Digital Trends: KweliTV is a streaming service that puts Black stories first. “The streaming service is home to over 400 indie films and television shows, with over 35,000 registered users and growing. But it’s more than just a ‘Black Netflix.’ Rather than try to compete with larger services that boast millions in revenue and funding, KweliTV wants to thrive in the gap, by being deliberate about the content it hosts. Spencer considers KweliTV’s list carefully curated, and maintains that the service is purposeful about only hosting movies that don’t just feature Black characters, but also feature Black directors, writers, and producers.” I don’t often cover pay services, but this site a) has a free tier, b) has a day pass for $2.99, and c) even at full price is all of $5.99 a month. If you’re a college student you can get the service for $3.99 a month.
Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources: New tool to preserve historic resources from the African American Civil Rights journey in Nevada. “Whether it is the site of the 1910 Johnson-Jeffries fight in Reno that established Nevada as a live-entertainment destination, or the Harrison House in Las Vegas where African-American performers stayed in the era of segregation, the State of Nevada is home to many iconic buildings and landmarks that have helped shape the story of the Civil Rights Movement in the Silver State. Beyond the most well-known locations, there are many that are yet to be discovered. Commissioned in 2019 and funded by the National Park Service, ‘The African American Civil Rights Experience in Nevada, 1900-1979’ cultural resource guide is now available to help identify significant historic events and locations throughout Nevada that played an integral role in the African American pursuit of civil rights.”
Digital Library of Georgia; Decades of episodes of Augusta, Georgia’s pioneering African American gospel television program Parade of Quartets now available freely online. “Parade of Quartets, broadcast on WJBF-TV in Augusta, Georgia since 1954, is a rare example of a sustained African American media presence on a southern television affiliate. Hundreds of well-known Black gospel musicians such as Shirley Caesar, Dottie Peoples, the Mighty Clouds of Joy, the Dixie Hummingbirds, and the Swanee Quintet have appeared on the program. In the last few decades, the program’s content has expanded to include local and national African American political leaders’ appearances. Some of them appear in the digitized materials, which cover the period from 1980 to 2011.”
Emory University: Emory acquires archive of Black Panther Party activist Kathleen Cleaver. “Emory University has acquired the personal papers of Black Panther Party member, activist, and retired Emory Law faculty member Kathleen Cleaver. The papers, which will reside at Emory’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, span Cleaver’s career and life as an activist, particularly as a member of the Black Panther Party (BPP), and include personal and professional correspondence, books and photographs, as well as audiovisual and born-digital material.”
Cal State Channel Islands: Prominent Black actors to participate in an online read-a-thon produced by CSUCI Performing Arts faculty. “African American actors Phylicia Rashad, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Roy Wood Jr., are among 34 renowned Black actors from stage and screen who will join in an online weekly reading marathon of W.E.B. Du Bois’ ‘Black Reconstruction In America’ beginning on Friday, Aug. 28. ‘The ReadIn Series’ is produced by CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI) Performing Arts/Dance Lecturer MiRi Park with assistance from Associate Professor of Performing Arts/Dance Heather Castillo.”
I found out about this new site via a virtual event announcement. Apparently it opens in two days: the Black Craftspeople Digital Archive. From the front page: “The Black Craftspeople Digital Archive seeks to enhance what we know about black craftspeople by telling both a spatial story and a historically informed story that highlights the lives of black craftspeople and the objects they produced. The first phase of this project focuses on black craftspeople living and laboring in the eighteenth-century South Carolina Lowcountry.”
Barry & District News: Unique piece of Wales’ Black history goes online. “An extremely rare piece of Wales’ Black history has been published online for the first time. Published on the city’s Bute Street in 1862, William Hall’s ‘Personal Narrative’ is a shocking and graphic account of his birth into slavery in Tennessee, and his arduous journey to Cardiff. Hall describes being sold to various plantation owners, detailing multiple attempts to escape his captors, as well as his encounters with other escaped slaves.”
Crack Magazine: This collection of articles, books and podcasts traces the Black origins of music. “Organised chronologically, The Black Music History Library is an in-depth collection of reading material, documentaries, series, podcasts and more. The library traces the Black origins of music from the 18th century up until the present day, and makes note of key historians, musicologists and journalists too.”
Salem Reporter: First executive director will guide deeper research, online museum for Oregon Black Pioneers. “For more than 20 years, a small group of volunteers has worked to find historical records of Black Oregonians scattered across the state. They’ve documented hundreds of lawyers, distance runners, miners and foresters in nearly every county in the state. But those records are mostly confined to filing cabinets in the Oregon Black Pioneers’ Salem office. ‘Right now, the only way to know anything about them is to reach out to us,’ said Zachary Stocks, the group’s executive director. Stocks is working to change that.”
University of Washington: UW Libraries publishes new online research guides on racial justice, African American experience in Pacific Northwest. “The African American Research & Archival Collections in the Pacific Northwest Collections guide was compiled and released in June. This guide highlights archival and printed materials, photographs and moving image collections available in UW Special Collections that relate to Black communities, political groups and civil rights movements in the Pacific Northwest. UW Libraries also has created a tab titled ‘Racial Justice Resources: Keeping Current.’ The guide is a starting point for students and faculty ‘seeking to better understand issues related to racial justice and racism in America.'” Yes, some of the content is university access only, but the Keeping Current page is stuffed with resources. STUFFED.
From July 14, just found it this morning. Digital Public Library of America: DPLA announces new partnerships with five libraries and archives to build national digital Black women’s suffrage collection. “Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) today announced a set of partnerships with the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library; Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture in Charleston, South Carolina; Tuskegee University; the Amistad Research Center at Tulane University; and Southern California Library to collaborate on the creation of a national digital collection that highlights the roles and experiences of Black women in the women’s suffrage movement, as well as Black women’s history of activism, as part of the centennial celebration of the passage of the 19th Amendment.”
State Archives of North Carolina: New Additions to the African American Education Digital Collection, part 3. “The Digital Services Section of the State Archives of North Carolina is pleased to announce new additions to the African American Education digital collection. Since 2016, we have been digitizing a large selection of items related to the Division of Negro Education from the Department of Public Instruction record group. These items were selected to highlight the efforts of several individuals to improve the lives of African Americans through education after the eradication of American slavery. Furthermore, they illustrate how difficult it was to fight for equal education within a segregated school system.”
Mental Floss: Explore Marian Anderson’s Handwritten Letters, Private Recordings, and More in a Newly Digitized Collection. “More than 2500 items of archival material, including letters, diaries, journals, interviews, scrapbooks, performance programs, and private recordings, are available to view online through a research portal called ‘Discovering Marian Anderson.’ Many of the manuscripts were donated by Anderson, who was born and raised in Philadelphia, before she died at age 96 in 1993.”
Harvard Magazine: Bringing Black History to Light. “Amid the pandemic, Houghton’s regular digitization projects have been put mostly on hold, and when protests arose after George Floyd’s killing, it sparked a nationwide hunger to understand black history and experiences. Libraries and institutions seemed suddenly keen to support African-American communities. ‘It felt like a great opportunity to increase black representation in our digital collections,’ says [Dorothy] Berry, whose professional background is in African-American-focused archival work. She put together project titled, ‘Slavery, Abolition, Emancipation, and Freedom: Primary Sources from Houghton Library.’ Leading a team of colleagues, she will spend the 2020-21 academic year building out the library’s digital collection of records related to African-American history: thousands of items from the late eighteenth century through the early twentieth.”
New York Times: Ola Mae Spinks, Who Helped Preserve a Slave Archive, Dies at 106. “Ola Mae Spinks, a librarian and descendant of slaves who went to the Library of Congress in 1972 to bring order to a vast but scattered archive of interviews with former slaves, thus helping to preserve them for scholars, died on June 16 at her home in Southfield, Mich. She was 106.”