Scattered and Fugitive Things: How Black Collectors Created Archives and Remade History by Laura E. Helton.

Black Archives, Not Archives of Blackness

On Laura Helton’s “Scattered and Fugitive Things.”
Bottom half of a red sheet music cover with the words "Sung by Aida Overton Walker with the Smart Set Co" written on it with a portrait of Aida to the right

Sheet Music Covers for the Gotham-Attucks Company, ca. 1905–1911

Beginning in 1905, one star-studded song-publishing company would push the aesthetic limits of how Black popular music was shown to the public.
Drawing of George Washington Williams

George Washington Williams’ "History of the Negro Race in America" (1882–83)

A work of millennial scope by a self-taught African-American historian.
"Slave Market of America," a broadside published by the American Anti-Slavery Society.

Deep Zoom: 1836 Broadside “Slave Market of America”

Published by the American Anti-Slavery Society, this single 77 by 55 centimeter sheet tells multiple stories in both text and illustration.
Three versions of quote from "Appeal"

Comparing Editions of David Walker's Abolitionist Appeal

Digitization allows researchers to trace editorial and authorial changes in archival content. Both are central to the study of this famous abolitionist pamphlet.
Illustration of Elizabeth Keckley

Elizabeth Keckley's Memoir Behind the Scenes, or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four in the White House

Keckley’s decision to write about her employers from the viewpoint of a household laborer--she was seamstress to Mary Todd Lincoln--enraged audiences.
Pages from the Chicago Defender and Metropolitan News, twentieth century.

The World According to Sylvester Russell

The career and legacy of a Black critic who argued for the elevation of Black performance.
An African American woman standing on a porch with three young children

The House Archives Built

How racial hierarchies are embedded within the archival standards and practices that legitimize historical memory.
Performers in "Black America" posing in their costumes

Black America, 1895

The bizarre and complex history of Black America, a theatrical production which revealed the conflicting possibilities of self-expression in a racist society.