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Kane, Michael : Papers, 1971-1981


10 cartons, 1/2 file box


The papers of Michael Kane were donated to the University of Massachusetts/Boston Archives in March and July 1986 by Michael Kane.


Michael Kane graduated from Yale in 1970 with a B.A. in Political Science. After a year of graduate study at Yale, MK became director of the New Haven Office of the Connecticut Citizen Action Group from August 1971 through June 1972. He then founded and became the director of the New Haven Citizens' Action Project. In June 1973, MK left New Haven for a five month stint as the summer program director of the Eastern Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group. Between December 1973 and November 1974, he was the vice chair, and then executive director, of the Massachusetts Air Pollution and Noise Abatement Committee. MK began three years as the administrator of the South End Area Project Committee in July 1974, and then was elected as a SEPAC board member at large (1977-79). He became executive director of the Massachusetts Social and Economic Opportunity Council in 1977 or 1978, of Low Income Planning Aid in 1979, and of the Massachusetts Community Action Program in 1980. After 1981, MK worked with the Boston Affordable Housing Coalition.


The New Haven Office of the Citizen Action Group was a Ralph Nader- affiliated statewide citizen action group. In 1971-72, NHOCCAG organized local projects on such issues as occupational health and safety, urban renewal, and tidal marsh pollution, and ran food price surveys.

MK founded the New Haven Citizens' Action Project in June 1972. NHCAP was an independent, locally-based direct action citizens' group that focused on community and labor issues. From its founding through June 1973, NHCAP organized successful campaigns directed at the lack of bus service and high food prices. With the New Haven Central Labor Council, it sponsored an Occupational Health Project that provided assistance to workers and monitored state enforcement of occupational health laws.

The Eastern Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (now part of MassPIRG) was a student-funded organization based on several college campuses in Massachusetts. In the summer of 1973, MassPIRG East prepared reports on food prices in Boston and Worcester, noise pollution at Logan, cable television, health care, housing, and rent control.

The Massachusetts Air Pollution and Noise Abatement Committee was a coalition of 25 community and neighborhood groups in eastern Massachusetts that dealt with airport noise, air pollution, and other problems generated by the Massachusetts Port Authority. MAPNAC researched the effects of pollution, worked on gubernatorial and other political campaigns, and lobbied lawmakers. They tried to stop runway expansion, helped publicize the activities of Edward King (MassPort's executive director), and initiated the development of a master plan for airport policy at Logan.

The Massachusetts Social and Economic Opportunity Council (SEOC) was a federally funded independent council of state government created by executive order in 1975 to advocate within state government on behalf of the poor. SEOC's original name was the State Economic Opportunity Office and was in the Department of Community Affairs. Later, the nine member council was connected to the Executive Office of Communities and Development. With Low Income Planning Aid, SEOC organized the Coalition for Basic Human Needs. It also helped form the Citizens Housing and Planning Association, and began publishing the Beacon Hill Update, a newsletter summarizing legislation and other state house activities. In 1979, Governor Edward King abolished the government watch dog. LIPA assumed some of SEOC's work, and SEOC's director, Michael Kane, became the LIPA director. The BHU became an independent newsletter.

Low Income Planning Aid, which began in 1973, was a federally funded organization that provided technical assistance and services to local community groups throughout the state. The board of directors was comprised of representatives from 25 groups and agencies, many of them community action agencies. In 1976 LIPA had three staff members in Boston and one each in Worchester, Western Massachusetts, and the North Shore. LIPA held conferences, published pamphlets and newsletters, and provided speakers as part of its advocacy for and with poor people in Massachusetts on such issues as taxes, welfare, housing, and heat. With the Massachusetts Social and Economic Opportunity Council (SEOC), LIPA organized the Coalition for Basic Human Needs. In 1979, when Governor King abolished SEOC, LIPA assumed some of SEOC's work and changed its name in mid-1980 to Massachusetts Community Action. MCA was defunded early in 1981 when the federal Community Services Administration's (its funder) budget was severely cut.

Scope and Content

The Michael Kane papers consist of records from all of the above- mentioned organizations for which MK worked from 1971 through 1981, except SEPAC. The SEPAC records are housed at the UMass/Boston Archives as Collection 60. The papers currently fall into five series:

  • II. MassPIRG East
  • IV. Massachusetts SEOC
  • V. LIPA

SERIES I: New Haven Office of the Connecticut Citizen Action Group, cartons 1-2, consists of records from the two organizations. The records date from 1971-73 and include newsletters, grant proposals, correspondence, clippings, and notebooks regarding fundraising, legislation, research, and the Connecticut Occupational Health Project.

SERIES II: Eastern Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, carton 3, consists of files that include research material, drafts of reports, and some correspondence that MassPIRG East collected and created during the summer of 1973 regarding state legislation, health care, noise, food prices, and other issues. Some material dates from 1972.

SERIES III: Massachusetts Air Pollution and Noise Abatement Committee, carton 4, contains articles, clippings, reports, mailing lists, flyers, and an agenda pertaining to MAPNAC activities and concerns. Although the files date from 1970 through 1978, most probably stem from MAPNAC's work in 1974.

SERIES IV: Massachusetts Social and Economic Opportunity Council, cartons 5-8, includes SEOC and some State Economic Opportunity Office records, which consist of financial and personnel files, reports, clippings, and information the Council collected in the course of its monitoring work, 1975-79, and finishing its projects, 1980. There are also some Beacon Hill Updates, 1978-81, and some national newsletters from 1981. Some records document the Coalition for Basic Human Needs, and the Citizens Housing and Planning Association. Given their cooperative work and later semi-merger, some folders containing LIPA material may have been files SEOC kept, or may belong in Series V.

SERIES V: Low Income Planning Aid, cartons 9-10 and 1/2 file box 11, consists of LIPA records, including correspondence, pamphlets, proposals, publications, work programs, and research files dating from 1975 through 1981. There are some Massachusetts Community Action records, and others that pertain to SEOC, Coalition for Basic Human Needs, community action programs, and other organizations. In addition to documenting LIPA's work, primarily after 1977, the records provide information about LIPA and SEOC's collaborations and eventual friendly merger.