Library of Congress to Display Video Archive on Black Legacy

The HistoryMakers is the single largest archival collection of its kind in the world.

The Library of Congress announced on Tuesday the donation of a sprawling video archive featuring more than 2,000 interviews detailing African-American life, history and culture.

Averaging three to six hours in length, each interview also focuses on the struggles and achievements of the Black experience through first-person accounts of both unsung and well-known African-Americans, such as President Barack Obama, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee and Angela Davis.

“This culturally important collection is a rich and diverse resource for scholars, teachers, students and documentarians seeking a more complete record of our nation’s history and its people,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington in a statement.

The collection — launched by the non-profit research and educational institution the HistoryMakers — is compiled of 9,000 hours of content, including 14,000 analog tapes, 3,000 DVDs, 6,000 born-digital files, 70,000 paper documents and digital files and more than 30,000 photographs. The inclusion makes the HistoryMakers one of the first digital collections accepted into the nation’s repository.

“The HistoryMakers represents the single largest archival project of its kind since the Works Progress Administration’s initiative to document the experiences of former slaves in the 1930s,” said Julieanna Richardson, founder and executive director of the HistoryMakers. “This relationship with the Library of Congress represents a momentous occasion for our organization. With the Library of Congress serving as our permanent repository, we are assured of its preservation and safekeeping for generations to come.”

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(Photo: Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)

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