Library Looking to Make Hidden DC African-American Collections Visible

Unsure of what to do with the boxes of old photos, papers, letters, scrapbooks, and other memorabilia that you or your organization have? Contact the DC Public Library. The items may help future generations learn about African Americans in D.C.
 
The DC Public Library is part of a $496,000 grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources to establish the D.C Africana Archives Project. The grant aims to document African American and African culture, history and politics in D.C. through photographs, documents, audio recordings and films held by people and organizations throughout the city.
 
“Understanding the history of African-Americans is critical to understanding D.C.,” said Kim Zablud, special collections manager at the DC Public Library. “Collecting and cataloging records from the city’s African-American churches, organizations and families in one place helps us ensure that researchers have a more complete story about the District.”
 
Researchers call records like the ones the Library is seeking “hidden history.” They are extremely valuable for research and teaching but are virtually unknown and unused. The D.C. Africana Archives Project will organize, describe and catalog the items, and create a database that people can use for research.
 
The DC Public Library is working with The George Washington University - the lead grant recipient - as well as the District of Columbia Archives, Howard University's Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. and the National Museum of American History's Archives Center.  
 
To learn more about the project, please contact Derek Gray, Community Archivist, at derek.gray2@dc.gov or 202-727-2272.