By Rebecca Pattillo
University of Louisville’s Archives and Special Collections (ASC) has published a new resource, Uncovering Racial Logics: Louisville’s History of Racial Oppression and Activism, a website that provides access to documents, oral histories, photographs and other materials that tell the story of Louisville’s history of racial oppression and activism.
The site is focused on education, policing and housing, “areas in which we see institutional racism at work, producing unequal access to resources, freedoms, and opportunities as part of ongoing U.S. racial stratification,” according to the site’s introduction. Funded by the Cooperative Consortium for Transdisciplinary Social Justice Research (CCTSJR) and the Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research, the collaborative project was created by faculty members across multiple departments for an interdisciplinary look at the “racial logics” of Louisville via primary source materials housed in ASC.
Dr. Carrie Mott, UofL Assistant Professor of Geographic and Environmental Sciences and one of the site’s creators, said the goal of the project was to provide access to useful information to anyone interested in learning about Louisville’s history around racial justice.
“We also wanted to provide a tool that would help people see the amazing archival resources housed at ASC,” said Mott. “From prior research and teaching with archives at UofL, I knew of the wealth of resources we have here at UofL. But we recognized many people on campus as well as in the larger Louisville community do not understand how to use archival resources, why they might be useful, or know how to access them. The website was an opportunity to provide some resources in terms of actual scanned documents, but also to help people learn that UofL has a lot more where that came from for research on Louisville’s racial history.”
Rebecca Pattillo, ASC Metadata Librarian and site co-creator, said “Working on this project allowed ASC to make some of our materials available digitally. The site also directs visitors to our robust online digital collections, where they can explore some of the materials referenced in greater depth.”
“One misconception about the archives is that they are only available to UofL affiliated people, when actually we are open to anyone in the community,” said Pattillo.
The site features scanned archival documents including pamphlets, newspaper clippings, oral histories, correspondence, and photographs, with contextual and historical information about each document and the larger collection to which it belongs. In addition to scanned documents, the site also highlights oral histories, story maps, and other resources addressing Louisville’s racial history.
Site users may explore the topic of both secondary and higher education in Louisville to learn about the push for equal pay among Black and white teachers in the late 1930s and early 1940s, the city’s move to desegregate schools via court-ordered busing in the mid-1970s, integration of the University of Louisville in the 1950s, and the founding of the Black Student Union and the Department of Black Affairs in the late 1960s. In addition, learn about Simmons University, one of Kentucky’s two HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), and Louisville Municipal College, the only Black liberal arts college in the state which operated from 1931 through 1951, when it merged with a newly integrated UofL.
Another topic explored is the history of policing and police violence throughout the city. An example is the story of Fred J. Harris, a Black man who lost an eye after being beaten by police in 1979, and the work of the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression to seek justice for Harris by demanding accountability from the police force.
Housing and Urban Renewal is another focus of the Uncovering Racial Logics project. Select archival materials highlight the narrative of Louisville’s history of racist housing policies and practices, including the construction of racially segregated federal public housing projects in the aftermath of the destruction of neighborhoods and displacement of communities via Urban Renewal. These materials also reveal resistance to and organizing among the Black community and white allies to fight against racist housing policies and discriminatory practices. One such well known housing project is Beecher Terrace, which is explored via the papers of its long-time manager, Earl Pruitt.
Rounding out the project is an extensive, albeit not exhaustive, list of resources for further research. You can explore interactive maps that detail the history of racism within city planning and zoning, as well as redlining within Louisville. In addition is a list of community resources that highlight local organizations that work to empower and improve life for Louisville’s diverse citizens. Also included is a list of UofL Resourcesthathighlights on-campus organizations and committees that work towards racial and social justice, as well as minority affinity groups.
This project was created by Carrie Mott, Rebecca Pattillo, Melanie Gast, Anna Browne Rebiero, Joy Hart, Kelly Kinahan, and Catherine Fosl, with additional assistance from undergraduate and graduate research assistants Cat Alexander, Elizabeth Frazier, and Ben Harlan. Additional technical assistance was provided by Cassidy Meurer and Terri Holtze. Special thanks goes to UofL’s Cooperative Consortium for Transdisciplinary Social Justice Research (CCTSJR) and Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research (ABI) for funding and supporting this work, as well as our community partners.
Archives and Special Collections collects, organizes, preserves, and makes available for research rare and unique primary and secondary source material, particularly relating to the history and cultural heritage of Louisville, Kentucky and the surrounding region, as well as serving as the official memory of the University of Louisville.
The University Libraries have added new materials to Ekstrom Library’s digital collections, including links to primary source documents, recordings, video and other materials on Black studies, Black drama and the African diaspora. The additions support the University of Louisville’s drive to become an anti-racist campus.
Among the materials are the transcript of the trial of Clay v. United States (Muhammad Ali); 2,500 pages of exclusive Black Panther oral histories; and the full text of over 1,700 plays by African diaspora playwrights, including previously unpublished plays by Langston Hughes, Amiri Baraka and Zora Neale Hurston among other authors.
The digital databases also offer UofL scholars and researchers access to the former Hatch-Billops Collection which includes 5,000 pages of rare interviews, oral histories, photos, original art, poetry, and other firsthand perspectives tracking African American cultural trends in the 20th century. Interview subjects include Dizzy Gillespie, Arnold Rampersand, Errol Hill, Anne Cooke Reid, Butterfly McQueen, and Charles Mingus; many recordings took place when these figures were nearing the ends of their lives, capturing a historical record that would otherwise be lost.
“It’s exciting to provide these new materials to our students and we do think they will appreciate the breadth of these digital databases,” said Libraries Dean Bob Fox. “This is part of our commitment to supporting UofL’s goal of creating an anti-racist campus.”
Recently, Dean Fox reallocated gift funding to purchase books, DVDs, digital collections and other materials on civil rights, equity, and Black history, among other subjects, in support of UofL’s anti-racism initiative.
The purchases from Alexander Street Press include:
Primary source documents exploring the migrations, communities and ideologies of the people of African descent who have dispersed around the world. The focus is on communities in the Caribbean, Brazil, India, United Kingdom and France. 1860-present.
Approximately 1,700 plays by 250 North American playwrights, together with detailed information on productions, theaters, production companies, and more. The database also includes selected playbills, production photographs and other ephemera related to the plays. 1850-present.
Black Studies in Video is a collection documentaries, interviews, and archival footage exploring the black experience through history, politics, art and culture, family structure, gender relationships, and social and economic issues.
Black Thought and Culture is a collection of nonfiction writings by major American black leaders—teachers, artists, politicians, religious leaders, athletes, war veterans, entertainers, and other figures—covering 250 years of history. It includes letters, speeches, essays, political leaflets, interviews, and transcripts.
By: Alexandra Howard, Business Research & Teaching Librarian
Here at the University Libraries, we recognize that the celebration of Black history deserves more than a month. Ekstrom Library’s Research Assistance and Instruction department has created a library research guide that the UofL and global research community can use to investigate and celebrate Black history and Black excellence 365 days a year, every year.
The guide not only introduces library resources on Black history, but also celebrates the history of the Black community in Louisville and recognizes the struggle for racial justice in our city. In 2020, Louisville made national headlines after Breonna Taylor was shot and killed inside her home by police officers. Black history is being made every day in Louisville as leaders work to empower their communities, to secure systemic recognition that Black Lives Matter, and to demand justice for Breonna Taylor. The Louisville portion of the research guide highlights community organizations in Louisville involved in these important efforts.
The Celebrating Black History library research guide also seeks to expand the traditional Black History Month narrative honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X. While these are important figures, it is vital to expand the narrative and highlight Black scholars from across academic disciplines. We want to ensure that our Black and African American students see themselves reflected in their disciplines. We want to encourage faculty and staff to incorporate the work of Black scholars into their curriculum and research. Our Academic Leaders portion of the guide offers a selection of written material within our collection by Black scholars in different academic disciplines. We plan to expand this portion of the guide and are working on an initiative to highlight the research and scholarship of BIPOC faculty, staff, and students at the University of Louisville.
Some of the incredible resources our library offers to research Black history are the African American Newspapers database, Ethnic NewsWatch, Louisville Leader Collection, and an oral history collection of African American community interviews. The University Libraries recently launched an initiative to diversify our collections. Please send us your recommendations.
If interested in learning more, please email Alexandra Howard: email@example.com.
UofL Law Librarian Erin Gow is the author of a new volume in Hein’s Legal Research Guide Series on the topic of hate crime. While the publication date was pushed back amid the COVID-19 outbreak, as of July 15 the hardcover edition of Vol. 81 was on the shelves in the Brandeis Law Library.
Through the process of research and writing, Gow said she learned quite a bit about the evolution of laws surrounding hate crime.
“There have been massive changes in hate crime over the past few decades. The very concept of what a hate crime is, who can be the victim of a hate crime, and how hate crimes are responded to legally have all changed dramatically,” she said.
“In the US, for example, the Hate Crimes Prevention Act was only passed just over a decade ago in 2009. Many individual states had hate crime laws before this, and the federal government had been collecting statistics on hate crime for many years, but the Hate Crimes Prevention Act changed the whole legal landscape around hate crime in this country.”
“Right now there’s some evidence that hate crimes are increasing in the US and other parts of the world, and that means laws are being tested and observed in new ways.”
Gow said she assembled the proposal in November 2018 and then wrote the volume in and around her other full-time work as Online Services Librarian, finally finishing with a review of the final draft in February 2020.
“When I realized Hein’s didn’t have a volume on hate crime, I proposed the topic to the publishers,” she said. “They reviewed a sample chapter, and accepted both the topic and me as the author.”
All volumes are published both in print and electronically on HeinOnline.
Wondering how to access art and architecture books while the Art Library is closed?
The University of Louisville has a trial subscription to the A&AePortal database which provides access to important art and art history scholarly books from some of the world’s finest publishers and museums such as Art Institute of Chicago, Princeton, and Yale University Press. This resource provides access to several titles owned by the Bridwell Art Library in an electronic format.
RedShelf is offering free electronic textbooks to students whose institutions are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The e-books can be borrowed until May 25. The following texts are a sample of what’s available:
Stokstad’s Art: A Brief History
Gardner’s Art Through the Ages
Practices of Looking
Culture of Design
Art History: The Basics
Ways of Seeing
VitalSource is also offering free electronic textbooks to students at the University of Louisville. Use your UofL email to sign up. The e-books can be borrowed until May 25. The following texts are a sample of what’s available:
Stokstad’s Art: A Brief History
Art of Mesopotamia
Greek Art and Archaeology
History of Modern Art
Janson’s History of Art
Roman Art & Archaeology
The Art of Writing About Art
What is “Islamic Art”?
Check out the Art Library Remote Resources and Services guide for information about remote access to library resources and services for art faculty and students. If you have any questions about accessing resources while off-campus, contact the Art Library at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student journalists have narrated the evolving story of UofL’s cultural life for decades through its student newspaper, The Louisville Cardinal. Looking up these stories is much easier now that Archives and Special Collections has made historic issues of the newspaper available online.
A gift from David A. Jones, Jr. and Mary Gwen Wheeler covered the cost of digitizing The Cardinal’s 1926-2013 issues. The work was labor-intensive, including scanning aging issues of the paper, indexing each page and describing it for the online archive. Issues from 2014 on are available through the Cardinal’s issuu.com profile.
Archives and Special Collections has been preserving paper and microfilm copies of the paper since the founding of University Archives and Records Center in 1974. But printed newspapers grow brittle with age. Digitizing the newspaper reduces the burden on fragile originals, and because the archive is full-text searchable, relevant stories are much easier to find.
The University of Louisville’s student newspaper has been published, under a variety of names, since September 24, 1926. Sometimes called the University of Louisville’s Cardinal or simply Cardinal, it became The Louisville Cardinal in 1966, a title it retains today. The Cardinal – as it is more generally known – currently produces both print and web editions, providing a training ground for student-journalists.
While it has always served as an important news source for the University community, past issues are used by researchers – including students and alumni/ae – to investigate the history of the University, the nature of student life, and the impact of local, national, and global events on our community. It is also a wonderful place to stroll down memory lane.
A group of descendants of I. Willis Cole, founding publisher of The Louisville Leader (1917-1950), gathered last week in the offices of the University of Louisville Archives and Special Collections to celebrate a milestone – the transcription of all issues of the historic African American weekly newspaper.
An online searchable archive of the newspaper’s stories was made possible by a crowdsourced transcription project launched seven years ago by Archives and Special Collections. Now the public can easily peruse the newspaper’s stories, which included local, regional, national, and international news as well as school, church, sports, theater, club, business, and social events.
First published on November 10, 1917 and continuing weekly until September 30, 1950, six months after Cole’s death, the newspaper had a strong editorial voice.
“It was a newspaper that celebrated freedom, spoke to power and advocated for the betterment of everyone,” said Aaron Cole, I. Willis Cole’s grandson.
“I was a white child in Louisville in the 1930s and 40s . . . and I thought civil rights began in 1950,” said Tom Owen, UofL archivist and historian. “It didn’t. You can’t hold these pages without realizing that civil rights began long before the 1950s.”
Fully digitized and publicly available since February 2013, the Leader has been an important resource for scholars and researchers. When a member of Ken Burns’ team working on a Jackie Robinson documentary sought to determine whether Robinson was jeered and booed in Louisville when he played with the (all-white) Major League, the Leader was able to provide an answer: yes. Among many other requests for information from the Leader’s pages, a local blues society consulted it for research on a historical marker; and an ASC intern consulted it to write a graduate paper on the segregation of Louisville’s public park system.
Original copies of the newspaper were stored at the Cole Publishing Company, where Aaron Cole said “there may have been a few field mice who were also enjoying it.” These copies were badly damaged by a fire in 1954. Eventually, the family gave the badly deteriorated bulk of the collection to Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky, who loaned them to the University of Louisville in 1978 for microfilming.
In 2011, ASC personnel had the microfilm scanned, intending to provide free online access, but the poor quality of the optical character recognition (OCR) hindered the discoverability of the content to search engines.
Fortunately, a solution lay in online crowdsourced transcription, whereby volunteers type the stories from their home or office computer. The project involved many Libraries personnel, including the server administrator, digital technologies systems librarian, web services librarian, and archivists, who collaborated to set up the software and design its look and workflow. A Public History graduate student interning in fall 2012 prepared issues for uploading into ASC’s Digital Collections and articles for transcription.
ASC launched the Louisville Leader Transcription Project during African-American History Month in 2013, and continued to upload articles for transcription, allowing volunteers and ASC personnel to transcribe text for search until mid-October 2019.
Digital Initiatives Librarian Rachel Howard said that by observing patterns in usage and hearing from some volunteers, she and her colleagues have learned many valuable lessons from the project.
“People choose to transcribe for the same reasons they seek to volunteer in-person in libraries, museums, archives, and historical societies,” she said. “It’s because they are interested in history, they want to contribute, and they have time to do so.
“The work of the volunteer transcribers didn’t need editing. Only one transcription failed to include the text of the article itself, and it was not spam, but a commentary on the current state of a public housing project that was new (and full of hope) in a 1940 issue of the Leader.”
One “super-user,” a local woman now in her 80s who contributed her time almost every day for many years, emailed Howard frequently when she noticed an incomplete article or a glitch with the software. Some of Howard’s favorite quotes from the contributor include: “I am now transcribing events that took place when I was 10 years old” “At all times we should keep in mind that ‘history’ is what we are living right now. We still have far to go, but oh, how far we have come.”; and “I am enjoying this . . . I know I am making a contribution, and in the process I am getting a good look at history from a different perspective. . . I feel that I have known some of these people, their clubs and church work, etc., as well as some of the issues that had meaning for them. I googled the Bard-Fleming case last week because I wanted to know how it ended. . . Yes, I am getting something out of this, too.”
“I really just want to thank everybody in the community, here and online, who made this accomplishment possible,” Howard said.
By Rob Detmering Information Literacy Coordinator / Humanities Teaching & Reference Librarian
Graduate school is professionally and personally rewarding, but it’s rarely easy. Graduate students in all fields regularly experience a great deal of stress as they learn to manage the multiple responsibilities of research, writing, teaching, and networking. In this high-stakes environment, the pressure to be productive is often immense. There are always new things to learn and new skills to master.
With decades of experience working with graduate students, librarians in Ekstrom Library’s Research Assistance and Instruction Department (RAI) understand the unique needs of this population and the challenges they face on the road to professionalization. As part of our ongoing efforts to make life a little easier for graduate students, we are pleased to announce the release of the Productive Researcher Portal, an online resource offering a variety of tools and tips for advanced researchers. This exciting new venture, which also features content developed by our partners in the University Writing Center, complements the face-to-face instruction and assistance we already provide for graduate students.
The Productive Researcher Portal incorporates strategies for conducting comprehensive literature searches, guidance on writing and publishing, information on free productivity tools such as EndNote citation management software, and much more. The engaging infographics and short videos on the site help answer many of the questions that get lost amid the day-to-day tasks and looming deadlines of graduate study: How do I know if I’ve found all the sources I need for my literature review? How do I manage the dissertation writing process? What journals are likely to publish my first article manuscript? What are these citation metrics I’ve been hearing so much about? We have addressed these kinds of questions through our work leading the Graduate School’s Publishing Academy, and we can now make much of this important content easily accessible to all students through the new portal.
One of the primary goals of the Productive Researcher is to promote graduate student success, but the site may also help faculty at the university enhance their knowledge of the current scholarly landscape. Faculty may especially benefit from information on tracking the impact of publications for promotion and tenure, including the evolving concept of altmetrics, as well as advice on creating data management plans, which are often required by funding agencies. And certainly any researcher can benefit from cool productivity tools like Evernote that make the research process more efficient.
Check out the Productive Researcher Portal and let us know what you think!
By Anna Marie Johnson
Not many people know that librarians publish articles and other types of scholarship. One piece of scholarship that has been ongoing at the University of Louisville since 1997 is on the topic of information literacy or teaching students how to find, evaluate, and use information. This year will be the last that a bibliography, founded by former University Libraries Dean Hannelore Rader, will be compiled at UofL Libraries. But how did it come to reside here in the first place?
Dean Rader brought this bibliography of 596 articles, books, and reports with her when she came to UofL in 1997 from Cleveland State University where she had been library director since 1987.
Rader’s road to librarianship was not a straightforward one. Born shortly before World War II in 1937 and later a refugee from East Germany, she initially wanted to go into the foreign service as a young college graduate (the first in her family), but her East German background was not viewed favorably in 1960s Washington D.C., despite the fact that she was fluent in German, Russian, English, and Spanish. Thwarted in her first career choice and needing a job, she worked in a library as a children’s librarian (despite not having a MLS), completed tax forms for others, and finally ended up working at the University of Michigan’s remote storage facility, during which she earned her MLS from the University of Michigan. In 1968, she was hired at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) as a humanities librarian. This began her career as a leader in the library instruction realm. In a 1996 interview, when asked about qualities in a leader she said “I think you have to like what you do, and you have to like people.” As someone who worked for her for twelve years, I can attest that it was clear that she loved what she did and she was an inspiring people-person.
A visionary ahead of her time, Dean Rader was present for the birth of the library instruction movement back in the early 1970s as the first head of library orientation at EMU. As a part of her work at EMU, Rader surveyed the extant literature on librarian instruction. Out of that effort came the annual bibliography, published formally for the first time in 1974 in the second volume of Reference Services Review. That first bibliography was only two pages in length and contained 29 entries. Rader continued publishing an annual accounting of the literature of library orientation and instruction from 1975 onward. By 1984, it had mushroomed to 13 pages with 161 entries when Rader took over as editor of the journal. She continued to compile the bibliography by herself until she invited me to join her in 2000; in 2001, she handed it over to me and the Reference Department (now Research Assistance and Instruction). Compiling it has been a fascinating way to stay current in the literature of our field, and provided leadership opportunities for the librarians who have worked on it, something Dean Rader envisioned.