A New Archive of Minnesota’s Human Rights Work Opens

Title card stating The Global Reach of Local Activism: Minnesota's Human Rights Stories

A new collection that brings together the history of Minnesota’s human rights organizations will be housed in the Elmer L. Andersen Library on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus.

The Minnesota Human Rights Archive (MHRA) is an interdisciplinary collection that includes materials from the humanities, social sciences, legal, medical, and public policy fields as well as from community organizations and advocates. It is one of the largest human rights archives at a public university with over 1000 boxes and over 1250 cubic feet of materials. 

Human rights activists and scholars, historians, political scientists, sociologists, legal scholars, and journalists will find paper records, oral histories, audio/visual materials, electronic records, and websites among the archive’s collection. 

“While the MHRA is centered around human rights advocates and activities connected to Minnesota, it is global in scope and will draw an international interest,” says Erik Moore, University archivist. 

Materials in the archive also cover human rights advocacy at the United Nations, the history of international nongovernmental organizations in Minnesota, fair trial rights, business and human rights, the rights of noncitizens, and historical human rights conditions in countries around the world. 

“I think there would be great public interest since many local human rights legends have participated in the project,” says Carrie Walling, director of the University of Minnesota Human Rights Program. An exhibit at the library will feature a selection of materials from the archive featuring Minnesotans Arvonne Fraser and Loretta Frederick, both advocates for women’s rights. The exhibit runs through June. 

Join Us for Global Reach of Local Activism: Minnesota’s Human Rights Stories

The UMN Human Rights Program, the University Archives and Special Collections, and the Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice are hosting a series of events to launch the archive—Global Reach of Local Activism: Minnesota’s Human Rights Stories—on Thursday, February 8, 2024, from 2:00 - 7:30 PM at Andersen Library

The first event at 2:00 PM will be a panel of Minnesota human rights experts discussing the successes, challenges, and what is next for women’s rights, the struggle against torture, and racial justice. Later at 5:00 PM, there will be a keynote address by world-renowned human rights scholar Kathryn Sikkink and remarks by former Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Richie followed by a reception and tours of the archive.

Get more event details and register to attend


Donate Materials to the Minnesota Human Rights Archive

The MHRA invites archival donations on human rights issues in Minnesota. People who wish to make archival donations can contact Kris Kiesling (kiesling@umn.edu), Elmer L. Andersen Library director of archives and special collections.

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