The Library of Congress has awarded funding to six higher education and cultural heritage organizations through the Connecting Communities Digital Initiative (CCDI)’s Higher Education Institutions and Libraries, Archives and Museums awards. The 2024 awardees will create projects that offer creative approaches to the Library’s digital collections and center Black, Indigenous, and Hispanic or Latino Studies.
Higher Education Recipients
Angelo State University (San Angelo, Texas)
Project: All History is Local: Celebrating the People of West Texas
The Angelo State University is a public university located in San Angelo, Texas. Their team will receive $69,999.06 for their project.
Angelo State University’s project’s theme centers on the Library of Congress’ observation that “all history is local.” This project will facilitate discovery and promotion of the Library’s digital collections that illuminate the lived experiences of Black and Hispanic or Latino populations, specifically weaving national themes and stories into the West Texas cultural narratives. To accomplish this, the project team of students, staff and faculty will identify sources and write short articles that build connections between national topics and local history using complementary Library of Congress digital artifacts. The team will feature these articles and complementary artifacts in an interactive national map that will take learners through hemispheric and diasporic locales. Drawing on the breadth of the Library’s digital holdings, “All History is Local: Celebrating the People of West Texas” will mine the Library’s collections for sources that speak to the interconnected national hemispheric and local experiences of Black and Hispanic or Latino populations.
Trustees of Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana)
Project: Connecting Collections: Indigenous Identities in Edward Curtis and Joseph Dixon Materials
Indiana University is a public university located in Bloomington, Indiana. Their team will receive $68,154.48 for their project.
Indiana University will work collaboratively with three Indigenous artists that have cultural, geographical, and creative connections to the collections at the Library of Congress and Indiana University. The artists will access and review photographs and wax cylinder recordings gathered by Edward Curtis and Joseph Dixon and held at the Library and Indiana University. The artists will subsequently produce individual artistic creations with these holdings, providing not only a connection to the images and recordings, but an opportunity to prioritize Indigenous perspectives, knowledge, expertise, and creative capital. The artists’ curatorial work will materialize in an online exhibit that shares a narrative about Indigenous temporalities and identities though the use of historical, archival, and contemporary materials, as well as a physical exhibit that incorporates digital elements for expanded didactics and intergenerational learning. “Connecting Collections: Indigenous Identities in Edward Curtis and Joseph Dixon Materials” presents an opportunity to provide unique curricular resources for grades 4-12, those at the university level, and for researchers and scholars. Providing access to new perspectives via the online and physical exhibit will enable these audiences to see these kinds of historical collections, as well as Indigenous histories and futures, in a new context.
University of Houston-Downtown (Houston, Texas)
Project: Discovering Afro-Latino Heritage: A Reflective Story Map Project to Enhance Student Belongingness and Learning
The University of Houston-Downtown is a public university located in Houston, Texas. Their team will receive $69,084.67 for their project.
The University of Houston-Downtown will create a digital, interactive Story Map that illustrates and articulates the origin of Afro-Latinos through the remixing of maps, photos, recordings, narratives, and other forms of digital materials available from the Library of Congress. Utilizing materials from the PALABRA Archive, the Spanish Legal Documents (15th-19th centuries) collection, and the Puerto Rico at the Dawn of the Modern Age collection, as well as other collections, the StoryMap will explore transatlantic slave routes focused on Latin America, the lives of enslaved Africans in the Caribbean, and the migration of Puerto Rican, Cuban and Garífuna Afro-Latinos to the United States. Given that much of the University of Houston-Downtown student population and the surrounding communities are Afro-Latinos, this project will center on histories and practices that many students and members of the community will identify with. This project will also enhance teaching and learning in key target courses by providing the historical context needed by instructors for units in Latin American and Latino Studies literature classes to incorporate Afro-Latino writers and poets.
Libraries, Archives, and Museums Recipients
DC Public Library (Washington, D.C.)
Project: Documenting the Ethiopian Communities of DC
DC Public Library is a public library located in Washington, D.C. Their team will receive $52,329.93 for their project.
As the home to the 2nd largest population of Ethiopian people in the world (after Ethiopia), the District of Columbia has undoubtedly been shaped by its Ethiopian residents, just as it has shaped them. The DC Public Library (DCPL) will collaborate with artist Tsedaye Makonnen to highlight the stories of DC’s Ethiopian residents across generations and identities, and investigate the ways that the local Ethiopian community and the District of Columbia have influenced each other. This project will use Elena Bradunas’ 1980s photographs and recordings of DC’s Ethiopian community, which are part of the Library of Congress’ Ethnic Heritage and Language Schools in America Project collection, to prompt community members to connect to the People’s Archive at DC Public Library, share their own experiences, and generate new conversations about what it means to be Ethiopian in Washington, DC. Starting with Bradunas’ collection, which are based in the era of the second wave of Ethiopian immigration to the United States, this project will stretch back into the early 20th century and forward into the 21st century to explore various facets of the Ethiopian experience in the district. Inspired by the centrality of community gatherings in Ethiopian culture, this project will be marked by three major community convenings and a series of oral history pop-ups, and will culminate in an art installation co-created by Tsedaye Makonnen and community members, in which community-generated materials will be displayed alongside DC Public Library materials and Library of Congress digital materials. This project will foreground Ethiopian culture as an important part of the cultural tapestry of the nation’s capital.
Friends of Tijeras Pueblo (Tijeras, New Mexico)
Project: The Ancestral Tiwa World Connected to the Present: Tijeras Pueblo in Context
The Friends of Tijeras Pueblo is part of the Tijeras Pueblo Archaeological Site (TPAS) museum located in Tijeras, New Mexico. Their team will receive $61,366.50 for their project.
The Friends of Tijeras Pueblo will update and enhance the ability of the Tijeras Pueblo Archaeological Site (TPAS) museum to acquaint visitors with 14th century Tiwa populations of the Central Rio Grande Valley. The digital application of Library collection materials will help cross-reference different aspects of the museum and the site, drawing them together into a more coherent whole. The museum contains an eight square foot mural and map painted by Isleta/Jemez artist Deborah Jojola that depicts the “Tiwa World” in the central Rio Grande Valley in the 14th century. It includes important geographic features, symbols, and vignettes of life in the Valley and adjacent mountain villages. Major trails are indicated and emphasize the connection between the villages. This project will create a digital representation of the mural and augment it with images from LOC collections as well as with oral stories from the artist and Isleta elders. Additionally, the project team will create a digital zine of 19th and early 20th century Isleta photos from the Library alongside present-day photos of Isletans. A goal for this project is to provide a significant resource to Pueblo schools and youth organizations as well as to other public, private and home schools in the greater Albuquerque area. Tijeras Pueblo Archaeological Site is located very near an interstate highway and attracts visitors from outside New Mexico and the United States.
Hoboken Public Library (Hoboken, New Jersey)
Project: The Puerto Rican Experience in Hoboken and America
The Hoboken Public Library is a public library located in Hoboken, New Jersey. Their team will receive $69,449.39 for their project.
The Hoboken Public Library will explore the Puerto Rican experience in America, with Hoboken as a paradigm. Using the Library’s digital collections, as well as materials from the Hoboken Public Library and the Hoboken Historical Museum, this project will produce a visually rich, interactive timeline that illustrates the histories and relationships between the United States and its territory, Puerto Rico, with an emphasis on 1960s emigration from the island to Hoboken. The project team will also produce an Omeka site that expands on the key events and cultural artifacts of Puerto Rican experiences in America and explores the lived experiences of Puerto Rican residents during the second half of the 20th century. To encourage community participation and engagement with the project, the Hoboken Public Library will hold four events celebrating the culture and music of Puerto Rico: using their expanding vinyl collection alongside National Jukebox recordings of Puerto Rican music, these events, which will be held at Hoboken Housing Authority senior centers, will allow for a cross-cultural and intergenerational exchange of ideas.
CCDI is part of the Library’s Of the People: Widening the Path program with support from the Mellon Foundation. This program provides fellowships and grants to individuals and institutions for projects that innovate, imagine, and remix Library materials to highlight the stories and perspectives of Black, Indigenous, Hispanic/Latino, 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.
For more about the Library’s historic Of the People initiative, click here.