Scope and arrangement
The Piri Thomas Papers document several areas of Thomas' professional activities including his writings and his work with and involvement in social justice organizations from 1957 to 1982. The collection consists primarily of manuscripts for his books, films and plays, in addition to correspondence with and files on a variety of organizations focusing on artistic, social justice and educational issues.|||The series, Personal Papers, 1967-1979 includes writings by and about Thomas, some prepared for publicity purposes, and an interview conducted in 1967 which provides extensive insight into his thinking at the time. The Manuscripts series, 1960s-1981 includes drafts in various stages of Thomas' published and unpublished work. There is associated correspondence, news clippings and reviews for his books, plays, screenplays and miscellaneous writings. The most complete documentation exists for "Down These Mean Streets," consisting of manuscript drafts and post-publication files. Of interest are files related to the banning of this book in the 1970s. There are drafts for his other autobiographies "Savior, Savior, Hold My Hand" and "Seven Long Times" as well as his 1978 book "Stories From El Barrio." Included in the collection are drafts of two unpublished book length manuscripts, "God's Gotta Know I'm Trying" and "In the Temple of the Child-Like Mind." A play script for "The Golden Streets," screenplay for "Petey and Johnny" and two teleplays, "The World of Piri Thomas" and "Repetitions of Indignity" form part of the series. There are also examples of Thomas' short stories, poetry and lyrics.|||The Correspondence series, 1962-1980, includes numerous requests to speak at public schools, colleges, prisons and organizations as well as requests to participate in conferences and other events. The Organizations/Agencies series, 1957-1980 documents Thomas' activism with organizations and government agencies on behalf of Puerto Ricans, youth and prisoners. Printed Material, 1962-1982 contains programs for his plays, films, poetry readings and recitations, and speaking engagements.