The Archival Gap: Missing Black Histories – Thu January 29, 2015

There seem to be a range of perceptions about why Black history is underrepresented in the archives.  Some researchers hold that the archives are at the mercy of the populations they represent and that gaps in the archive happened in the past because those populations didn’t always provide their papers for collection and preservation.  These researchers hold that some groups in the past didn’t save their papers, others didn’t record their histories, and still others just didn’t offer them to the archives.  So gaps occurred.

Other researchers hold that there are gaps in the archive because some populations were not deemed to be of interest to society, and so were overlooked.

This week I have been getting into this question of “the gap” a bit more.  I’ve been looking in particular at W. Fitzhugh Brundage’s book The Southern Past: A Clash of Race and Memory (2005).  I’ve also been looking at James C. Scott’s book Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts. (Thank you, Dr. Walsh for the loan of those.)

I’ve also been firming up plans for the interview trip to Toronto a week from tomorrow.  I’ve been adjusting my interview questions for Adrienne Shadd and Dr. Karolyn Smardz Frost in an effort to capture some of these ideas about archival gaps.

I’ve also spent time this past week finding images for the film. I have a lot, but still need a few more.  So this coming week I am going to try to find the rest of the images for the film.  I will also work on finding the remaining sound effects that I still need.  And, most urgently, I will be getting the final arrangements in place for the trip to Toronto next week.

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