January 19, 2022

Report: “Black Gospel Greatness is Being Saved in a Baylor University Archive”

From Texas Standard:

As a journalist, Robert Darden had worked at Billboard magazine, writing a column on gospel music for eight years; he knows many of the country’s leading gospel record collectors. Together, they estimated that about 75 percent of all gospel recordings were currently unavailable.

So in 2005, Darden’s fears about old gospel music records disappearing led him to dash off a warning. He sent an unsolicited op-ed column to The New York Times — which typically receives around 800 such submissions a week. So he was surprised when the newspaper actually printed his call to action: “Gospel’s Got The Blues.”

“And the next morning,” Darden said, “I got a call from a gentleman named Charles M. Royce, who said, ‘I don’t know anything about gospel music, but I believe what you said. So you figure out how to save it, and I’ll pay for it.’ “

Royce is an investment manager and a freelance philanthropist, giving money to projects he finds worthy. To create and store digital copies, Darden worked with Baylor librarians to devise a budget of $350,000 to build and staff a professional studio and archive. And so the Project found a home in the Moody Memorial Library on campus. After Royce’s donation ran out, Baylor has picked up the tab. The Restoration Project now has some 14,000 items digitized. Copies of the items are shared with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in D.C.

Learn More, View Images, Listen to Audio in the Complete Article (approx. 1300 words)

Direct to Black Gospel Music Restoration Project (via Baylor University Libraries)

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.