Archival Seedlings

“We are not marginal or other to the archive, but integral to it. We may be silenced or made invisible, but we have always been present.”  —Yusef Omowale, Director, Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research


We communicate regularly with our community partners through local liaisons, including mayors, teachers, and professors. Beyond our community liaisons, who are often busy with their roles as leaders and educators, the Community-Driven Archives Team (CDAT) is connecting with emerging local leaders. The Seedlings program trains participants in historic resource management and supports their leadership.

Launched in January 2020, this 15-month program is designed to support and resource researchers connected to our four community partners. Our 10-person cohort has access to a variety of opportunities, including:

Each Seedlings participant will complete a local history project in collaboration with our grant team.

2020-21 Archival Seedlings

Sarita Alston posing for a portrait in a blue jacketSarita Alston (Covington, TN) 
Sarita is researching her own family’s history in Tipton County, TN and will be sharing it with the public through a partnership with the Tipton County Museum and the Association for the Preservation of African American History in Tipton County.

Amber M. Anderson (San Antonio, TX)
Amber is creating an oral history collection based on original interviews with 20-30 African American community elders living in Smithville, TX. She is planning to build a website to make those stories accessible to the community.

Pauline Cunningham cleaning an artifactPauline Cunningham (Hobson City, AL)
Pauline is curating an exhibit on the life and contributions of beloved Hobson City community leader, the late James “Pappy” Dunn, for the Hobson City museum at City Hall.

Archival black and white print of inside Carver Branch Library, ca. 1930

Inside Carver Branch African American Library, ca. 1930

D.L. Grant (San Antonio, TX)  
D.L. is collecting oral histories and artifacts about the life of Prudence Curry, the first director of the George Washington Carver Branch Library in San Antonio. D.L. is the current manager of Carver Library, and will organize a library exhibit and/or community program with stories and materials from the collection.

Visitors viewing an exhibit in the Tuskegee History Center

Visitors at the Tuskegee History Center

Deborah Gray (Tuskegee, AL)
Deborah will be leveraging UNC and CDAT support to strengthen the administrative, communications, and visitor-focused work of the Tuskegee History Center, with expected activities related to artist and educator, Isaac S. Hathaway, archives project delayed by the COVID-19 crisis.

William Isom, II taking a photo with a digital cameraWilliam Isom, II (Rogersville, TN)
William will be processing and sharing a collection of oral history interviews that his project, Black in Appalachia, has collected with former students, educators, and families connected to Swift Memorial Institute, a former HBCU in Hawkins County, TN. Once processed, he will make them accessible through the project website and a video for the Swift Museum in Rogersville, TN.

Phyllis Miller posing for a portraitPhyllis Miller (Grambling, LA) 
Phyllis is creating an oral history collection in partnership with the Grambling History Committee based on interviews with ten local community elders as well as genealogical research about them and their families. The first-person narratives in this collection tell a story about the ways that individuals assign significance to key moments of change that marked important transitions in their lives.

Whitmey Peckman posing for a portrait with the Board members of the Essie Mae Kiser Foxx charter school

Whitney Peckman (far right) and board members of the Essie Mae Kiser Foxx charter school in East Spencer, NC.

Whitney Peckman (East Spencer, NC)  
Whitney will research and share the history of the Dunbar School, the African American school in East Spencer under Jim Crow, focusing on the story of Dunbar champion, Essie Mae Kiser Foxx. Whitney co-founded a local charter school and wants to connect the students to their own histories by linking the past and present through a video sharing the story of education in East Spencer.

An old yearbook photo of Sylvia StanbackSylvia Stanback (Greensboro, NC) 
Sylvia is conducting oral histories with former teachers and students at Dudley High School and NC A&T State University in Greensboro, NC about the lives of local African Americans during segregation and the Civil Rights era. This collection will include stories from the Greensboro sit-in movement. She plans to share the collection with the public through a website and/or educational resource, incorporating materials from her home archive.

Lisa Withers smiling for a portraitLisa Withers (Raleigh, NC)
Lisa will be interviewing and collecting digital materials from descendents of former North Carolina proprietors listed in The Negro Motorist Green Book. The Green Book functioned as a lifeline and a tool of resistance by African Americans during the Jim Crow era. From there, she will create a publicly accessible oral history collection with a finding aid in partnership with NC A&T State University.

Instructional Webinars

Interested in additional training? We developed a series of webinars for our Seedlings program. They are the perfect introduction to community-driven archival projects for current and aspiring history keepers.