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Title:The Battle for History in The Magic City: Historically Generated Contexts and The Rise of Pluralistic Collecting Institutions in Birmingham, Alabama
Author(s):Hirschy, Jeff
Social justice
Civil rights
Community archives
Community engagement
Abstract:Across the American South, collecting institutions created by city and state governments and private organizations, preserve and communicate complex local, personal, and regional histories. Each of these institutions, for different reasons, influenced by their particular set of historically generated contexts, emerged to preserve and present this information to their communities. In addition to their individual contexts, each institution has various organizational and community elements, for example mission statements or community support and interest, that helps to drive their relationships with their communities. Throughout the South, these historically generated contexts and institutional elements DO inform how memory institutions interact with their communities and researchers. In Birmingham, Alabama there are many collecting institutions that manage the history, narratives, and stories of that city. Two of the main ones, especially when it comes to the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement, that movement’s aftermath, engagement with their community, and Birmingham’s relationship with social justice, are the Birmingham Public Library Department of Archives and Manuscripts (BPLDAM) and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI). The goals of each institution revolve around telling the complete story of the history of Birmingham and the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement. This means not falling back on a master narrative like that of Jim Crow and white supremacy but moving towards the goals of a pluralistic historical narrative, pluralistic culture and society, and pluralistic collecting institutions.
Issue Date:2020-10-13
Series/Report:Knowledge Management
Records and Information Management
Archival Arrangement and Description
Information Seeking
Information Use
Intellectual Freedom Community Engagement
Genre:Conference Poster
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-10-09

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