Indiana University South Bend Archives
1700 Mishawaka Avenue P.O. Box 7111
South Bend, Indiana 46634
Phone: (574) 520 – 4392
Creator: Civil Rights Heritage Center
Title: David James Collection of the Civil Rights Heritage Center
Extent: Two boxes (one “bankers” box and one legal size document box) totaling approx. 1.75 cubic feet.
David James has been involved in the activist and music scenes in and around South Bend, Indiana, for most of the forty years that he has lived in this community. A constant champion of civil rights, labor rights, and unions; a constant advocate for peace and protestor against war, David James has spent much of his life actively fighting for the issues he believes in, and performing and promoting the folk music he loves.
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, David James spent a year at Georgia State College (present day Georgia State University) before arriving at the University of Notre Dame in 1965. He was an early critic of the war in Vietnam, actively joining protest movements and becoming a counselor to those resisting the draft. He is quoted as saying, “I was a memory of the old left. The new left was talking about bombing the ROTC building. I was much more a mass-movement oriented person.” 1
David James dropped out of Notre Dame in 1968 to become a full-time draft resistance counselor, but later returned and graduated in 1970. Afterward, he held a number of different jobs and remained a fixture in local protest movements and the local music scene. He was a member of several bands, playing folks, bluegrass, and traditional Irish music at a variety of gigs and academic events.
David James became an Associate Professor of Composition for Indiana University South Bend beginning in Fall 2011.
Scope and Content Note:
The collection consists of a rage of materials including photographs, prepared documents, promotional materials, some hand written notes, and a limited amount of newspaper clippings. It begins with materials that describe David James’ life and music; continues with his draft resistance efforts in the late 1960s and early 1970s (including his arrest with George Neagu, Director of the South Bend Human Rights Commission, for protesting). Next, materials related to his work with the United Auto Workers (UAW) Union Local 2107 (South Bend) in the early 1980s, and finally, materials related to the peace rallies he was involved with during the early 1980s. There is also a collection of political buttons promoting causes and politicians.