Library puts focus on Rochester’s Black history and culture

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To preserve and document Rochester’s Black history and culture, the Rochester Public Library is looking for help from the community.

The library seeks 10 community members to serve on an advisory board to develop an archive as part of the Documenting, Preserving & Improving Access to Local Black History Collections Project.

“We are committed to implementing the bold ideas brought forth by the City/County Commission on Racial and Structural Equity (RASE),” says Rochester Mayor Malik Evans. “In order to be truly successful, we need the participation of citizens who are vested in creating greater equity in our community. This is a wonderful opportunity to serve our city through this exciting project.”

The goal of the project is to establish a community-curated archive of historical information about the Black community in Rochester that will culminate in an online database, officials say.

Board members will set the mission and vision for the archive and act as liaisons between the library and community stakeholders.

In the first year, the board will identify and connect with community members, urging them to participate in efforts to find and preserve historically significant collections they might hold. The board will also select themes, organizations and people significant to the area’s past and present Black history and culture.

Surveys and focus group meetings are also planned to better understand community needs and wishes. This group, which will work under the public library staff’s direction, is tasked with developing a project/collection mission statement, vision, strategic plan, and collection policy for the new archive.

Applications to serve on the board can be found here. Ideal candidates include those who play an active role in the community and have an interest in documenting and sharing Black history.

Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor. The Beacon welcomes comments from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name.

One thought on “Library puts focus on Rochester’s Black history and culture

  1. I don’t get it. Is the past more important than the ‘here and now’? The future. At what point does one sow the seeds of and for the future? At what point will we address THEE foundational problem of the current state of graduating kids with a relevant education? When? Will someone out there at least sign on to the future and while not forgetting the past, at the very least change course for a better and brighter future. That ONLY comes with education,…PERIOD! The RCSD is in charge of the future and it aint getting the job done. Ideas, creativity and ingenuity is what we need. We have it, all around us, in the colleges and universities. But that takes effort, dedication and the like. It’s to damn hard,…isn’t it all you institutions of higher learning? You’re in the business of making money, status and building bank accounts. How about giving back! How about paying forward? The silence is deafening. I don’t know why I keep pounding on this educational issue. That K-12, which is pivotal in the lives of the Inner city education. Period.

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