Baltimore Africana Archives Initiative

The Baltimore Africana Archives Initiative has three prongs: (1) building African American historical collections at JHU, (2) community-based archives engagement in West Baltimore, and (3) public exhibition programming. By the year 2030, the Billie Holiday Project for Liberation Arts and The Sheridan Libraries hope to grow a collection of African American primary sources with a special emphasis on local history and culture that stands unprecedented in Maryland. In collaboration with donors and institutional partners around the city, we are building collections that illuminate the region’s arts, politics, and history—helping to reestablish Baltimore’s central place in the growth and development of the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Recent acquisitions include the John Clark Mayden Collection—100 of his important urban Baltimore photographs shot between 1974 and 2012—the Ethel Ennis and Earl Arnett Collection, and the William Worthy Papers. Other acquisitions in progress include the Melvin Brown Papers and Hoen Printing Company Collection.

two older, Black men sitting on a stoop
(Photo Credit: John Mayden)

A Sampling of Africana Archives at Johns Hopkins

  • John Clark Mayden photograph collection
  • Black Panther press photograph collection
  • Paul Robeson collection
  • Black Student Union records
  • Sammy Davis, Jr. script collection
  • Josephine Baker collection
  • Twentieth-century American writers collection
  • Johnny T. Hill album, 1930 – 1943
  • African American photo postcard collection, 1905-1946
  • Johnnie Newton letters collection
  • Birney anti-slavery pamphlet collection, 1784-1909
  • Free Negro newspaper clippings collection, 1848-1905

For more info or to plan a visit to the special collections library, explore The Sheridan Libraries.