Director, Donor Communications & Digital Engagement
ATLANTA—Georgia State University’s Libraries have received a $350,000 grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) to digitize and provide access to American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) Civil Rights Southeast Division and national-level records from the AFL, CIO and AFL-CIO Civil Rights Department.
The award was part of CLIR’s “Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives: Amplifying Unheard Voices” program, which is made possible by funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Georgia State’s project, “Advancing Workers Rights in the American South,” was one of 16 selected for funding by CLIR out of 151 applicants nationally. Georgia State’s project is a collaboration with the University of Maryland.
“Georgia State seeks to be a leading model for inclusive excellence. We are grateful to the Council on Library and Information Resources for this grant, which will enrich the scholarship and dialogue on the intersection of civil and labor rights,” said Jeff Steely, dean of libraries at Georgia State. “With this grant, Georgia State and University of Maryland will be able to share the lives, voices and moments contained in these collections so they can once again contribute to the vital cause of answering and addressing systemic issues related to race and labor.”
The “Advancing Workers Rights in the American South” project will digitize correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, audiovisual recordings and more that document AFL-CIO affairs — including labor union integration, school integration and busing, civil rights issues, strikes, etc.— between 1943 and 1999. Georgia State Library holdings include records created between 1962 and 1988 by the AFL-CIO’s Southern Area Director’s Office Civil Rights Division. University of Maryland Libraries contributed to the project a curated portion of its George Meany Memorial Archives that relate to AFL’s Civil Rights Committee and the AFL-CIO Civil Rights Department.
Once digitized, the objects included in the CLIR grant project will be freely accessible in Georgia State and University of Maryland digital collections repositories and shared with the Digital Library of Georgia, to be disseminated through the Digital Public Library of America, Umbra Search African American History and the Civil Rights Digital Library.
The Council on Library and Information Resources is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions and communities of higher learning. To learn more, visit www.clir.org and follow CLIR on Facebook and Twitter.
For more information visit:
https://digitalcollections.library.gsu.edu, https://archivesspace.library.gsu.edu/repositories/2/resources/433https://www.clir.org/2021/, 03/clir-announces-2020-digitizing-hidden-special-collections-and-archives-awards/, https://digital.lib.umd.edu, and https://www.lib.umd.edu/special/guides/labor.
Above: A photograph of attendees to the Tri-State Labor School at Camp Rockmont in Black Mountain, N.C. The school was created to be bi-racial and teach workers about Civil Rights issues.