David James Papers

Summary Information


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 papers 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.

Biographical Information:

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.

Administrative Information:

Access Restrictions:

This collection is open for research. Advanced notice is required.

Usage Restrictions:

The donor(s) of this collection have transferred copyrights for their original materials to the Trustees of Indiana University.

The IU South Bend Archives respects the intellectual property rights of others and does not claim copyright for non-university records, materials in the public domain, or materials for which we do not hold a Deed of Gift. Responsibility for the determination of the copyright status of these materials rests with those persons wishing to reuse the materials. Researchers are responsible for securing permission from copyright owners and any other rights holders for any reuse of these materials that extends beyond fair use or other statutory limitations.

Digital reproductions of archival materials from the IU South Bend Archives are made available for noncommercial educational and research purposes only. If you are the copyright holder for any of the digitized material and have questions about its inclusion on our site, please contact the Indiana University South Bend Archivist.

Preferred Citation:

[Item], David James papers of the Civil Rights Heritage Center, Indiana University South Bend Archives.

Processing Information:

Processed by Civil Rights Heritage Center Tours and Collection Coordinator George Garner, January 2014.

  • Updated formatting to new Excel spreadsheet template by CRHC Curator George Garner, October 2015.
  • Updated to reflect new collection naming structure by CRHC Curator George Garner, December 2015.
  • Unique IDs added by CRHC Curator George Garner, January 2017.


Originally, a number of unrelated materials were placed in a folder labeled “Black Lake mater. [material]” Black Lake is a conference/educational center run by the UAW (International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America) in Onaway, Michigan


Parts of issues of The New York Times from July 15, 1998 (found in the “Black Lake mater.” folder), July 19, 1998, International edition from July 12, 1998, July 15, 1998. The articles appear to be about bombings in Ireland that week that claimed the lives of three young boys. Since there appears to be no IU connection, these were discarded.

1. Carol Schaal, "Rockin' and Reelin'," Notre Dame Magazine, Summer 1997, 50. A copy of this article is located in the collection.