The Library of Congress is thrilled to share that five awardees have been selected for the latest Connecting Communities Digital Initiative (CCDI) awards for Higher Education Institutions and Libraries, Archives and Museums. The 2023 awardees will create projects that offer creative approaches to the Library’s digital collections and center Black, Indigenous, and Latinx Studies.
Higher Education Awardees
Houston Community College System (Houston, Texas)
Project: “The Prisoner Experience in the South, 1866-1940”
Houston Community College System (HCCS) is a public community college located in Houston, Texas. Their team will receive $47,523.02 for their project.
The HCCS team will begin working on their project, “The Prisoner Experience in the South, 1866-1940” this month. The project will explore the connections between enslavement, convict labor and leasing, and contemporary mass incarceration. Grounded in the 2018 uncovering of Sugar Land 95, a convict labor camp and grave site in a Houston suburb, faculty and students, with support from Houston residents, will produce a website and exhibition, featuring research papers, podcasts and short films made by students in a range of courses. They will also collaboratively produce a Story Map. From the Library’s digital collections, they will remix and reuse photographs, audio recordings, and government documents, along with materials from Houston libraries and archives. This work also directly links to the College’s African American Studies course.
The University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Project: “Remember the South Broadway—Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Oldest African American Community”
The University of New Mexico (UNM) is a public 4-year university located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Their team will receive $49,977.85 for their project.
The project will produce a substantial digital zine to document and amplify Albuquerque’s earliest African American neighborhood. Dr. Natasha Howard, UNM faculty, will combine an extensive oral history collection and local and community archives (created by South Broadway residents) with a range of Library digital materials (maps, photographs and rare books) to create the digital zine, which will be used for UNM courses, K-12 classes and shared with the larger public in New Mexico. It will also serve as a replicable model for other educators throughout the U.S. and beyond interested in the power and creativity of digital zines to enliven history.
Libraries, Archives, and Museums Awardees
Boone County Public Library (Burlington, Kentucky)
Project: “African Americans of the Kentucky Borderlands: Utilizing Library of Congress Collections”
Boone County Public Library (BCPL) is a public library located in Burlington, Kentucky. Their team will receive $12,000 for their project.
The BCPL’s project will reuse the Library’s digital collections on enslavement and freedom-seeking in Kentucky to expand its African Americans of the Kentucky Borderlands database. Part of their African Americans of Boone County Initiative, library staff, including a digital intern, will identify relevant materials in the Library’s digital collections, create metadata and upload that data to a new landing page on the African Americans in Kentucky database, making this information easily available to students, educators and researchers. BCPL will also produce a virtual exhibit.
Guild Hall of East Hampton (East Hampton, New York)
Project: “Guild Hall Community Artist-in-Residence, First Literature Project”
The Guild Hall of East Hampton is a museum, performing arts, and education center located in East Hampton, New York. Their team will receive $50,000 for their project.
How can the Shinnecock language, which has not been spoken for 100 years, be resurrected? Guild Hall, based in in East Hampton, New York, in collaboration with its Community Artists-in-Residence, Wunetu Wequai Tarrant and Christian Scheider, and the nonprofit organization, The Padoquohan Medicine Lodge, proposes to do so by supporting the efforts of the First Literature Project. Co-founded by Tarrant and Scheider, the First Literature Project aims to support the preservation of Indigenous stories, culture, and language by utilizing immersive 3D, VR, and holographic technology to create two immersive orations to be exhibited at Guild Hall in spring 2024. Additionally, another component of this project will include a compilation of all materials utilized to help with Shinnecock language research to create a centralized database that will help with future research, as well as a video archive for the Padoquohan Medicine Lodge to document the interviews with Shinnecock Tribal members. Guild Hall has received funding from the Library of Congress to support the formation and work of Ayím Kutoowonk (She Speaks), a community-based language revitalization group. Under the leadership of Tarrant, Ayím Kutoowonk, a group of four Indigenous, Shinnecock women, will assist with Shinnecock language research by utilizing historical texts, including The Library’s collection of digitized books from the 17th through the 20th centuries.
Historical Society of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Project: “Resurrecting Voices: The Philadelphia Black Experience”
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) is a museum, performing arts, and education center located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Their team will receive $44,250.36 for their project.
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania will venture into a new digital platform, the podcast, by planning and piloting an oral history podcast, Resurrecting Voices: The Philadelphia Black Experience that will explore Black history in Philadelphia in the 19th and 20th centuries. In its pilot, the podcast will air five episodes in the fall 2023 and into spring 2024.
The team will inaugurate its new podcast platform with Resurrecting Voices: The Philadelphia Black Experience. For HSP, podcasting is a digital oral history platform that extends their long oral history work. HSP will combine new interviews of Philadelphians and its centuries-old collections in African American History with the Library’s digital exhibitions, photographs, Sanborn maps and Chronicling America newspaper database to produce five content-rich podcasts.
CCDI is part of the Library’s Of the People: Widening the Path program with support from the Mellon Foundation. This four-year program provides financial and technical support to individuals, institutions and organizations to create imaginative projects using the Library’s digital collections and centering one or more of the following groups: Black, Indigenous, Hispanic/Latinx, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and other communities of color from any of the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and its territories and commonwealths (Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands). Learn more about CCDI here.