October 28, 2021

1619 Project Founder Nikole Hannah-Jones Working With Librarians to Safeguard Community Histories

From the American Library Association:

History is the glue binding communities together. As culture is passed down from generation to generation reinforces our connection to the past, we lay a firm foundation for the future.

During Preservation Week 2021, celebrated April 25– May 1 with the theme “Preserving Community Archives,” the American Library Association (ALA) will promote efforts to conserve community archives.

ALA will join hundreds of libraries, institutions, archives, and museums from across the country to highlight ways in which the public can contribute to promoting and preserving their community’s history. Throughout Preservation Week libraries, institutions, archives, and museums will use the hashtag #preswk to engage with their communities and discuss their preservation programs and services. 

Preservation Week is an opportunity to safeguard community archives like the one commemorating the 1932 Moweaqua Mining Corporation tragedy. The 1932 Moweaqua Mining Corporation tragedy was a defining moment in the social, economic, and emotional stability of this Illinois community. The generational memory of the event and the supporting physical evidence were at risk of disappearing forever with those who experienced it.

Ruth Shasteen, a librarian at the Central Assumption and Moweaqua High School (A&MHS), created an extraordinary partnership to mine Moweaqua’s cultural memory. The project created a website (www.miningmoreinmoweaqua.com/), a permanent exhibit at the public library, and a 4-DVD set including photos, interviews, and a moving 30-minute video of the culminating project celebration with the interviewed, their interviewers, and their families. 

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and New York Times Magazine journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones is the honorary chair of Preservation Week 2021. As the creator of The New York Times’s landmark 1619 Project, Hannah-Jones examines slavery’s modern legacy, reframing the way we understand the history of slavery and the contributions made by Black Americans to this nation. Her essay, “Our Democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true,” was awarded the 2020 Pulitzer Prize.

As Preservation Week 2021 Honorary Chair, Hannah-Jones will appear in Preservation Week artwork and will chronicle preservation efforts through various social media channels. You can also follow her on Twitter with @nhannahjones as she engages in discussions surrounding civil rights and social justice throughout the week.

Hannah-Jones understands the significance of local and community archives collecting and preserving stories that counter dominant historical narratives. By exploring the history of civil rights and racial injustice in America, Nikole Hannah-Jones helps us examine and gain a better understanding of how these issues impact American society. Her work demonstrates the importance of cultivating and maintaining a community space of representation. 

Additional information regarding Preservation Week activities and events is available at www.ala.org/alcts/preservationweek.

Preservation Week is supported by Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures, a division of the American Library Association.

See Also: Preservation Week 2021 Graphics, Videos, etc.

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.

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