Archiving Social Protest – Question 1
Martha Briggs, Catherine Grandgeorge, Alison Hinderliter, Eric Gonzaba, Julie Herrada, Yvonne Ng, Joe Tropea
1What social-protest materials does your institution or organization collect, and how do you acquire material?
As one of the Newberry Library’s many collections documenting twentieth- and twenty-first-century social and political activism in Chicago and the Midwest, the Chicago Protest Collection seeks to provide an enduring record of the many individual voices and personal expressions of Chicagoans participating in public demonstrations in the city and elsewhere. The Chicago Protest Collection aims to create a record of citizen participation in a variety of causes across the political spectrum. It contains digital content (photographs, audio and video files, and personal narratives) and many types of physical ephemera (posters, handbills, banners, buttons, stickers, textiles, hats, etc.).Read this Response
The Trump Protest Archive was initially established to collect digital photographs of protest signs, clothing, and other objects related to the inauguration of the forty-fifth American president, Donald Trump. Because of sustained resistance to the president’s agenda and the frequent protest marches in cities across the country in the inauguration’s aftermath, the archive’s focus expanded to include photographic documentation of subsequent protest activities. The Trump Protest Archive is entirely self-funded and all submissions are digital in format.Read this Response
The Joseph A. Labadie Collection collects, preserves, and makes accessible materials related to anarchism; the early labor, socialist, communist, feminist, environmentalist, pacifist, and LGBTQ, Black power, indigenous peoples, cooperative, civil rights and liberties, and anti-colonialist movements; political prisoners and prison abolition, from the nineteenth century to the present and throughout the world.Read this Response
WITNESS is an international nonprofit organization that supports people using video and technology to protect human rights. Recognizing the importance of archiving and preservation to this work, we maintain an in-house video archive and train others to archive their own videos. Our collection is made up of video documentation of both human rights violations and activism recorded by local groups that we have partnered with since the 1990s, as well as the advocacy videos that we co-produced with those groups. The videos span the globe and cover a range of issues, including forced evictions in Cambodia, the impact of war in Chechnya, political violence against women in Zimbabwe, elder abuse in the US, police violence in Brazil, and on and on.Read this Response
While we do have acquisition funds to purchase items that are important to the state’s history, some of these funds are restricted in precise and often arcane ways that limit what we can do with them. We are aware that all of these factors privilege some histories above others, and we want to take corrective action, so our collection policies are currently under internal review. An exception to the processes I’ve described above occurred during the Baltimore Uprising of 2015.Read this Response