1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Subjects

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

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 Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE) Records

 Community activist organization of Providence, R.I.

 Records, 1986-1995

 Size: 34 linear ft.

 Catalog number: MSS 965

 Not processed. Box list by Rick Stattler, October 1995 and Lori Salotto, March 2001

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            DARE was founded in 1986, with the intention of bringing low-income Providence families together for direct action on concrete issues. The membership has been primarily low-income people of color, and mostly based in the neighborhoods of South Providence. Their methods have ranged from political lobbying, to negotiations with municipal agencies, to dramatic public protests. Issues have included health care, delinquent property owners, welfare cutbacks and voter registration, as well as neighborhood improvement programs like parks and murals. Their funding for these activities is mostly generated by membership dues, local businessmen and private foundations.

            Community activist Mark Toney was a founder of DARE in 1986, and was its executive director through 1994, when he was succeeded by DARE veteran Shannah Kurland. Kurland was succeeded by Sara Mersha late in 2000. DARE's offices are at 340 Lockwood St. in Providence.

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Scope and content:

            This collection includes records of most of DARE's campaigns during the first fifteen years of its existence, which document a wide variety of the problems facing the lower income neighborhoods of Providence. They include detailed files on owners of trash-filled vacant lots, on state and federal welfare policy, on an innovative plan to provide assistance with utility bills, and on a wide variety of organizations targeted by DARE for exploitation of the community. In addition, there are some administrative records, including minutes, grant applications, fund-raising and intern records.

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            These records were donated by DARE in 1995, with the understanding that they would be available to the public without restriction. They were accompanied by 6 boxes of papers unrelated to DARE, which are now MSS 966, the Mark Toney papers. Thirteen additional boxes were donated by DARE in 2001.

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Processing note:

            This collection has not yet been processed, but is fairly well organized. A rough box list of its contents is available at the repository.

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Afro-Americans - Rhode Island - Providence

All Southern Providence Union (ASPU)

All Youth 

Almacs, Inc.

Asset Forfeiture Fund

Black Community Crusade for Children

Burger King

Campaign for Community Safety and Police Accountabilty

Child care - Rhode Island

Civil rights - Rhode Island

Community organization - Rhode Island - Providence

Employee rights - Rhode Island

Housing Trust Fund Project

Human Rights Organizing Project

Kurland, Shannah

Medical policy - Citizen participation - Rhode Island - Providence

Minority Activist Apprenticeship Program

Racism - Rhode Island

Police - Complaints against - Rhode Island

Providence, R.I. - Community organization

Providence Community Action

Rhode Island Hospital

Toney, Mark

Women's Institutue for Leadership Development

Youth in Focus

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