Rick Halperin Papers, 1982-2000
- Halperin, Rick
- Death penalty abolitionist who worked with many anti-death penalty organizations, capital defense attorneys, representatives of various communities of faith, newspaper editorial boards, victims' rights groups, members of the families of the condemned, and many death row inmates throughout the country.
- 11.1 cubic ft.
- English and English
- Preferred citation:
- Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Rick Halperin Papers, 1982-2000. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as [shortened name]).
Access and Use
- Conditions Governing Access:
Access to this record group is unrestricted.
The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
- Scope and Content:
This collection contains news clippings, newsletters, campaign materials, letters of plea, flyers and notices of rallies, research materials, organizational reports, and publications on the issue of the death penalty. The death penalty is documented in the U.S. as well as internationally including Europe, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Mexico, Vietnam, and China.
The major part of this collection is composed of news clippings, from 1982 to 2000. Rick Halperin collected news clippings on death penalty topics from diverse national and local newspapers, magazines, and websites, including media in other countries. The content of this news clipping collection is not limited to news reports on specific death sentence cases, but includes various statistical data and general opinions about the death penalty, debates and controversies on execution methods, news reports on rallies pertaining to capital punishment, and human rights issues of prisoners. In addition, interviews with prisoners scheduled to be executed and photographs of victims, criminals, execution facilities, and capital punishment abolitionists are included in this collection.
Another interesting part of this collection is materials from Amnesty International USA (AI USA). As one of the leading organizations to work towards the abolition of the death penalty, this organization has produced and disseminated diverse materials, including mailings, magazines, handbook for AI USA trainers, and research papers on death penalty related topics. For instance, Amnesty International USA's Urgent Action is a letter of notification seeking demonstrative action to abolish execution. This letter provides background information on an upcoming execution case and recommended activities against the execution.
The collection lacks information on Halperin's personal activities as a professor at Southern Methodist University and research papers written by him that would show his opinions on the death penalty. Also, absent are documents that would illuminate Halperin's personal life. However, in this collection, there are several short notes, prepared by Halperin, for briefing of Amnesty International USA and correspondence between him and other death penalty abolitionists. A small number of news clippings contain news reports about Halperin and interviews with him.
- Biographical / Historical:
Rick Halperin is the Director of the Southern Methodist University Human Rights Education Program. Rick holds degrees from George Washington University, Southern Methodist University and Auburn University. He has also studied at The Sorbonne in Paris, France. Rick has held numerous positions of importance in organizations concerned with human rights and social justice. He is a past Chair of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International, USA. He served on the Board of Directors for several organizations, including the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (NCADP), Human Rights Initiative, Capital Punishment Investigation and Education Services, Jefferson-Titus Refugee Foundation, Center for Survivors of Torture and the International Rescue Committee. Rick's awards and recognition include: Amnesty International Frederick Douglass Abolitionist Award; Dallas Peacemaker of the Year; DCTV Freedom of Speech Award; NCADP Grassroots Activism Award; NCADP Lifetime Abolition Achievement Award; SMU Robert O. Cooper Fellowship in Peace and Justice. Rick has been a member of TCADP since 1998.
Since 1972, Rick Halperin has been actively involved in the effort and struggle to abolish the death penalty in the United States. He works with many anti-death penalty organizations, capital defense attorneys, representatives of various communities of faith, newspaper editorial boards, victims' rights groups, members of the families of the condemned, and many death row inmates throughout the country. He is president of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. For more than a decade he has organized monthly anti-death penalty rallies in downtown Dallas. He was elected as a chairperson of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA from 1992 to 1993. Halperin operates the Web site Death Penalty News and Updates. He is also devoted to other areas of human rights and has been working with a variety of organizations that seek improvements in human rights.
In his personal statement on the Journey of Hope Web site, Halperin stated, "My entire life has been spent defending and advocating the idea that there is no such thing as a lesser person, and that all persons, regardless of whatever they have done, still have and remain worthy of their inherent dignity and must not, for any reason, be tortured or be put to death" [Halperin, Rich. "Rick Halperin's Bio". Journey of Hope, 2004. Accessed April 26, 2005]
Halperin still travels widely and speaks and monitors a variety of human rights concerns around the world. Over the past three decades, his uncompromising opposition to capital punishment has catapulted him to the forefront of the worldwide human rights movement.
- Acquisition information:
All items in this manuscript group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by Rick Halperin in February 2001.
- Processing information:
Processed in 2005 May by Sarah Kim (May 2005).
- Social Activists and Public Advocates
Criminal Justice and Prisons
Capital punishment -- Law and legislation -- United States -- History.
Human rights workers.
- Halperin, Rick
Amnesty International USA.
American Civil Liberties Union.
Death Penalty Information Center (U.S.)
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.