June 2011

The team has officially finished surveying and we are busy editing records and getting the collections search website ready to be made public. The website will feature over 1100 collections at over 40 institutions, private spaces and community organizations. We hope to make the site public by mid August.

In the meantime the conference planning is moving along well. The conference, "Full Exposure: Archives and Community Collaboration" will be held on October, 24th to October 26th, 2011 at the University of Chicago and the Dusable Museum of African American History. We are also pleased to announce that our featured plenary speaker will be Dr. Tukufu Zuberi. Please check out our conference page for more information about the conference.

-Bergis Jules

May 2011

This month the survey team is continuing work on the search site by editing the records soon to be made public. We are also making progress planning our conference in October. The conference title is "Full Exposure: Archives and Community Collaboration". We hope to nail down the conference date and plenary speaker in the next two weeks.

-Bergis Jules

April 2011

This month the survey team wrapped up work at Kartemquin Films and surveyed at the Newberry Library. We also surveyed an excellent Second Space collection at the ETA Creative Arts Foundation. So officially we are finished surveying our member collections and we are winding down surveying the Second Space members. But since we acquire more Second Space members frequently, surveying will continue with them throughout the rest of this year. In the meantime we are getting the public search interface ready for the publication by fixing small technical issues with the website and editing the records. We are also working hard to plan the end of survey conference which will be held sometime in late October of this year. More details on the conference and the search site will be available soon.

-Bergis Jules

March 2011

This month we are surveying at Kartemquin Films and continuing with our committee meetings for planning the BMRC Survey Initiative Conference. We are also continuing with records clean up and editing in database. The survey is winding down and after nearly two years of surveying we have worked with over 1000 collections which translates to over 25,000 linear feet of materials of various formats at over 30 institutions. We will probably survey at a few more institutions over the next couple of months but the bulk of that work is complete. We will use the remaining months up until the conference in October 2011 to clean up and edit the records in the database to get them ready for the public. We are also using the next few months to finish building the collections search site where the public will be able to access information about the collections we have surveyed thus far.

-Bergis Jules

February 2011

This month we surveyed collections at Depaul University Archives, the Sulzer Regional Branch of the Chicago Public Library and the Loyola University Archives. We have also put together a conference planning committee to begin planning the end of survey conference for the BMRC Survey Initiative. More information on the conference and a BMRC conference page will be coming soon.

-Bergis Jules

January 2011

This month Lisa and Andy surveyed collections at the Women and Leadership Archives at the Lake Shore campus of Loyola University Chicago. The team also surveyed at the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College Chicago. In the coming months we will be surveying collections at Depaul University, Kartemquin Films and the Loyola University Special Collections.

The Black Metropolis Research Consortium was recently awarded a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) in the amount of $499,500. The BMRC is very thankful to CLIR and for this generous award. The award will allow us to continue building on the important work we already do by giving us the means to process and create EAD finding aids for a select number of the collections we have surveyed.

-Bergis Jules

December 2010

This was a very short month for the survey team. While we did survey a small number of collections at Dominican University we spent most of the month updating and editing records in the database and reaching out to Second Space members.

-Bergis Jules

November 2010

Lisa and Andy have finished the survey of the Chicago History Museum collections including the photograph collections and the off site materials. Many thanks to Alison Eisendrath, Sarah Dorpinghaus and the rest of the CHM staff for accommodating us. The month of November will see us surveying at the Chicago Defender, the Art Institute of Chicago and Dominican University. This month we will also be surveying a very important Second Space member, the People's Law Office. PLO is an extremely important law firm in the city representing victims of police brutality, police torture, wrongful convictions and sentencing etc. Mr. Flint Taylor and other attorneys at the PLO have successfully represented citizens against the city of Chicago including the family of the murdered Black Panther Fred Hampton and other people who were tortured by former Chicago Police Chief John Burge. We are excited to work with this collection and thank the People's Law Office for letting us in.

As far as professional development, the BMRC is continuing its workshop series "A Gathering Place for the Second Space" by sponsoring a full day workshop this month. In addition, the BMRC is co-sponsoring a workshop with the Society of American Archivists and the Chicago History Museum. The first workshop sponsored by the BMRC, "Copyright and African American Collections", will be held on November 1st from 9am to 5pm at the Harold Washington Library Center. The workshop will be taught by Peter Hirtle and attendance is by invitation only. The second, "Advanced Appraisal for Archivists", will be taught by Mark Greene and will be held on November 12th from 9am to 5pm at the Chicago History Museum. This workshop is part of SAA's continuing education program.

-Bergis Jules

October 2010

In October Lisa and Andy will be returning to the Chicago History Museum to survey the photograph collection and finish surveying some archival collections they did not get a chance to see back in June and July. This month we will also be reconnecting with some Second Space members in hopes of surveying their collections. Some of these include the Gerber/Hart Library, Kennedy King College archives and the Carruther's Center for Inner City Studies.

-Bergis Jules

September 2010

We had been waiting for a long time to survey the collections at the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature at the Woodson Regional Branch of the Chicago Public Library. We would like to thank Michael, Beverly and Bob for being so accommodating to us. We really had a great time going through the amazing collections at the Harsh. The staff at Harsh with the help of Mapping the Stacks have recently processed and created finding aids for some very important collections including the Rev. Addie Wyatt and Claude Wyatt Papers, Path Press Archives, the Illinois Writers Project/Negro in Illinois Papers, and the Robert S. Abbott and John H. Sengstacke Family Papers. There are of course many other collections of note. Researchers can find at least an abstract and in many cases a finding aid about each collection by going through the archival collections link on the library's website. This feature of the Harsh collection made our jobs a lot easier when it came to learning about the collections while we were surveying.

-Bergis Jules

August 2010

This month Lisa and I surveyed some great collections at the Dusable Museum of African American History. We would like to thank Bea Julian for being so helpful and accommodating to us during our time there. Some of the highlights of the archives at Dusable include the Margaret Burroughs Papers, the Bessie Coleman Collection, Congressman Charles Haynes Papers, Leonidas Berry Papers and the Metz Lochard Papers. Of course there are many other great collections at Dusable and we are thankful to get the chance to include all of them in the survey.

-Bergis Jules

July 2010

This month we will be surveying at the Harold Washington Library Center. As Chicago's largest public library branch there are obviously some very good collections to survey there. We are especially looking forward to surveying the Harold Washington papers. This month we will also be surveying at Kennedy King College, the Gerber/Hart Library and Northeastern Illinois' Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies.

Also, this month the Black Metropolis Research Consortium will be hosting it's first Preservation Workshop for our Second Space members and other who are interested. The workshop will be held on Tuesday, July 2oth from 9am to 3pm at the Dusable Museum of African American History.

-Bergis Jules

June 2010

This month Lisa and Andy surveyed at the Chicago History Museum. They had a great time surveying there and looked at some very interesting collections. Some of these included the Church Federation Records, the Claude Barnett Papers and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters Records. There are many more exciting collections at the Chicago History Museum. Lisa and Andy will be going back in October to survey the photograph files.

This month I also surveyed at Malcolm X College and the Vandercook College of Music. I had meetings with the Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies and we hope to get access to their collections soon. This month we also had Kennedy King College join us as a new member. We are very excited to have them on board.

-Bergis Jules

May 2010

This month Lisa and Andy will be surveying at the Chicago History Museum. Some of the notable collections there include the Business and People for the Public Interest records, the Carol Moseley Braun papers and the Claude Barnett/Associated Negro Press collection. Lisa and Andy are very excited to be surveying the collections at the CHM. For the rest of the month we will be working on locating more Second Space members with a specific focus on religious collections documenting the experiences of African Americans in Chicago.

-Bergis Jules

April 2010

This month was very busy for the BMRC. We surveyed four Second Space members and made contacts with several others. The members we surveyed include the Illinois Labor History Society, Malcolm X College, Northeastern Illinois University, Lane Tech Alumni Association and Chicago Youth Centers. We are very thankful to the staff at these institutions and organizations. They have been very accommodating to us by letting us into their space.

This month Lisa and I also presented at the Midwest Archives Conference which was held in Chicago from April 22nd-24th. I chaired and Lisa presented for a session entitled Re-Casting the Net: Redefining Regional Archival Surveys and Expanding Access to Under-represented Cultural Collections. Lisa discussed the work of the BMRC survey project over the past year and the two other panelists discussed similar survey projects underway at the Wisconsin Historical Society and the University of Notre Dame. You can view a copy of Lisa's power point presentation here. Lisa and Andy Steadham, one of the BMRC survey archivists, will also be presenting at the E-Chicago conference on April 30th in Chicago. Their session is entitled Community Archives in Chicago. Andy will discuss the BMRC survey project.

-Bergis Jules

March 2010

Beginning this month we will be surveying at Northwestern University. We will be viewing records from the Special Collections Library, University Archives and the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies. We are continuing with our push to survey Second Space collections and this month we have surveyed collections at the Rush University Medical Center Archives and the Midwest Nursing History Resource Center Archives. Notable collections at each of these institutions include the Leonidas H. Berry papers at Rush University Archives and the Michael Reese Hospital Nursing School Records at Midwest Nursing History Resource Center.

Some other Second Space organizations and institutions where we have conducted surveys recently include the Spertus Institute, UIC Library of the Health Sciences, Shorefront Legacy Center, Bronzeville Historical Society and the International Society of Sons and Daughters of Slave Ancestry. We are very excited that so many members of the community are willing to participate in the survey and realize that their records hold significant research value. We are looking forward to discovering more of these collections.

-Bergis Jules

February 2010

We have been surveying at the University of Chicago for the past month and I am happy to say we are finished with those collections. We expected to find some very good stuff at U of C and we were not disappointed. A few of those great collections include the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference records, the Allison Davis papers and the American Civil Liberties Union, Illinois Division records. Lisa Calahan also discovered a very interesting slave story represented through letters and court documents which she will be writing about soon in our blog. Keep an eye out for that. It is truly an amazing story. In March we will begin surveying at Northwestern.

-Bergis Jules

January 2010

Happy New Year. 2009 was a great year for us at the BMRC Survey Project. We now have a solid staff in place and we are moving along at a very good pace. To date we have surveyed over 5500 linear feet of materials and over 200 collections. In January and February, we will be surveying at the University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center. We are excited to work with the Special Collections Research Center and looking forward to the large number of collections we will be surveying. The staff there has been very accommodating to us as we conduct our initial research before we begin surveying the collections. Keep an eye out for our blog. First post coming soon.

-Bergis Jules

December 2009

This month we surveyed at the Roosevelt University Archives. Although there weren't a large number of relevant records, Laura Mills directed us to a few very important collections including the Biographical Collection, the Correspondence Collection and the Frank Untermyer papers. Continuing our search for second space members, we have been in some good discussions with the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies and they have agreed to allow us to survey their records of Michael Reese hospital and some other relevant collections.

On another note we have moved to our new offices this month. We are still in the same building and still on the second floor but have just moved down the hall. We are very happy about this much needed extra space we have acquired especially since we added two new staff members and will be searching for an intern soon.

-Bergis Jules

November 2009

This month we will be surveying at the University of Illinois at Chicago. There are some very exciting collection in the UIC archives including the BPI-Business and Professional People for the Public Interest records, the Chicago Urban League Records, the Hull House Association records, the Hull House Collection and the Sierra Leone Collection. We are also moving forward on partnering up with more second space members this month. We have found a small but exciting collection on African American nursing education at the Midwest Nursing History Resource Center at the UIC College of Nursing.

-Bergis Jules

October 2009

This month we will be surveying at Chicago State University and finishing up at the Chicago Housing Authority. We are looking forward to working with the Archivists at Chicago State and especially looking forward to their collections including, the CSC Oral History Research Program records, their collection of materials on Maxwell Street and the Book Circle Records. We have also hired two part-time Archivists to help us with the survey. Andrew Steadham and Lauren Kalal began working with us at the end of September. They are excellent additions to the team and will help the process be more efficient and thorough.

-Bergis Jules

September 2009

This month we will be surveying two very different but important collections. Our work this month will take us to The Little Black Pearl Art Center and also to the Chicago Housing Authority. The fact that one of these is an art center and the other houses the records of public housing in Chicago, is an excellent example of the scope of materials and institutions the BMRC surveys. This month we also hope to finalize the hiring of at least one part-time early career archivist for a one year position. We hope to have them hired and begin training before the end of the month. This new employee will be a vital addition to the survey team. Otherwise we have met with each of our member institutions who we will be surveying over the coming year. We are not only been introducing ourselves as the survey team but also introducing and in some cases re-introducing and explaining the survey and our process. Everyone has been very supportive and excited to see the process begin at their institutions. We have also found that there is great anticipation across the board to see the benefits of the database when it is made public. It will be a truly excellent research resource.

-Bergis Jules

August 2009

This month we are surveying collections at The Little Black Pearl, Chicago Housing Authority and the photography collection of Jim Taylor. In July, we completed a survey of Eric Werner's photography collection. That was a great experience for Lisa and I; not only because the collection is excellent but also because Eric was very welcoming and and open to us including the collection in our survey. So, thanks again Mr. Werner. In June, we surveyed the collections at Illinois Institute of Technology. Thanks to Catherine Bruck and Ralph Pugh for all their help, providing us with an excellent space to work and for being so accommodating. This summer we have also met with institutions whose surveys are later on our survey calender in order to introduce ourselves, define the project and take the opportunity to show off the database and all the wonderful things it will be able to do for their collections. Lisa and I would like to extend a thank you to all the institutions and individuals involved - you have been very accommodating and we know it can be difficult to create this whole new set up for us. In the meantime, keep checking back here for more updates as the project moves along.

-Bergis Jules