The Real Great Society was founded in 1965 by former youth gang members. In 1971, the organization changed its name to CHARAS, an acronym for its founders Chino, Humberto, Angelo, Roy, Anthony and Sal. CHARAS was dedicated to the cultural, political and economic empowerment of disenfranchised people by organizing cultural events and providing low-cost studio space for artists and exhibitions. It pioneered the housing development concept of sweat equity and helped catalyze the artistic and economic revitalization of Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The documents consist of awards, banners, clippings, correspondence, financial records, flyers, minutes, photographs, programs, reports and slides.