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Our Special Collections department contributes research work and support that results in course curricula, manuscripts and books, articles, films, and much more.
In October 2019, Canadian podcaster Adam Huggins traveled to Tucson to do some research at Special Collections. He was producing a four-part podcast series about Jim Corbett, one of the leaders of the Sanctuary Movement of the 1980s.
Trent and Amanda put a lot of work and time─about 18 months─into digitizing materials from Davidson’s interviews with Corbett, John Fife, Lupe Castillo and others to make them publicly accessible.
One segment, Goatwalker: Sanctuary (Part 2), highlights how Corbett, a philosopher-turned-rancher, led a national movement to enact U.S. immigration law at the grassroots level.
Trent and Amanda have been invited to the Oral History Society virtual conference 2021 in July to talk about this project and how recordings are used by multiple media producers and journalists. The Oral History Society is based in the United Kingdom.
In case you're wondering, Jim Corbett wrote a book in 1991 titled, Goatwalking.
Jim Corbett headshot by Sterling Vinson: Jim Corbett Collection, courtesy of University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collections
Chicago Tribune Magazine cover: Miriam Davidson Papers, courtesy of University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collections
By Adam Huggins
In the early 1980s, the outbreak of civil war across Central America forced unprecedented numbers of refugees to seek asylum in the United States, putting the recently passed 'Refugee Act' of 1980 to the test. There was just one catch: the Reagan Administration was providing funding to right-wing governments that most of these refugees were fleeing. As a result, Central American refugees making the dangerous journey to the U.S.-Mexico borderlands were being intercepted, denied asylum, and summarily deported.
As this crisis unfolded, a ragtag group of self-proclaimed 'goatherds errant', led by philosopher-turned-rancher Jim Corbett, took it upon themselves to enact U.S. immigration law at the grassroots level. In so doing, they sparked a national movement that continues to the present day, turning the concept of 'civil disobedience' upside-down.