New Orleans traditionally slows down during the summer months, but Amistad Research Center is busier than ever, with work underway on several grant-funded projects this year. This year is a landmark year for the city, and the Keller Family Foundation has kindly provided the support for ARC’s 2018 New Orleans Tricentennial celebration. As part of that, an exhibition entitled “‘A Peculiarly Segregated City...’: The Civil Rights Movement in New Orleans” will launch in October and will focus on the individuals and organizations that raised awareness of the social, educational, and political inequalities in New Orleans, and fought for their elimination through political and civic activism and engagement. Support from the Keller Family Foundation is assisting with the organization of thirteen archival collections documenting civil rights efforts in New Orleans and the mounting of the Fall 2018 exhibition. The full list of Keller grant recipients can be found here.
ARC’s entire Processing Department is pitching in to organize one of our larger collections, the records of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives and the Emergency Land Fund, supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The FSC was founded in 1967, and was designed to provide technical assistance, information, training, and research to low-income cooperatives and credit unions throughout the South. ELF was founded in 1972 by economist Robert S. Browne to promote the retention and acquisition of land by African Americans, teach rural Blacks about property and mineral rights, and to support landowners in soliciting development money and exposing land fraud. The FSC and ELF merged in 1985 to form the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund. The materials being organized document the important work done by these organizations from the 1960s through the 1990s, and this project will be a big step toward making these materials more easily accessible to our researchers. Read the announcement here.
Finally, ARC is excited to announce the award of a preservation grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation to preserve the 1972 film A Place to Start, produced by the Community Relations Council of Greater New Orleans. The Council was established in 1962 by a group of progressive minded citizens to promote community relations among all members of the New Orleans community regardless of race, color, ethnicity, or religion. In 1971, the Council asked students from the New Orleans Public Schools to form diverse committees to discuss desegregation, community relations, inclusion, and other topics. Students from different schools were brought together and the idea exchange was filmed, forming the basis of A Place to Start. The film documents candid conversations between small groups of students on what they see as the primary social, cultural, and administrative problems within their schools and in society. It provides a view of the New Orleans school system, and of education as a whole, through the eyes of students – an important snapshot of the time just following the Civil Rights Movement, on the heels of school desegregation in America. We are eager to receive a new 16mm preservation master for the film, and to finally be able to make a digital viewing copy available to our researchers.
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