Digital Commons Celebrates Black History Month

We are excited to celebrate Black History Month by sharing just a few of the many publications in Digital Commons repositories reflecting the extraordinary contributions that African Americans have made to American history. There is a wealth of material across DC repositories on topics related to African American history, scholarship, and more—in your copious spare time you can browse the Digital Commons Network to explore these open access, full-text publications. One recent collection we’d like to highlight is from Kent State University honoring the illustrious legal career of Merle M. McCurdy. Mr. McCurdy’s story is an important piece of history furthering the progress of our nation, as picked up in this news piece about Kent State faculty publicizing Mr. McCurdy’s historic role and making this content openly available in their IR.

Digital Commons is honored to partner with many Historically Black Colleges and Universities in making their scholarship and unique institutional history widely accessible. Apropos to this topic, Tennessee State University’s Sociology, Social Work, & Urban Professions Faculty Research series includes this popular article on “Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Sustaining a Culture of Excellence in the 21st Century.” The History and Scholarship Digital Archives at the North Carolina Central University School of Law Library also publishes material analyzing and documenting black history related to their University, such as the North Carolina Central Law Review Journal article “A History of Struggle: NCCU School of Law Library,” along with NCCU scholar profiles, Law School Archives and faculty scholarship.

Alongside scholarly output, publishing alumni content is strategic for Digital Commons @ Langston, allowing Bettye Black, Director of Library Services at Langston University, to show how the library can meet the University’s needs. She sees this valuable content as central in supporting the campus mission of developing leaders and partnering with the local community, and indeed it has come to serve as a powerful community hub for the African American community in Oklahoma today. When Jameka Lewis, Head of Special Collections at Langston University, posted their yearbooks in the IR, she reported that “the response was incredible!” Langston has a vibrant extended community of alumni including African American dignitaries, local luminaries, and legacy students who are now connecting through the IR. Read more about Langston’s success in our blog.

Howard University is showcasing everything from journals and faculty scholarship in diverse fields to an Expert Gallery Suite of Howard scholars. A keystone collection is from the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, which elegantly describes its origins and goals:

 “What began in the early years of Howard University as a small collection of antislavery books and pamphlets is now one of the world’s premiere centers for the study of the Black experience. It has made possible new research and enabled scholars to probe more deeply into the complexities of Black history and culture. In linking its past accomplishments to its plans for the future, the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center continues in its unswerving commitment to preserve the legacy of people of African descent for this and future generations.”