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Archives & Manuscripts

Central America Working Group Records

 Collection
Identifier: QM-Phy-772
The records of the Central America Working Group consist of minutes from 1985-1992, and documents related to the funding of volunteers to aid refugees. There is a good deal of miscellaneous memorabilia concerning different issues the group worked on, including personal trip journals of group members, correspondence related to Central America, and reports on the state of affairs in different Central American nations. The folders within each series are organized chronologically. The arrangement of the series is as follows: Series 1: Minutes; Series 2: Correspondence; Series 3: Financial; Series 4: Miscellaneous

Dates

  • 1972-1993

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Rights Information

Copyright has not been assigned to the Repositories. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to the individual Meeting or its successor. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Repositories as the holder(s) of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by reader.

Extent

0.25 Linear Feet (1 box)

Overview

The Central America Working Group of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting began in 1985 under the name "Sanctuary Working Group." In 1986, the group was given over twenty one thousand dollars with which to send volunteers to the American southwestern border to aid refugees. In 1989, the name of the group was changed to the Central America Working Group, and its three main areas of activism became lobbying, education, and refugee assistance. The most recent minute of the group in this collection is dated November 1992, but the final listing of the group in the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting directory occurs in 1995/1996.

Biographical / Historical

In 1985, the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, under the Coordinating Committee for Testimonies and Concerns, created the Sanctuary Working Group, to "educate monthly meetings on the opportunities and hazards of participation in the Sanctuary movement." Friends who were interested in aiding refugees from Central America could turn to the Sanctuary Working Group for resources and support. In 1986, the responsibilities of the group were greatly increased as the Working Group received grants totaling $21,000 to send volunteers to the U.S. southwest border to assist refugees. The group sent six people to the area on short-term trips.

Over time, the group began to work on a number of other activities. In addition to aiding refugees, it worked on sister city projects, overground railroad, raising bond money, and community education. Due to this increase in responsibilities, in 1989 the name of the group was changed to the Central America Working Group. Refugee assistance, lobbying, and education became the three main foci of the group in the 90's. In the fall of 1990, it participated in a successful area lobbying effort to pass the Dodd-Leahy bill, which blocked funding to the Salvadoran government. The most recent minute of the group in this collection is dated November 1992, but the final listing of the group in the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting directory occurs in 1995/1996.

An especially active member of the group, whose correspondence and documents are included in this collection, was Charles F. Peterson. First as clerk of the Peace Committee, and then as clerk of the Central America Working group after 1991/1992, Peterson traveled to Panama and Costa Rica, wrote many impassioned letters to Congressmen and newspapers, and helped organize the Interfaith Pilgrimage for Peace and Life in 1991/1992.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Deposit
Title
PHILADELPHIA YEARLY MEETING OF THE RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS. CENTRAL AMERICA WORKING GROUP.
Subtitle
A Finding Aid for its Meeting Records Deposited in Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
Date
2004
Language of description
English

Revision Statements

  • 2016: This electronic finding aid was updated in Summer 2016 by Abdulrezak Kemal in preparation for importing into ArchivesSpace, to conform to current markup standards and the ArchivesSpace data model.

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting Quaker Meeting Records at Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections and Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College Library