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Grant number like: FT-265433-19

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Laura E. Helton
University of Delaware (Newark, DE 19716-0099)
The Making of African American Archives, 1910-1950

Writing two chapters of a history of African-American archives in the early 20th century.

"Black Archival Publics" charts the making of early-twentieth-century African American archives in order to understand the relationship between historical recuperation, forms of racial imagination, and black social movements. It traces a generation of black bibliophiles, librarians, and scrapbook makers in New York, Chicago, Raleigh, Detroit, and Washington, DC, who created repositories of African diasporic material between 1910 and 1950. At a moment when most scholarly and popular accounts rendered blackness as unlettered and absent from history, these collectors assembled books and manuscripts, organized “Negro collections” in local and university libraries, and made such collections active sites of black public life. In so doing, they did more than simply bequeath to the future a storehouse of research materials. They also activated the urgent declaration of Afro-Puerto Rican bibliophile Arturo Schomburg that “the American Negro must remake his past in order to make the future.”

[Grant products]

Project fields:
African American History; African American Studies; American Literature

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2019 – 7/31/2019