine The Masses and prosecuted its editor Max Eastman.2 With the magazine effectively terminated by the U.S. government, Eastman and his sister Crystal founded The Liberator to succeed the defunct Masses.

The Eastmans were an accomplished pair of American activists. Crystal Eastman (b.1881-d.1928) was a labor lawyer, suffragist, socialist, and journalist who worked with her brother (as a co-editor) on the socialist magazine The Liberator. Much of Eastman’s journalistic work focused on the suffrage movement and workers’ rights in the early twentieth century. In 1917, before The Liberator’s creation, Crystal Eastman and other activists established the National Civil Liberties Bureau, which later became the ACLU, to fight government repression of dissenters’ rights during the First World War.3 Eastman is also credited with co-founding the Congressional Union in 1913 (later known as the National Woman’s Party) and supported the Equal Rights Amendment of 1923, a proposed amendment to eliminate federal and state laws that discriminate against women.4 

Max Eastman (b.1883-d.1969) was a poet, editor of The Masses and the Liberator, and a prominent socialist and women’s rights activist in the early twentieth century. In 1910 he and other activists founded the Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage.5 Despite his professed belief in men and women’s equality, critics have noted a majority of The Liberator’s articles on women’s issues were written by men. Around 1 January 1922, Eastman passed his editorial position down to literary critic Floyd Dell. Under Dell’s supervision, the magazine’s focus shifted from politics to arts and culture.

First published in the Spring of 1918, a reader could pick up an issue of the  magazine for twenty cents and read about the American labor movement, reports from post-war Europe, and John Reed’s reporting from the USSR. Political art and poetry fleshed out the remainder of the magazine. Contributors included prominent writers such as Claude McKay, a Jamaican-born poet and key figure in the Harlem Renaissance. 

Born Festus Claudius Mckay (b.1889-d.1948), McKay was one of the most important poets of the Harlem Renaissance. His work ranged from vernacular verses celebrating Jamaica to poems that protested racial and economic inequality.6 

In 1912, using a stipend he earned from the Jamaican Institute of Arts and Sciences, McKay left Jamaica for college in the United States. He attended Tuskegee Institute for two months before transferring to Kansas State College. In 1914 McKay departed college for New York City. His experiences with racism in the United States encouraged him to continue writing poetry.7 

In 1919, McKay met and befriended Max Eastman, who later hired McKay as co-editor for The Liberator in 1921: a position McKay would maintain until 1922.8 McKay published several poems in The Liberator, most notably the enthralling poem If We Must Die.9 The poem was first published in the July 1919 issue of The Liberator and republished in several magazines.10 The poem’s publication date is significant as 1919 was one of the most tumultuous years of the twentieth century. There was the Influenza A pandemic, workers unrest, and the Red Summer. If We Must Die was a direct response to news of the race riots that spread across the United States. According to Juliana Spahr’s analysis of the poem, “Claude McKay’s If We Must Die is the poem of this moment, one that captured the zeitgeist as if McKay were a prophet, and not a mere writer.”11 

Along with politics, the magazine’s visual material included a variety of illustrations and cartoons contributed by artists such as Cornelia Barns, William Gropper, and Art Young. 

Born in Philadelphia in 1888, Cornelia Barns was an American illustrator and suffragette. She began contributing illustrations to Eastman’s first magazine, The Masses, in 1914. Barns was one of a  few women who played a significant part in the creation of The Masses. In 1917, Barns moved with her family to California with her husband and child. Committed to radical political and social change, Barns continued to provide art to The Liberator, New Masses, and Suffragist after moving to California.12 

One of Barns’ most notable covers for The Liberator, Strike!, depicts women from the International Garment Workers Union who, in 1919, went on strike for a 44-hour work-week in New York.13 Inside the magazine one could learn more: “Our Cover design, drawn by Cornelia Barns, will carry to readers all over the country something of the spirit with which Local 25 of the International Garment Workers is conducting its strike for the 44 hour-week in New York. Eighty-five percent of the strikers are girls. Of the 35,000 who went out on January 21st, 23,000 have already won their terms and gone back to work. The rest are sticking it out magnificently.”14

Contributions from famous American cartoonists Art Young and William Gropper cemented The Liberator’s status as an influential socialist magazine within New York’s publishing scene. Art Young (b.1866-d.1943) was an American illustrator and activist in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In 1884 he moved to Chicago and studied art and supported himself by drawing newspaper cartoons. In 1903 he moved to New York, and worked as an illustrator for The Masses. After the magazine’s suppression by the U.S. government, Young worked with the Eastmans to produce artwork for The Liberator until the magazine was merged with other left-wing publications to form Workers Monthly in 1924.15

William Gropper was another illustrator who contributed his art to The Liberator. The son of Jewish immigrants, Gropper took art courses as a teenager at an experimental socialist school. After winning awards for his drawings, Gropper took a job with the New York Tribune. His supervisors at the tribune fired him when they discovered his left-wing political connections.16 

By 1922, The Liberator achieved a circulation of 60,000 readers, but Max Eastman desired to shift focus towards book writing and left for the Soviet Union.17 When finances became an issue later that year, the Communist Party of America (CPA) moved in for a friendly takeover. The political party worked with Eastman, Dell, and other writers for the transition. By fall 1922, the magazine became an official organ of the CPA, and political content returned to the foreground.18 

In 1924 The Liberator was merged with other magazines to form a new publication, Workers Monthly. The magazine would change names again to The Communist in 1927 until settling on the title Political Affairs in 1946.19 

To learn more about The Liberator, visit the Special Collections and Archives exhibit, Race, Politics, and Women’s Rights: Visions of a New United States, curated by Nick Campigli, on the library’s main level across from the reference desk. Or, email to schedule an appointment with Reed Special Collections and Archives.

To learn more about The Liberator’s contributors, see the book Crystal Eastman: A Revolutionary Life, or view our catalog of Claude McKay’s literature.

  1. Daniel G Donalson, The Espionage and Sedition Acts of World War I Using Wartime Loyalty Laws for Revenge and Profit (El Paso: LFB Scholarly Pub., 2012),, 2-3.
  2. “Max Forrester Eastman (1883-1969) | American Experience | PBS,” accessed October 13, 2021,
  3. “Crystal Eastman,” American Civil Liberties Union, accessed October 28, 2021,
  4. “Crystal Eastman | American Lawyer, Writer, Activist,” Encyclopedia Britannica, accessed October 13, 2021,
  5. “Max Forrester Eastman (1883-1969) | American Experience | PBS.”
  6. Poetry Foundation, “Claude McKay,” text/html, Poetry Foundation, October 13, 2021,
  7. Ibid.
  8. “Claude M’Kay, African Poet. Made Co-Editor” The Chicago Defender, accessed October 13, 2021,
  9. “The Liberator, July 1919,” The Liberator, accessed October 13, 2021,, 21.
  10.  “‘Our Precious Blood May Not Be Shed’ | Claude McKay,” Lapham’s Quarterly, accessed October 14, 2021,
  11. Juliana Spahr, “Hearing the Pandemic in Claude McKay’s ‘If We Must Die,’” PMLA 136, no. 2 (March 2021): 254–57,
  12. “Barns, Cornelia Baxter (1888–1941) | Encyclopedia.Com,” accessed October 13, 2021,
  13. “GARMENT WORKERS ORDERED TO STRIKE; Union Calls Upon 35,000 Members to Quit Their Employment At 10 o’Clock This Morning. APPEAL FOR GOOD ORDER Right to Discharge at Issue–Demands Include 44-Hour Weekend Advance in Wages.,” accessed October 15, 2021,
  14. “The Liberator, April 1919,” The Liberator, accessed October 13, 2021,, 2. 
  15. “Art Young,” accessed October 14, 2021,
  16. “William Gropper | Smithsonian American Art Museum,” accessed October 14, 2021,
  17. Paul Buhle, Marxism in the United States: Remapping the History of the American Left (London: Verso, 1987), 172.
  18. “The Liberator.”
  19. Ibid.

Continued Resistance: A Legacy of Activism in the Asian American and Pacific Islander Diaspora

New exhibit now open in the library: Continued Resistance: A Legacy of Activism in the Asian American and Pacific Islander Diaspora.

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen an influx of recent racist attacks targeting Asian Americans stigmatized by misinformation and xenophobia. 2021 was marked by slogans like “We are not the virus,” #StopAAPIHate, and racially motivated attacks like the Atlanta spa shootings, which galvanized protests and community vigils throughout the country. This wasn’t the first time that Asians and Pacific Islanders stood up to demand justice for their communities. 

From Native Hawaiian activists fighting for their sacred lands to Asian Americans coalitions organizing and demanding civil rights, the activists featured in this exhibit represent intersectional identities that showcase a legacy of continued resistance and protest for change. 

With artwork featuring living and past activists such as Alok Vaid-Menon, Alice Wong, Haunani Kay-Trask and Yuri Kochiyama, Reed students can explore scholarship that showcases how the AAPI diaspora communities have come together, spoken out against injustice, and are resilient in the face of adversity. 

Find the exhibit on the main level of the library near the elevator.

As a part of the Reed College community, we welcome you to share your stories and photos of how you work toward justice in your own communities in the community response area.

You can access the materials within this exhibit through the Library’s Featured Collections. You can check out any of the materials in the display by taking the item and your library card to the front desk. You can check out ebooks by scanning the QR codes that take you to the catalog record.

Organized by Reed College librarians Ann Matsushima Chiu and Lily De La Fuente.

Artwork posters commissioned by muralist Alex Chiu.

Echoes of Harlem

There’s a time travel portal next to the reference desk.

1920s and 1930s Harlem NYC was a time when African American arts and culture flourished. Jazz music from Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong could be heard floating from Harlem nightclubs. Painters such as Jacob Lawrence and Archibald Motley chronicled the daily lives of African Americans.

It was also a politically and racially charged time in US history. If you walked down 5th Avenue you might see a black flag hanging from the NAACP office that proclaimed “A MAN WAS LYNCHED YESTERDAY” in bold white lettering.

Whether you’re interested in Harlem Renaissance aesthetic, culture, or politics, our book display has something for you. Come discover a good read and learn about the Echoes of Harlem that still reverberate throughout NYC and the USA today.

All items available for checkout!

Hidden Histories of Race & Reed

New exhibit! “Hidden Histories of Race & Reed”, developed and curated by Ashley San Miguel and Maya Arigala, opened in the second floor Eliot Hall display cases Friday December 13th.

Flyer for exhibit. Black and white photograph of Reed students protesting outside of Eliot Hall with signs. Flyer text reads: "Exhibit unveiling: hidden histories of race & Reed. Join us at the second floor Eliot display cases! December 13th Drop in between 5pm-7pm. Reception in Eliot 216, food will be provided. Vegan & GF options. Sponsored by: social justice fund, library archives, office for institutional diversity. Email or with questions."

This exhibit uses items from the Reed College Archives to chart the 1968 Black Student Union (BSU) protests to install a Black Studies Center at Reed, and the subsequent rise and dissolution of the center just a few years later.

Black and white photograph of Reed students protesting outside of Eliot Hall with signs. The photograph is the same as used in the event flyer.
Black Studies Demonstration, Eliot Hall 1968. Photograph by Stephen S. Robinson, class of 1972.

Selections from a Gift of Richard Danzig ’65


A display of materials from a donation by  Dr. Richard Danzig ’65  are now on view. These publications relate to nineteenth and twentieth century India and contain demographic information, offer insights into constitutional reform and recount the deeds of Indian intellectuals that shaped India’s past, present, and future.

This display is located on the rear side of the Reference Desk bookshelf and will be on view until May 21, 2019.

For more information or comments please contact

Reed Student Publications

April 6 – June 1, 2018
Flat cases and wall case by the Reference Desk

In many ways, the types of publications Reed students choose to produce are indicative of much larger social trends at the college and beyond. The newest exhibit from the Archives and Special Collections, “Student Publications at Reed” takes a look at the ways students have used pamphlets, comic books, journals, fliers and more as a media by which to process their world. Take a look through a few, and you might just get a glimpse of Reed of yesteryear…