Schomburg, born on Jan. 24, 1874, in Puerto Rico, had an insatiable passion for the past and spent his life curating one of the largest-ever collections of Black history. The Center’s staff spent much of the COVID-19 pandemic digitizing his documents.
“A lot of people think, isn’t everything already online, isn’t everything all digitized?” said University of Delaware Black History professor Dr. Laura Helton. “But there are 11 million items in this building, and only a fraction of those old books and papers are digitized because it takes a lot of work.”
The Schomburg Center partnered with Fisk University in Nashville for the Transcribe-A-Thon. Students joined the Schomburg Center via video as they transcribed their digitized collection of Schomburg’s work. Last year, the Center and University were awarded a grant to digitize the historians’ works.
“Schomburg’s work remains critical to our understanding of the contributions of Black scholars, of all kinds, to amend narratives that seek to render people of African descent invisible,” said DeLisa Minor Harris, director of Library Services at Fisk, in a statement at the time. “We are excited about this important partnership that brings together two of the nation’s leading institutions for Black collections and research. Arturo Schomburg’s innovative work transformed Fisk’s collections, and the project will ensure all generations know and can appreciate the critical legacy and journey of Arturo Schomburg through the digital edition.”
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Source: Black Enterprise