Oct. 20, 2017
During ceremonies commemorating Carolina’s 224th birthday on Oct. 12, Chancellor Carol L. Folt announced a new round of named scholarships to honor people whose work, advocacy and personal example helped forge a more inclusive, unified...Read More
Oct. 12, 2017
Five alumni were honored with the University’s Distinguished Alumna/Alumnus Awards as UNC marked its 224th birthday on Thursday. University Day, the anniversary of the 1793 laying of the cornerstone of Old East, also featured an...Read More
The Southern Historical Collection in Wilson Library will use a $500,000 challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to help establish a permanent African-American Collections and Outreach archivist.
The new position will lead an effort to collect untold stories of African-American communities, something the Southern Historical Collection views as critical to improving historical research and understanding. The library has begun working to raise $1.5 million required to meet the grant challenge.
“To have a conversation about race, you must first have an honest dialogue about history,” said Bryan Giemza ’99 (JD), director of the Southern Historical Collection. “That requires access to a complete documentary record, reflecting a full range of perspectives and experiences.” (After receiving his law degree from UNC, Giemza also earned a master’s degree from Carolina in 2001 and his doctorate in 2004.)
In addition to acquiring significant materials for the Southern Historical Collection, the archivist will partner with African-American communities in the South to help them tell their stories by identifying and preserving documents, recordings, photographs and memorabilia.
Carolina archivist Chaitra Powell believes this emerging model of “community-driven archives” already has proven fruitful.
“My work with communities is about helping them curate their own history in a way that is responsive and respectful,” she said.
Powell and the Southern Historical Collection already have realized successes through a partnership with the Historic Black Towns and Settlements Alliance; relationships with the African-American communities of the Triangle; and a collaboration with sociologist Karida Brown and the historically black coal mining town of Lynch, Ky., which is building a community archive.
“Thanks to the NEH and private supporters, we will be able to sustain this work far into the future,” Giemza said.