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Increasing African American Diversity in Archives: The HistoryMakers Fellowship, Mentoring, Training and Placement Institute
Over the past two and a half decades, various efforts have been made to address the lack of diversity in the archival profession. In 2009, The HistoryMakers, the nation’s largest African American video oral history archive, received $731,698.25 from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to support a unique Fellowship, Mentoring, Training and Placement Institute. The Institute was created to address the myriad of issues that still contribute to the paucity of diversity in the archival profession. Increasing African American Diversity in Archives: The HistoryMakers Fellowship, Mentoring, Training and Placement Institute recruits, mentors, trains and places archival fellows interested in pursuing careers in African American archives with partnering host institutions with strong African American archival collections. Institute Fellows participate in a 3-month intensive training program, which includes instruction on current archival standards and best practices, as well as African American history, at The HistoryMakers archives followed by a 9-month on-site residency at one of the participating collections. The 2011-2012 Increasing African American Diversity in Archives program will graduate seven fellows in May, 2012, who will be followed by six fellows chosen from a highly accomplished pool of candidates to participate in the 2012-2013 Increasing African American Diversity in Archives: The HistoryMakers’ Fellowship, Mentoring, Training and Placement Institute.
The Institute will draw upon the work and research of the past twenty-five years. 54% of the requested funding goes directly to pay the salaries of the Institute Fellows. Active collaborations with some of the leading library/archive schools, African American collections and an esteemed and engaged advisory board will result in an effective program with the following key programmatic goals:
Increase the number of highly-skilled African American archivists and archivists working in African American archives by providing:
a. Hands-on archival training by professional archivists.
b. On-the-job training at major African American archival collections.
c. Instruction by respected African American scholars and subject experts.
d. Paid salaries combined with the support of a mentor and professional network.
e. Potential job placement.
Increase the accessibility of African American historical materials by having the Fellows process more collections and create finding aids using EAD and EAC-CPF descriptive standards. They will also create MARC records for deposit in local, regional and international library catalogs.
Increase the visibility of the archival profession and African American historical collections through public and community outreach programs.
Create a network of professionals with more in-depth knowledge of the nation’s African American collections.
Enable the partnering institutions to effectively recruit and train African American archivists and archivists interested in working with African American collections.