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NAACP Archives Go Digital
The first step in broad, digital access to the archives of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) commences in April when ProQuest and the venerable civil rights organization release the first in a series of modules for libraries and researchers. ProQuest History Vault’s NAACP Papers 1 will provide the first electronic access to files from the group’s Board of Directors and Annual Conferences, as well as text of major speeches and national staff records.
The collection—nearly 2 million pages of internal memos, legal briefings, and direct action summaries from national, legal, and branch offices throughout the country—charts NAACP’s work and delivers a first-hand view into crucial issues: lynching, school desegregation, and discrimination in the military, the criminal justice system, employment, and housing, among others.
Preserved on microfilm, it holds the distinction of being the most heavily used collection in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. Now, it will be fully searchable and accessible electronically and available through academic, research, and public library websites as part of ProQuest History Vault, an initiative to digitize historically rich primary sources, opening their discovery to broader audiences. Their original archival arrangement schemes will be preserved and PDFs of the original documents will replicate the user experience of browsing through archive boxes. These archives complement other ProQuest resources: Historical Black Newspapers, Black Studies Center, and another History Vault module, Black Freedom Struggle.
Digitization of the records is part of a larger partnership to preserve NAACP’s historical archives. ProQuest will be working with individual NAACP offices throughout America to implement best practices for selecting cataloging, storing and handling of original documents.
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