Rare scrapbooks that document African American life in the United States from 1890-1975 are being preserved with support through a “Save America’s Treasures” (SAT) grant. The project is a collaborative effort with Emory University Preservation Office, Digitization Center, and the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL). The SAT grant is awarded through the Department of Interior and the National Park Service, in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
Through the combined efforts of Randall K. Burkett, Curator of African American Collections in the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) David F. Bright, Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature, Emory University has acquired a heretofore unknown 200 page scrapbook of articles and memorabilia concerning the life of William Sanders Scarborough.
The scrapbook will be repaired and digitized as part of the recently awarded three-year $170,000 matching Save America’s Treasures grant. The grant will enable enhanced access to this scrapbook and nearly thirty other scrapbooks documenting African American artists, writers, students, vaudeville performers, preachers and former slaves.
Karen Jefferson, archivist at the Atlanta University Center, deems the materials valuable for the entire metropolitan area. As a student Scarborough spent hours with fellow students tearing down fortifications left from the Civil War with his own hands. Later in 1908, the year he became president of Wilberforce University, he received an honorary doctorate from Morris Brown College and at the same time gave the commencement address at Atlanta University for President Edward Twichell Ware. Ware was the son of Atlanta University’s first president Edmund Asa Ware under whom Scarborough studied.
This important collection will help us understand the man that Kevin Boyle (author of Arc of Justice, National Book Award Winner in 2004) said was the exemplar of W.E.B. Du Bois’ concept of the Talented Tenth. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. declared in the forward he wrote for The Works of William Sanders Scarborough: Black Classicist and Race Leader (Oxford University Press, 2006) that: “Scarborough was the consummate black academic.” And he added this postulate: “If W. E. B. Du Bois, the antecedent of today’s black public intellectuals, himself has an antecedent, it is W. S. Scarborough, the black scholar’s scholar.”
Save America’s Treasures (SAT) awarded grants to 61 projects in 23 states and the District of Columbia for 2010. The grant is awarded through the Department of Interior and the National Park Service, in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).