Adam Matthew Digital Portal: 'African American Communities'

We are pleased to announce that on October 21, 2015 Adam Matthew Digital will host a FREE webinar for a new digital studies portal, 'African American Communities’.

'African American Communities', available exclusively through online research and academic access, will contribute to a consortium of archives from across North America, purposefully selected by the digital publisher to narrate and chronicle the story of activist-based African American histories and collections from the 1950s through the 1980s.  'African American Communities' will bring together isolated and discrete collections in a comprehensive examination of the civil rights and black arts movements, articulated through the presentation and preservation of the various research collections, and authoritative essays penned by contributing scholars at: the Atlanta History Center; the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago; Washington University, St. Louis; The Newberry Library; and the 5th of July Resource Center for Self-Determination and Freedom at Weeksville Heritage Center. Through personal letters, historic and contemporary photographs, costumes and dress, archaeological artifacts and documents, newsletters, field notes, telegrams, and full digital oral history files, this portal will greatly enhance the availability of our collection to students, teachers, researchers and scholars.  

(Original) Constitution and By-laws of the Abyssinian Benevolent Daughters of Esther Association, printed in 1853 by John Zuille, a prominent African American printer in mid 19th-century Brooklyn, and one of the earliest documents recovered during the Weeksville community archaeological digs. 

(Original) Constitution and By-laws of the Abyssinian Benevolent Daughters of Esther Association, printed in 1853 by John Zuille, a prominent African American printer in mid 19th-century Brooklyn, and one of the earliest documents recovered during the Weeksville community archaeological digs. 

Visitors to the site will inaugurate the virtual transformation of the Historic Hunterfly Road House (and carefully crafted as not to compromise an actual visit to the historic homes) experience.  In addition, this outstanding resource will make the Weeksville archival collection the first authoritative research and scholarly digitized repository of emancipation-based histories.  The portal will host over forty 360 degree object captured profiles, over 200 high-res photographic of artifacts from the archaeological collection, historic maps, over 100 rare document scans, and over 400 photographs—high resolution color images that provide a photographic journal of the early stages of the Society for the Preservation of Weeksville and Bedford-Stuyvesant. Some of the objects captured for the purpose of the portal include: a large iron pot, baby shoes, tiny-type photographs, a rifle, clay pipes, boots and dolls.

‘African American Communities’ will host fully searchable text for all printed materials, and layered indexing and detailed metadata for all object and photographic data. The site will also publish over 1,000 photographic slides from the James G. Hurley Collection: the James G. Hurley Slide Collection contains photographic slides dating from 1967-1981. The slides document a period of rapid change in Bedford Stuyvesant, and cover the years during which older houses were being destroyed to make way for Lyndon B. Johnson's Model Cities Urban Renewal Initiative (an anti-poverty project).  The slides offer a visual chronology of the events and activities that would lead to the establishment of the Weeksville Society and the landmark designation of the Hunterfly Road Houses - and are the only known photographic capture of the changes in the community in that historic moment.

Key themes introduced in the Slide Collection include: rediscovery (aerial photography), black aviation, archaeological excavation, Project Weeksville, community involvement, and activism in urban renewal and planning; the slides will also familiarize researchers with Weeksville’s early stalwarts: Dolores McCullough, Patricia Johnson, William "Dewey" Harley, Barbara Jackson, Wilson A. Williams, Joan Maynard, Jim Hurley, William Carey, Rex Curry, and Marcia Goldman.

In this image: (from left to right) Joan Maynard, Marcia Goldman, Rex Curry, Unidentified man, and William Carey, taking a rest from leading a restoration tour of the Hunterfly Road Houses. James G. Hurley Slide Collection, 5th of July Resource Center for Self-Determination & Freedom, Weeksville Heritage Center. 

In this image: (from left to right) Joan Maynard, Marcia Goldman, Rex Curry, Unidentified man, and William Carey, taking a rest from leading a restoration tour of the Hunterfly Road Houses. James G. Hurley Slide Collection, 5th of July Resource Center for Self-Determination & Freedom, Weeksville Heritage Center. 

As shared by Robert Thompson to the author:

Rex Curry (image: left) was the Assistant Director of the Pratt Center for Community and Environmental Design.  Curry was instrumental in advising Weeksville on the houses (their stabilization), and was involved in the selection process of professional partners responsible for the restoration of the wooden-framed houses, including a long-lasting institutional relationship with Architect William Carey (image: right).  The Pratt Center played an instrumental role in the creation of Bed-Stuyvesant Restoration; Senator Robert F. Kennedy formed BedStuy Restoration after a historic visit to the neighborhood in 1966, led by Elsie Richardson, an early friend of Project Weeksville. 

For more information, and to sign up for the FREE webinar, please visit this link.

 

Written by Megan Goins-Diouf, Manager and Reference Archivist

With special thanks to James P. Hurley, Robert Thompson and Julia Keiser for their editorial support; and former Project Archivist Joyce L. Joseph for her archival expertise.

 

About Adam Matthew Digital

Adam Matthew Digital, an independent subsidiary within the SAGE Group, is the leading publisher of digital resources for libraries in the UK, North America, and China.