Community histories or community archives are the grassroots activities of documenting, recording and exploring community heritage to create more inclusive stories of a people’s history. Community-based archives, frequently staffed by volunteer and non-professional archivists, have existed in Baltimore’s literate African American communities for over a century. The JHU-UB Community Archives Program, a joint program of BHPLA and the University of Baltimore Special Collections and Archives, endeavors to support the dedicated efforts of Black community archivists by strengthening the visibility and efficacy of community archive and heritage activities.
The broad goals of the JHU-UB partnership are to:
- Process endangered historical records documenting the lived experiences of Black Baltimoreans
- Build grassroots stewardship capacity in reclaiming and preserving rare historical assets by providing direct technical assistance to Black cultural and faith-based institutions in Baltimore City
- Train emerging cultural heritage workers in methods of culturally-appropriate community engagement for the cultivation and preservation of African American historical artifacts