Thursday, May 08, 2008

Press Release: Civil Rights Digital Library

I received the press release below last week. Personally, what makes this collection valuable it that it contains a lot of film of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. talking. While we celebrate Dr. King's life and accomplishments each year, most people have seen very little film of him talking. He was more than a few sound bites and selected images...and here you can see (and hear) that.

Civil Rights Digital Library

Delivering a news film archive and related historical materials from educational institutions across the U.S., the Civil Rights Digital Library premiered on the Web this week.

Athens, Ga., April 29, 2008 - The Civil Rights Digital Library (CRDL) is the most ambitious and comprehensive initiative to date to deliver educational content on the Civil Rights Movement via the Web.

The CRDL promotes an enhanced understanding of the Movement trough its three principal components: 1) a digital video archive delivering 30 hours of historical news film allowing learners to be nearly eyewitnesses to key events of the Civil Rights Movement, 2) a civil rights portal providing a seamless virtual library on the Movement by aggregating metadata from more than 75 libraries and allied organizations from across the nation, and 3) instructional materials to facilitate the use of the video content in the learning process.

The centerpiece of the site is a collection of more than 30 hours of historical news film held by the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia Libraries. These moving images—about 450 clips--cover a broad range of key civil rights events, including the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas (1957); the Atlanta Temple bombing (1958); Atlanta sit-ins (1960); Freedom Rides (1961); desegregation of the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech (1961); the Albany Movement (1961-1962); desegregation of Ole Miss (1962) and University of Alabama (1963); and Americus Movement (1963, 1965); Birmingham demonstrations (1963); among many other topics.

The video archive covers both national figures and local leaders. There is more than two hours of film related to Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King’s role in the Albany Movement is documented extensively, including clips of speeches at mass meetings, his arrest by local police, press conferences, and his visit to a pool hall to urge local African Americans to adopt non-violence in achieving change in Albany. Among the clips is coverage of King’s reaction to President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, his receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, and his funeral in 1968.

In addition to the news film, the digital library includes related collections from 75 libraries, archives, and museums across the nation. Most are original documentation of the period, such as oral histories, letters, diaries, FBI files, and photographs.

A partnership with the online New Georgia Encyclopedia is a key component, providing concise, authoritative articles on events and individuals associated with the Civil Rights Movement in Georgia, supplemented by images and multi-media files.

The CRDL initiative includes a special site for teachers, called "Freedom on Film" (currently in development) that relates civil rights stories from nine Georgia towns and cities, along with related news film, discussion questions, lesson plans, and related readings. Freedom on Film is being developed by University of Georgia faculty and students, along with scholars from other institutions.

The Civil Rights Digital Library receives financial support from a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded to the University of Georgia by the federal Institute for Museum and Library Services.

The CRDL will continue to grow through its partnerships with allied organizations across the U.S.

Visit the Civil Rights Digital Library:

Contacts: Dr. P. Toby Graham, Director, Digital Library of Georgia, University of Georgia,, 706.583.0213

Ruta Abolins, Director, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, University of Georgia,, 706.542.4757

Dr. Barbara McCaskill, Professor, English Dept., University of Georgia,, 706.542.2250


Anonymous said...

lovely. i like

Anonymous said...

This digital library is also valuable because it contains a wealth of information about others who had a great impact in the civil rights movement... not just MLK. Through this project, it is evident that a lot of work has been done to make sure the voices of the "less famous" are accessible.