National Museum of African American History and Culture Team Up with the NABJ Chicago Chapter to Host “Digitizing Black Narratives” at DuSuble Museum
By Amanda DeVoe
This Saturday, dozens gathered at the DuSable Museum of African American History to learn more about memorializing family heirlooms. The event, titled “Digitizing Black Narratives,” was organized by the National Museum of African American History and Culture in partnership with the NABJ Chicago Chapter.
Angela Ford, founder of the Obsidian Collection, started the event with a presentation of her own personal journey of preserving her family’s history. The Obsidian Collection is a virtual portal for African American culture providing public access to stock photos of historical, artistic and cultural significance gathered from across the country. The revenue from the collection goes back to the Black organizations where the photos originated. More on the Obsidian Collection here.
Ford noted that the fundamentals of an “Obsidian Conversation” are to gather family photos and heirlooms, digitize them using flash drives and other technology, and then sharing them with other family members. She encouraged attendees to reach out to older relatives to have those Obsidian Conversations and help preserve memories.
Ford then expanded her mission by archiving photos of the positive Black experience at the Chicago Defender. Her passion has helped her garner multiple grants and a partnership with Google’s Arts and Culture division. The event continued with an “In Conversation” between Ford and NABJ Chicago Chapter President Maudlyne Ihejirika. Ihejirika shared her own story of perseverance and preserving her family’s history. She helped write her mother’s book, “Escape from Nigeria: A Memoir of Faith, Love and War.” More on Ihejirika’s book here.
The conversation was followed by a few questions from the audience. Attendees then made their way to the lower level of the museum, where they were able to have family heirlooms digitized for free. People will have the opportunity to digitize family photos and keepsakes until the end of the month. Click here for more information.
The Obsidian Collection will officially launch in February 2020. This event was part of the National Museum of African American History’s Community Curation Program, which is in Chicago for the entire month of September.