January 22, 2022

Library of Congress and Smithsonian Launch Civil Rights History Project Website

From LC:

The American Folklife Center (AFC) at the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) have launched The Civil Rights History Project at www.loc.gov/folklife/civilrights/. The portal presents the results of a nationwide inventory of oral-history interviews with participants in the civil rights movement. The research, which was initiated and completed in 2010, identified several hundred collections held in libraries, museums, archives, universities, historical societies, and other institutions across the nation. The database and search tool, developed by Library of Congress catalogers and web designers, will enable researchers to efficiently query the survey results and locate collections in repositories around the country.

“I am pleased that the results of the survey can now be shared with everyone who is interested in the accounts of those who took part in the civil rights movement,” said Deanna Marcum, associate librarian for Library Services at the Library of Congress. “We can also acknowledge the crucial work that libraries, archives, museums and other institutions around the country have done to record and preserve those accounts.”

“I am so moved, both professionally and personally, to have the opportunity to make sure the civil rights movement is remembered just the way it should be – in the words of the people who lived it,” said Lonnie G. Bunch, III, founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The survey results represent the successful completion of the first phase of the Civil Rights History Project. The second phase of the project, directed by the NMAAHC, consists of new interviews with participants, focusing on their experiences that have not previously been recorded. In addition, project researchers will collect objects such as original photographs, home movies, event flyers, diaries, training-session notes, minutes from planning meetings, and even shoes and clothing worn during historic marches, mass rallies and freedom rides. Once processed and catalogued, the new materials will be made accessible to researchers at the Library, NMAAHC and online through the project website.

The Civil Rights History Project was created by an act of Congress in 2009, sponsored in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), and signed into law by President Barack Obama (Public Law 111-19).

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.