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Name of Creator:Gopen, Martin Neal.
Title:Martin Neal Gopen papers
Date:1933–1994 (bulk 1969–1989)
Reference Code:M133
Location Code:37/3, 57/1
Extent:13.85 cubic ft. (16 boxes)
Scope and Content Note:The Martin Neal Gopen papers document his professional and volunteer social justice work as an advocate for fair housing, equal employment opportunity, and minority rights. Much of the material relates to organizations Gopen was involved with, including the Massachusetts Port Authority, United South End Settlements, Tent City, the New Urban League, and the South End Project Area Committee. The collection also contains material related to his work in the Mel King for Mayor campaign and his advocacy on the part of Louis S. Martien, III, a 27–year–old South End resident accused of two counts of murder and arson. Issues of affirmative action and equal employment opportunity are documented at the local and national level. Affirmative action in the construction industry is particularly well–represented, including specific construction projects and general affirmative action efforts in the Boston area. The collection also documents Gopen's personal life and education, including correspondence between Gopen and local and national government officials, coursework and notes from his undergraduate career at Boston University, awards received, and photographs of his personal life and military service. Gopen's writings, primarily his weekly Job Scene column for the Bay State Banner, are collected in Series 1, but copies of Job Scene columns also appear throughout Series 2 in conjunction with other materials relating to the specific issues Gopen addressed. Records include photographs, minutes of various boards, informational publications on urban and employment issues, and personal and professional correspondence. Items of special interest include a copy of a letter sent by the KKK to Mel King, threatening him because of his social justice work, a letter from Michael Dukakis thanking Gopen for supplying him with literature on the state's minority hiring policy, correspondence from Norman Mailer, and a study of private development trends in the South End from 1969–1974 by the Ad Hoc South End Committee (Box 2, Folder 49).
Biographical Note:Martin Neal Gopen was born August 13, 1934 and died on June 18, 2006, spending the majority of his life in the South End of Boston, MA. During that time he worked as a political activist and advocate for underserved communities. He attended Northeastern University (1950–1952), but earned his undergraduate (1955–1960) and graduate (1960–1961) degrees from Boston University. He served in the US Army from 1951–1953 when he was honorably discharged. He was involved in numerous social justice organization boards that served minorities and women, including the Tent City Corporation and the Institute of Affirmative Action. He also worked with South End community organizations, including United South End Settlements; Urban League; as campaign manager for Mel King; and with the Boston Fair Housing Commission, the Boston Housing Authority, and the Massachusetts Port Authority. He was awarded the 1988 Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Award at the 3rd annual Rainbow Leadership banquet, the 1990 Saco–Vanzetti Award from the Community Church of Boston, and the 1991 Action for Boston Community Development South End Neighborhood Service Center (South End Neighborhood Action Program) Award.
Language and Scripts:The material is entirely in English.
System of Arrangement:Organized alphabetically into two series: 1. Personal, and 2. Professional
Subjects and Contributors:
  • Gopen, Martin Neal
  • King, Mel


  • Affirmative action programs –– Massachusetts
  • Discrimination in employment
  • Discrimination in housing
  • Gentrification
  • Minorities –– Civil rights
  • Minorities –– Employment
  • Social justice
  • South End (Boston, Mass.)

Conditions Governing Access:Case files located in box 16 are restricted.
Immediate Source of Acquisition:The collection was donated to the Archives by Janice Gopen Weiss and Family on July 31, 2006.
Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use:To the extent that she owns the copyright, the donor has assigned the copyright to these materials to the Archives; however, copyright in some items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. Consult the Archivist for details.
Processor:Finding aid prepared by Elizabeth Marshak, August 2007, and Dominique Medal, September 2014