Civil Rights & African American Experience Collection Project


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Home >> About Us >> Support the Library >> Civil Rights & African American Experience Collection Project

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During the last decade, San Diego State University Library began collecting resources to document the Civil Rights movement and the African American experience in San Diego.   Oral histories from noted leaders, such as Reverend George Walker Smith and the Honorable Leon Williams, created the foundation for this archive.  Papers and files from community organizations, like the Citizens United for Racial Equality, are a key component of this research legacy.  In 2007 a grant from the SDSU President's Leadership Fund supported the creation of an online exhibitCreating Community, and greatly broaden public access to this information.

To bring this unique collection in line with today's learning technologies, the library began a digitization effort in 2010.   Starting with a pilot project to digitize CORE activist Hal Brown's papers, this initiative continues to grow.  Today online visitors can view photographs of demonstrations, watch video recordings of the Heart of San Diego interviews by Fred Lewis, listen to audio tapes from the Citizens Interracial Committee meetings, and MUCH MORE.  

The significance of the collection was highlighted in an article in College & Research Libraries News.  Locally it has garnered tremendous recognition. In 2011 the collection was dedicated to a standing-room-only crowd in SDSU's alumni center. (Click here to view event photos.) In 2012 part of the collection was highlighted in a Special Collection's exhibit.

Work is ongoing on the collection, which is named for Harold K. Brown, a civic leader and the chair of the community advisory group for the project. This group of dedicated volunteers is committed to preserving perishable materials and enriching the collection with the voices of those who have lived the experience.  To succeed, we need help.  We hope that you will support the creation of this legacy and become a Charter Member Donor.