In early April, LYRASIS issued grant checks to five Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU) institutions to support the preservation of photographic and audio-visual materials. The five HBCUs are participants in the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded HBCU Preservation Project.

This project is the third in a series that addresses the needs of HBCU collections that are of historical significance. These projects have been administered by LYRASIS in partnership with the HBCU Library Alliance, the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts, and the Image Permanence Institute. The current participating institutions were selected from among the sixteen HBCUs that were a part of the first two project.

Each of these institutions received $56,000 grants to fund the preservation of selected materials and promote their usage by faculty and students. Among the materials to be preserved are The Robert W. Woodruff Library at the Atlanta University Center’s photographs and audio recordings from the Interdenominational Theological Center collection which document the institution’s impact on race relations and civil rights in the U.S.

The Hampton University Archives and Museum will preserve reel to reel audio tapes of slave narratives as well as glass plate negatives and slides documenting the lives of freed slaves.

The John Hope and Aurelia E. Franklin Library at Fisk University will preserve photographs that document the history of Fisk University, Rosenwald schools, and such Harlem Renaissance luminaries as Marian Anderson, Pearl Bailey as well as audio oral histories.

The James B. Duke Memorial Library at Johnson C. Smith University will preserve images from the James Peeler collection that documents Charlotte’s African American population from 1940’s through the 1990’s as well as video tapes from the Black Media Association that presented positive images of African Americans in media and countered negative portrayals on commercial television.

The Tuskegee University Archives will preserve audio recordings of Civil Rights icons such as Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Shirley Chisholm, and Stokely Carmichael as well as an unpublished documentary about George Washington Carver.

Each of these five participants will employ two student interns who will gain experience working with collections materials and exposure to careers in library and archival management, conservation, and environmental control.

When these projects will conclude in June of 2016, they will have ensured the survival of significant materials and their impact on scholarship.

For more information about the HBCU Preservation Project, please contact Project Manager Steve Eberhardt at