Collection CHC5175 - Fort Chaffee Collection

Identity elements

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Name and location of repository

Level of description



Fort Chaffee Collection


  • n.d., 1980-1995 (Creation)
  • 1980-1981 (Creation)


2 Boxes

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

The Fort Chaffee Collection brings together two donations of materials relating to Cubans who arrived in the U.S. during the 1980 Mariel Boatlift and were detained at refugee camps at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas.

Barbara Lawson was director of the Cuban-Haitian Task Force from 1980 to 1981, and she donated reports, memoranda, artwork by Cuban refugees, and recordings of news interviews she gave during her tenure with the Task Force.

Gastón A. Fernández donated the research materials he collected and used for his book The Mariel Exodus Twenty Years Later: A Study on the Politics of Stigma and a Research Bibliography (Miami: Ediciones Universal, 2002).  These materials consists primarily of photocopies of reports and interagency correspondence of the various U.S. government agencies responsible for the processing and settlement of Mariel refugees and for administering Fort Chaffee and other camps.  In the Fernández donation are also photographs by the U.S. Army and snapshots of refugee activities at Fort Chaffee.  The photocopied documents seem to have been obtained by Fernández primarily from the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, although they are not clearly identified as such.

Issues of La Vida Nueva, a newsletter published by the Cuban refugees detained at Fort Chaffee with the support of the 1st Psychologica Operations Battalion of the U.S. Army; and of Crossroads, a newspaper published for Fort Chaffee personnel included in these donations were transferred to the CHC Exile Journals collection.

System of arrangement

Materials are arranged by donor.

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

This collection is open for research.

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

Requests to publish or display materials from this collection require written permission from the rights owner.  Please, contact for more information.

Most of the materials in this collection donated by Gastón A. Fernández are photocopies of originals owned by other repositories and as such are available for research purposes only.  U.S. Army photographs cannot be published without the permission of a U.S. Army Information Officer.

Languages of the material

  • English
  • Spanish

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Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

Immediate source of acquisition

Gift of Gastón A. Fernández (CHC06-026) and Barbara Lawson (CHC07-014), 2006.

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Related materials elements

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Related archival materials

Gift of Barbara Lawson: 11 issues of La Vida Nuevaand brochure titled Refugiados Cubanos: Last Step to Freedom

Gift of Gastón A. Fernández: 47 issues of La Vida Nueva; one issue of Campo Libertad Periodico(Elgin AFB), 1980; and 11 issues of Crossroads

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