University Libraries Contributes Arkansas African American History to Umbra

Black Emphasis Week, as it was known in 1973, brought to the U of A campus several notable speakers including Mr. Dana C. Chandler, a prominent black artist; Dr. Jerry Jewel, the first black legislator to serve in the Arkansas General Assembly; and Brother Jimmie Walker, a member of the Campus Crusade for Christ. (Black Americans for Democracy News, May 7, 1973).
University Libraries, Special Collections

Black Emphasis Week, as it was known in 1973, brought to the U of A campus several notable speakers including Mr. Dana C. Chandler, a prominent black artist; Dr. Jerry Jewel, the first black legislator to serve in the Arkansas General Assembly; and Brother Jimmie Walker, a member of the Campus Crusade for Christ. (Black Americans for Democracy News, May 7, 1973).

University of Arkansas Libraries is pleased to announce the contribution of 2,392 items to a digital discovery tool, Umbra: Search African American History. 

Umbra is a free digital platform that brings together historical content from archives, libraries, and museums using partnerships, open data, and technology.  The project documents African American history and culture, making the material widely available to new researchers and artists.

As a contributing institution, University Libraries joins the Smithsonian, Library of Congress, Digital Public Library of America, and over 500 academic and research libraries from around the country working to preserve and make this history freely available.

The digital platform pays homage to the Umbra Society of the early 1960s, a renegade group of Black writers and poets who helped create the Black Arts Movement. In that same spirit, Umbra celebrates the efforts of the individuals and institutions that have helped to preserve and make accessible online hundreds of thousands of pieces of African American history and culture.


This issue of BAD Times celebrates Jo Lynn Dennis’ selection as a Razorback Beauty, only the sixth African American selected for the honor. From Black Americans for Democracy News, November 18, 1975, University Libraries, Special Collections.
 

George F. Knox Jr. was the first African American law professor at the University of Arkansas Law School. He taught at the University until 1976, when he left to become the first black City Attorney in Miami, Florida. From Black Americans for Democracy News, September 24, 1975, University Libraries, Special Collections.
 

Daisy Bates meets with Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus in the Governor’s office, 1959, with an unidentified third person. From Broadside Collection, B4-660, Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries.

"Special Collections is honored to contribute our historical materials to this unprecedented virtual collection documenting over 400 years of African American cultural history," said interim Head of Special Collections, Angela Fritz.

"University Libraries plans to continue to add more material to Umbra. Special Collections looks forward to this exciting opportunity to facilitate discovery to its collections, as well as support new scholarship in African American Studies for U of A students, and students, scholars, and researchers worldwide," Fritz said.

University Libraries makes these materials available as part of its own growing digital collections, including Land of (Unequal) Opportunity: Documenting the Civil Rights Struggle in Arkansas and BAD Times: A Digital Collection of the Black Americans for Democracy Newspapers.  "Land of (Unequal) Opportunity" gathers in one online resource a variety of records and photographs that document the history of civil rights in the state. "Bad Times" preserves twenty issues of newspapers in fragile condition - already well used by researchers and now made even more widely available.

Umbra is developed by the Givens Collection of African American Literature at the University of Minnesota Libraries in partnership with Penumbra Theatre Company. It is made possible by support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Contacts

Angela I. Fritz, interim head, Special Collections
University Libraries
479-575-5576, fritz@uark.edu

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