I’ve come to learn the importance of archives while working as a graduate student for the African American Digital Humanities Initiative (AADHUM). Our work has centered around how digital tools and data can represent the longevity, diversity, and uniqueness of the African Diaspora. As always, I focus on Black women and their work so I decided to compile a list of resources on Black women. You can find Black women in many types of collections, but typically archival work in the academy marginalizes people of color. That said, a focus on archives that explicitly focus on Black women turns up short. Deborah Gray White has a great resource for a number of collections titled “Mining the Forgotten.”
Why Black Women?
Scholars who rely on these types of collections have to navigate how universities and other institutions decide to include or exclude certain voices. I think reflecting on the state of archives on Black women might help scholars interested in creating their own collections. Black women also exist across the world. So the list will need more representation of non-U.S. women as it grows. Some of these archives are fully accessible online while others require gaining access through university or government institutions. I strongly recommend that you reach out anyway and then consider taking part of your work digitally accessible to a wider public.