Every day, we celebrate the remarkable contributions of African Americans to the American Story. The National Archives contains millions of records related to the interactions of African Americans with the Federal governmentâfrom the Emancipation Proclamation to the millions of historical records ranging from the Census to military service.
The National Archives grant program, our National Historical Publications & Records Commission, extends the reach of the agency & connects to thousands of collections across the country at state & local governments, colleges and universities, historical societies, & other nonprofit organizations. Over the past 50 years, the NHPRC has awarded grants to projects to document black lives.
Among the earliest records are those dealing with slavery & the fight for freedom. The Frederick Douglass Papers, the Black Abolitionist Papers, the Race & Slavery Petitions project at the Digital Library on American Slavery, Freedmen and Southern Society, & the O.O. Howard (head of the Freedmanâs Bureau & founder of Howard University) projects were all supported with major funding from the NHPRC, & other grants went to the preservation of court & chancery records which deal with landmark events such as the Dred Scott case at the Supreme Court of Missouri & manumission petitions now being digitized by the Maryland State Archives.
Following emancipation, the quest for equal rights is documented in the early 20th century records such as Booker T. Washington Papers and a microfilm edition of the W.E.B. Dubois Papers to the latter decades with the papers of such civil rights leaders as Clarence Mitchell, Ted Berry, the archives of Mary McLeod Bethune & the National Council of Negro Women, & the Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. Archives from the history of Boston Desegregation (some of which are now part of the National Archives DocsTeach site) to the preservation of film interviews from the landmark PBS series âEyes on the Prizeâ are but some of the many collections of interest for students of American civil rights history.
Tomorrow, weâll look at some âhiddenâ gems.