UNCG archives Black Lives Matter photo

Protest art along South Elm Street in downtown Greensboro is shown on June 3, 2020. This photograph is part of UNCG's new Triad Black Lives Matter Protest Collection.

University library archives are eclectic places. They hold an unbelievable amount of stuff.

Take UNCG's, for instance. In addition to rare books and university artifacts that you'd expect to find in most college libraries, UNCG Libraries also has an internationally known collection of cello records and cello sheet music and an extensive collection that documents the experiences of women who served in the U.S. Armed Forces. The library's website hosts online collections of local history, local civil rights history, local LGBTQ history, runaway slave advertisements from N.C. newspapers, Greensboro newspapers from way back when and beer. I'm not kidding when I say there tons of stuff there.

The latest addition to UNCG's collections is an archive of materials from area Black Lives Matter protests. The university is now seeking photos, videos, flyers, posters, protest signs, clothing and anything else from the beginning of the BLM movement in 2013 or from the recent local protests over the death of George Floyd. These items will be part of the library's new Triad Black Lives Matter Protest Collection.

UNCG in a news release explained how this project came about:

After days of protests, many local artists began to express their anger, grief and calls for justice through paintings and murals in downtown Greensboro. Dr. Tara T. Green, among others, began to document what was happening, taking photos of the art, and striking up conversations with artists and organizers.

“I was driving down Elm Street and saw the paintings and murals. I’m always thinking about collections and preserving the voices of Black people, and I started thinking, what’s going to happen with this art?” said Green, professor and former director of UNCG’s African American and African Diaspora Studies Program.

Green connected with the University Libraries team — Associate Professor and Digitization Coordinator David Gwynn, Assistant Professor and Curator of Manuscripts Stacey Krim and Associate Professor and University Archivist Erin Lawrimore — and started thinking through the best ways to formally document the movement. The solution was a new collection of both digital and physical materials that would help serve the community, educators and researchers for years to come.

Click here to see what has been donated to date and the kinds of things UNCG is looking for. The second link will take you to another link if you have something to donate.

Staff writer John Newsom covers higher education for the News & Record of Greensboro and the Winston-Salem Journal.

Have something to say about this blog post? Email him at john.newsom@greensboro.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @JohnNewsomNR.

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