John M. Beam Papers

MC 780

Special Collections
University of Arkansas Libraries

365 N. McIlroy Avenue
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701-4002
Phone: 479-575-8444
Email: specoll@uark.edu

Machine-readable finding aid encoded in EAD by Katrina Windon, 2019.

Finding aid is written in English.

Table of Contents

Descriptive Summary

Creator
Beam, John M.
Title
John M. Beam Papers
Inclusive Dates
1974-1983
Identification
MC 780
Extent
2.25 linear feet (6 boxes)
Language
Materials are in English.
Repository
Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries

Access Information

Please call (479) 575-8444 or email specoll@uark.edu at least two weeks in advance of your arrival to ensure availability of the materials.

Use Information

No Use Restrictions Apply.

No Interlibrary Loan.

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Acquisition Information

These papers were donated to Special Collections by John M. Beam on April 8, 1988.

Processing Information

Processed by Fon Louise Gordon; completed July 1988.

Preferred Form of Citation

John M. Beam Papers (MC 780), Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville.

See Special Collections Citation Guide for more detailed information on how to cite specific documents from the collection.

Biographical Note

Born February 10, 1950 in Yakima, Washington, John M. Beam earned a B.A. degree in both political science and history from Northwestern University. After graduating from college, he began his career as an organizer for social change. In 1972, he worked full-time with Cornucopia, a non-profit cooperative warehouse serving between seventy and ninety food cooperatives in metropolitan Chicago. During the summer of 1973, Beam volunteered as a staff worker with the United Farm Workers Safeway Boycott in Dallas.

In August, 1973, Beam began his seven year association with the Arkansas community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). He initially worked as a field organizer in Little Rock. His responsibilities in Central Arkansas included organizing farmers in England (Lonoke county) against the construction of a coal-fired generating plant having no emission control system. The following year, Beam opened and supervised an ACORN office in Jonesboro (Craighead County).

Beam returned to Little Rock in 1975 as head organizer for Little Rock ACORN. During his tenure, Beam coordinated 150 ACORN Justices of the Peace and worked for the election of an ACORN member to the reorganized fifteen member Quorum court. other programs organized by Beam included working with neighborhood groups, developing the Lifeline ballot initiative and working with the Health Systems Agency in improving emergency medical services for low to moderate income neighborhoods.

From July, 1976, Beam served as head organizer for Tennessee ACORN in Memphis. In two years, Beam expanded the organization into a coalition of twenty community groups. Beam's additional responsibilities included managing three experienced organizers, seven trainees and three volunteers; working with political, press, and non-organizational community contacts; and working directly with Memphis area neighborhood groups and the Tennessee ACORN Executive Board. Beam was also instrumental in developing the Tennessee ACORN Jobs Action Council.

In 1978 Beam moved to New Orleans as the regional director of the Mid-south and Mid-West areas (Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas), and also acted as an unemployment agitator with the New Orleans United Labor organizations (ULO). In August, 1980, Beam resigned from ACORN. He was the third most senior person of a staff of almost 200 people.

Arkansas community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) was established in Arkansas in 1970. ACORN is a grass roots, multi­issue organization of low to moderate income people, seventy per cent of whom earn less than $7000 annually. In five years, ACORN expanded to twenty staff members, maintained ten area offices, and had sixty-two community groups statewide with 5200 member families.

The Institute for social Justice was created by ACORN in 1972, with offices in Little Rock, to provide training for community organizers from all over the country based on the ACORN model. In three years, the Institute also operated and managed two food cooperatives at North Little Rock and Jonesboro.

ACORN became a multi-state organization in 1975. The acronym remained the same, but ACORN was reorganized as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. ACORN expanded first into South Dakota in February 1975. In two years, South Dakota ACORN had regional offices in Sioux Falls and Huron and membership of over 200 families. Texas ACORN began organizing in August 1975 with regional offices in Dallas and Fort Worth. In December, 1975, sixty elected delegates representing the new multi-state organization met in Little Rock and organized the Executive Board of ACORN, the governing body of the organization.

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence, programs, printed material, and other papers. The papers pertain to Beam's work with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). He served as field organizer in Jonesboro and as lead organizer in Little Rock; as head organizer in Memphis in establishing Tennessee ACORN; as unemployment agitator for the United Labor Organization (ULO); and as regional director for the Mid-South and Mid-West regions of ACORN (Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas).

Arrangement of the Papers

Material is arranged and described in three series:

  1. Series 1. Arkansas ACORN Files
    1. Subseries 1. Correspondence
    2. Subseries 2. Little Rock Neighborhood Affiliates
    3. Subseries 3. ACORN Actions
    4. Subseries 4. Printed Material
  2. Series 2. Tennessee ACORN files
    1. Subseries 1. Correspondence
    2. Subseries 2. Tennessee ACORN Executive Board
    3. Subseries 3. Memphis Neighborhood Affiliates
    4. Subseries 4. Memphis ACORN Programs
    5. Subseries 5. Printed Material
  3. Series 3. Louisiana ACORN files
    1. Subseries 1. Office Files
    2. Subseries 2. Printed Material

Related Materials

Records relating to the John M. Beam Papers include:

John M. Beam Papers Addendum, MC 1059, Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville

Arkansas ACORN Records, M2002-002, Wisconsin Historical Society, Division of Library, Archives, and Museum Collections

Subject Terms

The following persons, organizations, or topics are among those represented within the collection materials:

ACORN (Arkansas)

ACORN (Organization)

Community organization

    Detailed Description of the Collection

    The following contains a detailed list of the materials in the collection

    series 1: Arkansas ACORN Files

    This series contains materials related to the tenure of Beam as head organizer for Little Rock ACORN. It includes memoranda, press statements, correspondence, agendas and programs (actions) of neighborhood affiliates; issues of ACORN News and Arkansas Advocate; publications of the Institute for Social Justice; and newspaper clippings.

    subseries 1: Correspondence, Memoranda, and Press Statements,

    September 1975-August 1983

    series I: 1 Box 1 Folder 1

    Correspondence, Jan. 1976-Aug. 1983

    series I: 1 Box 1 Folder 2

    Memoranda, Sept. 1975-June 1976

    series I: 1 Box 1 Folder 3

    Press statements, Dec. 1974-Aug. 1975

    series I: 1 Box 1 Folder 4

    Press statements, Aug. 1975-Feb. 1976

    series I: 1 Box 1 Folder 5

    Press statements, Mar. 1976-June 1980

    subseries 2: Little Rock Neighborhood Affiliates,

    1975-1976

    series I: 2 Box 1 Folder 6

    Arch Street Improvement Group

    series I: 2 Box 1 Folder 7

    Barrow Action Group

    series I: 2 Box 1 Folder 8

    Oak Forest Property Owners Association

    series I: 2 Box 1 Folder 9

    South End Community Organization

    series I: 2 Box 1 Folder 10

    South Highlands Community Improvement Organization

    series I: 2 Box 1 Folder 11

    Springs Area Improvement Association

    series I: 2 Box 1 Folder 12

    Woodrow to Pine Neighborhood Association

    subseries 3: ACORN Actions,

    1975-1976

    series I: 3 Box 1 Folder 13

    Pulaski County Quorum Court

    series I: 3 Box 1 Folder 14

    Miscellaneous programs

    subseries 4: Printed Material

    series I: 4 Box 2 Folder 1

    "ACORN Maintenance Model"

    series I: 4 Box 2 Folder 2

    "Institute Update," 7 pages; Katz, James. Action Research: A Guide to Resources. New Orleans: The Institute, 1980 (2 copies)

    series I: 4 Box 2 Folder 3

    Community Organizing: Handbook 2 LR: The Institute for Social Justice, 1977

    series I: 4 Box 2 Folder 4

    ACORN News, March 1975; Oct. 1975

    series I: 4 Box 2 Folder 5

    Newspaper clippings about ACORN, 1974-1979

    series I: 4 Box 2 Folder 6

    Newspaper clippings about ACORN Lifeline action, 1975-1976

    series I: 4 Box 2 Folder 7

    Newspaper clippings about the Pulaski County Equalization Board, 1975-1976

    series I: 4 Box 2 Folder 8

    Newspaper clippings about Pulaski County Quorum Court, 1975-1976

    series I: 4 Box 2 Folder 9

    Newspaper clippings about sanitary landfill action, 1975-1976

    series I: 4 Box 2 Folder 10

    Newspaper clippings about miscellaneous ACORN actions, 1975-1983

    series 2: Tennessee ACORN Files

    This series contains materials related to the tenure of Beam as head organizer for Tennessee ACORN. It consists of memoranda, press releases, correspondence; community action group programs and agendas; issues of the Tennessee ACORN News; and newspaper clippings.

    subseries 1: Correspondence, memoranda, and press statements,

    Sept. 1976-Jan. 1978

    series II: 1 Box 3 Folder 1

    Correspondence, Aug. 1976-Jan. 1978

    series II: 1 Box 3 Folder 2

    Memoranda, Sept. 1976-May 1977

    series II: 1 Box 3 Folder 3

    Memoranda, May 1977-1979

    series II: 1 Box 3 Folder 4

    Press statements, Oct. 1976-March 1977

    series II: 1 Box 3 Folder 5

    Press statements, Apr. 1977-May 1978

    subseries 2: Tennessee ACORN Executive Board,

    1976-1978

    series II: 2 Box 3 Folder 6

    Minutes and Financial Reports, 1976-1977

    series II: 2 Box 3 Folder 7

    Grant application, 1978

    subseries 3: Memphis Neighborhood Affiliates,

    1977-1978

    series II: 3 Box 3 Folder 8

    College Park community Organization

    series II: 3 Box 3 Folder 9

    Cooper-Barksdale Improvement organization

    series II: 3 Box 3 Folder 10

    Jackson-Chelsen Community Organization

    series II: 3 Box 3 Folder 11

    Lincoln Park Community Organization

    series II: 3 Box 3 Folder 12

    Mallony Heights Community Organization

    series II: 3 Box 3 Folder 13

    South Binghampton Community Organization

    series II: 3 Box 3 Folder 14

    Westside Frayser Neighborhood Improvement Group

    subseries 4: Memphis ACORN Programs,

    1977

    series II: 4 Box 3 Folder 15

    ACORN Jobs Action Council, 1977

    series II: 4 Box 3 Folder 16

    Miscellaneous programs, 1977

    subseries 5: Printed Material

    series II: 5 Box 4 Folder 1

    Tennessee ACORN News, Dec. 1976-July 1978

    series II: 5 Box 4 Folder 2

    Newspaper clippings about Westside Frayser, Mallony Heights, Lincoln Park, Cooper-Barksdale and Rugby Association for Progress; Memphis area banks redlining; Shelby County Food stamp program

    series II: 5 Box 4 Folder 3

    Newspaper clippings about Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA); Memphis school bus drivers' strike; ACORN Jobs Action council demonstration; coalition for quality health care workshop

    series II: 5 Box 4 Folder 4

    Newspaper clippings about political activities

    series 3: Louisiana ACORN Files

    This series contains materials related to Beam's dual position as New Orleans ULO unemployment agitator and as Mid-South and Mid-West regional director. It consists of regional and ULO memoranda and correspondence; Louisiana, Iowa and Texas press releases; ULO agendas and programs; publications of the Institute for Social Justice and other articles related to ACORN; and newspaper clippings.

    subseries 1: Office Files,

    Apr. 1978-Aug. 1983

    series III: 1 Box 5 Folder 1

    Organizational Support Center/United Labor organization memoranda, Apr. 1978-Feb. 1979

    series III: 1 Box 5 Folder 2

    OSC/ULO memoranda, Feb. 1979-Nov. 1979

    series III: 1 Box 5 Folder 3

    Regional memoranda, Nov. 1978-Dec. 1979

    series III: 1 Box 5 Folder 4

    Regional memoranda, Jan. 1980-June 1980

    series III: 1 Box 5 Folder 5

    Regional memoranda, June 1980-Aug. 1983

    series III: 1 Box 5 Folder 6

    Memoranda, undated

    series III: 1 Box 5 Folder 7

    Louisiana correspondence, Apr. 1978-Aug. 1980

    series III: 1 Box 5 Folder 8

    Regional correspondence, 1978-1980

    series III: 1 Box 5 Folder 9

    Louisiana press releases, May 1975-May 1980

    series III: 1 Box 5 Folder 10

    Iowa press releases, Dec. 1978-Jan. 1980

    series III: 1 Box 5 Folder 11

    Texas press releases, Oct. 1979-Nov. 1979

    series III: 1 Box 5 Folder 12

    ULO agendas

    series III: 1 Box 5 Folder 13

    ULO programs

    series III: 1 Box 5 Folder 14

    ULO programs

    series III: 1 Box 5 Folder 15

    ULO civil Action suit (copy)

    series III: 1 Box 5 Folder 16

    Miscellaneous

    subseries 2: Printed Material

    series III: 2 Box 6 Folder 1

    Institute for Social Justice

    series III: 2 Box 6 Folder 2

    United Labor organization

    series III: 2 Box 6 Folder 3

    Convention programs, 1978-1980

    series III: 2 Box 6 Folder 4

    United States of ACORN (USA), Spring 1978-Nov. 1980

    series III: 2 Box 6 Folder 5

    Newspaper clippings about Household Workers Organizing committee (HWOC); Youth Jobs Action council

    series III: 2 Box 6 Folder 6

    Newspaper clippings about CETA workers

    series III: 2 Box 6 Folder 7

    Newspaper clippings about ACORN national political activities

    series III: 2 Box 6 Folder 8

    Newspaper clippings about ACORN regional activities

    END OF COLLECTION

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