May 16, 2022

New Research Resource: “Black Metropolis Research Consortium (BMRC) Archives Portal Brings Together Collections From Institutions Across Chicago”

From the University of Chicago Library:

Discovering the history of Black life in Chicago is vital to community members across the city and researchers around the globe, from families exploring their genealogy, to high schoolers participating in history fairs, to undergraduates writing class papers, and graduate students and faculty doing scholarly research.

A new online gateway to collection guides hosted by the University of Chicago Library will make it easier to discover and use archival collections highlighting Black experiences at institutions across the Chicago area—including papers, photos, correspondence and more documenting the lives of people from Mahalia Jackson to Harold Washington, and organizations from the Chicago Urban League to the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

The BMRC Archives Portal, at, has been developed by the Black Metropolis Research Consortium (BMRC), a Chicago-based membership association of libraries, universities, museums, community/arts organizations, and other archival institutions, with a home at the UChicago Library. The BMRC’s mission is to connect all who seek to document, share, understand, and preserve Black experiences.


“Researchers can use the portal as a tool to find the collections, voices, and stories that are essential to our history, to the stories we’re writing now,” said Marcia Walker-McWilliams, Executive Director of the Black Metropolis Research Consortium. “The Portal can help illustrate and illuminate new connections in the lives and projects documented in the archives. We invite you to explore the broad landscape of the intertwined histories of Black experiences in Chicago and beyond.”


“The University of Chicago Library is invested in collaborations like this one that expand knowledge throughout the community, especially those that value and increase an understanding of diversity and its role in the rich and complex history of our city. It is so important to the University of Chicago Library that we can activate our collections for so many different kinds of audiences—from scholars to community members to K-12 audiences,” said Elisabeth Long, Interim Director and University Librarian. “We also believe the future of libraries is thinking of our collections together with those of others. By collaborating with institutions across the region we are able to build a portal that focuses on what Chicagoans and scholars need, not just on what we own. I am pleased we could also leverage the Library’s technical expertise to help build this portal.”

Learn More, Direct to Complete U. of Chicago Library Announcement

Direct to BMRC Archives Portal

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.