Grant will fund the digitization of a large portion of the Auburn Avenue Library’s collection.
The Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a four-year, $2,000,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation. This grant will support the library’s collection processing, digitization, and community outreach engagement activities.
The Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History is among five national recipients of this prestigious grant, including the Chicago Public Library, New York Public Library, Howard University, and the College of Charleston.
With this grant, Auburn Avenue Research Library Administrator, Victor E. Simmons, Jr., along with Head Archivist, Derek Mosley, and his team, will enhance the library’s digitization lab, allowing for more efficient processing of over 20 collections. The Andrew J. Young Papers, the Komozi Woodard Amiri Baraka Collection, and the Hollywood Studios for Coloreds Photographic Negative Collection are among the collections that will be digitized with the funds.
The Andrew J. Young Papers span more than 50 years and document the career and family life of the esteemed civil rights leader and diplomat, Andrew J. Young. The collection contains a diverse range of materials, including correspondence, speeches, press releases, calendars, books, minutes, reports, publications, articles, photographs, scrapbooks, artifacts, textiles, trophies and awards, artwork, posters, programs, campaign memorabilia, manuscripts, travel documents, notes, sermons, ephemera, and audio-visual material.
The Komozi Woodard Amiri Baraka Collection is a rare collection of organizational records, print publications, articles, poems, plays, and speeches by Amiri Baraka. Dr. Komozi Woodard generously made the collection available to the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History.
The Hollywood Studios for Coloreds Photographic Negative Collection contains approximately 120,000 photo-negatives documenting African American life in Macon, Georgia, and surrounding areas. The collection includes family and group photographs from 1940-1970, providing an intimate glimpse into the daily lives of African Americans during this time.
“The Fulton County Library System is honored to collaborate with an organization as prestigious as the Mellon Foundation. We look forward to expanding the reach of these incredibly important collections beyond the four walls of the library,” said Gayle Holloman, Executive Director of the Fulton County Library System in Atlanta.
“We are extremely grateful to the Mellon Foundation for their generous support,” said Victor E. Simmons, Jr., Auburn Avenue Research Library Administrator. “This grant will enable us to greatly expand the reach and impact of our collections, and we are excited to share these resources with the community.”
This grant will not only preserve and make these collections accessible to researchers, students, and residents, but it will also ensure their longevity for future generations. The Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History and the Fulton County Library System are thrilled to receive this grant and are committed to continuing to promote scholarship and education on African American culture and history.
The project began in March 2023 and will be completed in March 2027.
About the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and Historywww.fulcolibrary.org/auburn-avenue-research-library.Anchoring the west end of the Sweet Auburn historic district, the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History (AARL) opened in May 1994 in Atlanta. A special library of the Fulton County Library System, it is the first public library in the Southeast to offer specialized reference and archival collections dedicated to the study and research of African American culture and history and of other peoples of African descent. The mission of The Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History is to promote specialized library service, archival resources, and culturally/educationally related activities essential for study and use by the general public, students, and scholars of the culture and history of peoples of African descent. Learn more at
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