By Sarah Quigley, Project Archivist, Southern Christian Leadership Conference records, MARBL
“Working for Freedom: Documenting Civil Rights Organizations” is a collaborative project between Emory University's Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library, The Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, The Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, and The Robert W. Woodruff Library of Atlanta University Center to uncover and make available previously hidden collections documenting the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta and New Orleans. The project is administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources with funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Each organization regularly contributes blog posts about their progress.
It isn’t uncommon to have material in archival collections that is difficult for archivists to identify. Removed as we are from the creation of the records, even our knowledge of the creators and their historical context can’t always help us name individuals in photographs, pinpoint events or recognize the voices on audio tapes. When we’re lucky, the records creators are available to help us.
On February 15, 2011, the SCLC processing team was pleased to welcome Brenda Davenport and Reverend Fred Taylor, both former SCLC staff members, to MARBL to view photographs from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference records. This was a wonderful opportunity for them to reminisce about their work, and also see where the records they created will be preserved and made available to researchers into the future. It was also a wonderful opportunity for the processing team, as Davenport and Taylor used their combined 50 years of experience with the organization to help us identify nearly one linear foot of previously unidentified photographs.
It was a treat for the processing team to meet these two people whose work we've become so familiar with over the past two years. A million thanks to them for their time and willingness to be involved with the project.
Following are photos from the afternoon. To see larger versions, click the images.
All photographs copyright Emory University. May not be reproduced without permission.