December 2012

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In This Issue
From the Director
Exhibitions and Programs Aid in Center Outreach
Tours and Classes Provide Introduction to Amistad Holdings
Masons and Mentoring: Student Internships at Amistad
Haitian Delegation Visits Center
Holiday Greeings

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Amistad by the Numbers
During the past year, the Amistad Research Center:

Added 758 books/periodicals to our library collection

Processed over 244 linear feet of archival materials

Assisted over 401 visiting researchers from 27 states and 5 foreign countries

Assisted an additional 954 researchers via phone and email

Has been visited by over 1507 visitors via tours, workshops, and classes

Serviced 235 reproduction requests and provided over 12104 photocopies and photo/media reproductions

Sponsored 5 exhibitions highlighting the Center's archival, printed, and art collections through related programming 
Make a Donation
From the Director
Throughout the year, we call attention to Amistad's need for funds which are devoted to the preservation and storage of collections, technology and equipment upgrades, and global expansion of access to our collections. During the months of November and December, we intensify those efforts with a final appeal and rely heavily on the generous response of constituents, individual friends, and institutional partners.


Last year's annual gifts were largely dedicated to costs associated with maintaining ideal archival storage facilities. With sufficient supplies, equipment, and dedicated staff, we managed phenomenal accomplishments in providing first-time access to many newly processed collections. Annual fund gifts also supported important programs and exhibitions that included the papers and artwork of Elizabeth Catlett. In another stimulating and informative program, Dr. Charles Molesworth discussed his recently published and acclaimed biography of Countee Cullen, and works from Amistad's Cullen collection were on display.


Ambitious 2013 plans call for a significant increase in the number of digital projects undertaken by the Center. The new projects will increase worldwide access to students and teachers, and encourage the incorporation of primary sources into K-12 curricula. We will continue work toward adoption of a collections management system that allows us to describe and provide online access to all of our holdings. We will also continue to increase professionalism and professional services, for which the Center has recently received wide-ranging recognition.


Gifts to the annual fund often make the difference in adapting to shrinking public allocations, pursuing new opportunities for growth, and improving outreach. These gifts also address baseline needs and allow timely response to unanticipated opportunities that can make a difference in the development and maintenance of excellent programs.


It is crucial to our success to receive gifts from as many friends of Amistad as possible. Private donors, from whom Amistad seeks major gifts and matching funds, routinely consider annual fund participation when making award decisions.


We have made enormous progress in the past year, largely because of strong bonds with caring and farsighted partners. Predictably, the future growth of Amistad Research Center depends on strengthening those bonds and continuing the partnerships. We ask that you give generously to continue our legacy of historical preservation. Visit our website or simply click the "Make a Donation" button to the left and make your donation today. 


Happy holidays and best wishes for good health and happiness throughout the New Year.

Executive Director
Lee Hampton
Exhibitions and Programs Aid in Center Outreach
Charles Molesworth
Countee Cullen biographer Charles Molesworth shared his thoughts on Cullen with a packed house in October.

In addition to providing access to millions of documents, photographs, books, and other materials for researchers and scholars in the Center's Reading Room, Amistad's exhibition program also allows visitors to share in the wonderful holdings found throughout our collections. The past few months have allowed the Center and its staff to showcase two excellent exhibitions and provide engaging programs to a wide audience.


In early October, the Center was pleased to participate in a New Orleans tribute to noted artist Elizabeth Catlett, who passed away in April 2012. A reception and one-night only exhibition entitled "The Art and Papers of Elizabeth Catlett" opened a weekend of commemorative events. The exhibition highlighted the Center's collection of the personal papers of Catlett, as well as thirteen pieces of artwork that are housed in Amistad's fine arts collection. The evening included an excellent discussion of the artist's life and work by Dr. Mia Bagneris of Tulane University's Art Department.


Later that month, Amistad hosted a book talk by Dr. Charles Molesworth, whose most recent book is the first full-scale critical biography of Harlem Renaissance poet Countee Cullen. Dr. Molesworth's lecture was held in conjunction with Amistad's exhibition "Yet Do I Marvel: Countee Cullen and the Harlem Renaissance," which caps off the Center's 2012 exhibition schedule.


Staff are currently putting the final touches on the Center's exhibition for the first quarter of 2013, which will highlight the recent acquisition of the records of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge Free & Accepted Masons of Louisiana. The exhibition will highlight the history of the Lodge and its founding in the 1860s, as well as its support of civil rights activities on the state and national level during the 20th century. The exhibition will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the organization and will be on display from January 7-March 29, 2013.


Other exhibitions in 2013 will include the following:  


African American Life and Photography

April 2 - June 14

This exhibition will highlight the vast photographic holdings of the Amistad Research Center, including works by Carl Van Vechten, Arnold de Mille, and Marion Palfi. It will document aspects of the daily lives of African Americans through the photographic lens.


Abolition and Emancipation

June 17 - September 27

In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, this exhibition will center on Amistad's holdings on the topics of slavery, abolition, and emancipation.


Schools of the American Missionary Association

October 1 - December 20

The tradition and history of schools founded by the American Missionary Association (AMA) during and following the Civil War is a long one. This exhibition will discuss the foundations and legacy of schools founded by the AMA, from elementary schools to normal schools to HBCUs against the backdrop of African American education in the 19th and 20th centuries.


Amistad will announce information about related receptions and programming for its 2013 exhibitions as details are finalized. Stay tuned... 

Tours and Classes Provide Introduction to Amistad's Unique Holdings
Xavier University class learns about archives
Christopher Harter speaks to a class of undergraduate students from Xavier University.
The Amistad Research Center is a year-round institution, but the months when school is in session are a particularly busy time for the Center and its staff. From class projects to dissertations to curriculum development, Amistad serves a broad range of students and teachers throughout the school year. Staff were fortunate to work with a number of interesting (and interested!) students and faculty over the past year. We featured visits from earlier in the year in our May 2012 newsletter, but wanted to share two highlights about more recent visits since the summer.

In September, Dr. Beth Manley of Xavier University of Louisiana's History Department visited with undergraduate students from her course on history research methods. Staff provided not only an introduction to the Center and its holdings, but also talked about the importance of primary sources, such as letters and photographs, for doing historical research and how to conduct research in an archives. The students later applied this information when it came time to help a community organization begin to organize its records. One of the Xavier students, Alexis Parker, extended her time at Amistad by interning with the Center. Her experiences are detailed elsewhere in this issue.

Barthelemy family visiting Amistad
Sixth grader Davin Barthelemy visited the Center in November for a class project on Martin Luther King Jr., along with his mother, Maritza, and sister, Jade.
Based on a recommendation from one of her colleagues, Katy Patterson, a 6th grade teacher at Lusher Charter School, contacted Amistad about how her students could utilize the Center's holdings for a unit she was teaching on the Civil Rights Movement. Ms. Patterson worked with staff to identify items already digitized and available online and incorporated those materials into her instruction. One of her students, Davin Barthelemy, made an extra effort to visit the Center to view items related to Martin Luther King Jr.

As Amistad enters 2013, one goal for the year is to increase the Center's digitization efforts in order to provide greater access to its holdings for K-12 instruction. Numerous requests are received from students around the country who are conducting research for class projects or assignments and need online access to primary source documents. Look for more information on Amistad's digital efforts through future issues of e-Amistad Reports and our social media.

Masons and Mentoring: Student Internships at Amistad
Intern Joi Martin sorts Masonic proceedings and publications.

The Amistad Research Center works to mentor undergraduate and graduate students in the field of archive and library work to enhance their studies and exposure to primary source research, as well as expand their knowledge of career options post-graduation. The Young Archivists Mentoring Program initiative assists in preservation and increased access to the archives and manuscripts collections by helping our small staff to meet Amistad's mission as a home to primary and secondary sources documenting America's ethnic and racial history and the contributions of underrepresented groups.


Amistad partnered this fall with the History Department at Xavier University of Louisiana to host two student internships within the Processing Department. With the support of Sister Barbara Hughes at Xavier, two undergraduate interns, Alexis Parker and Joi Martin, joined the processing team in September to tackle a large and complex project, the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons of Louisiana records (circa 1855-2002). The records consist of an extensive collection of Masonic and collected publications, correspondence, financial records, and photographs (50 linear feet). The records are significant, documenting the post-Reconstruction "long civil rights movement" (1877-1955); the modern civil rights movement (1955-1968); community development programs generated by the Lodge and its members; affirmative action and minority education in Louisiana; and internal administration and politics of the various lodges and orders within Louisiana and nationally.  


Intern Alexis Parker examines photographs.

Alexis Parker, a Xavier freshman from California, was trained to handle and clean fragile photographs, identify individuals and groups, and arrange them for cataloging. Alexis worked diligently with early portraiture of the many Masons and their family members dating from the 1880s and later gelatin professional prints used for Masonic publications (circa 1950-1970). The portraits within the records not only provide images of Grand Masters John Parsons, John G. Lewis, Sr., and John G. Lewis Jr., but represent a wonderful collection documenting professional photographers and studios within the State of Louisiana, such as Roy B. Moss, E.M. Robinson, John H. Williams, Nolan A. Marshal, Jas. Soler, Walter Allen Studio (Minden), Brennan's Studio (New Orleans), Kerr's Studio (Natchitoches), and Uhrbach's Studio (Natchitoches).


LaPlace, Louisiana, native Joi Martin, a senior at Xavier, worked with one of the largest physical portions of the records, Masonic proceedings and publications (20 linear feet). This extensive amount of printed proceedings for the Louisiana Grand Lodge and collected proceedings from other Prince Hall-affiliated lodges and orders in other states (circa 1855-1986) is rare for archives or library institutions to have within their collections. These materials required a great amount of care in handling with many from the mid-to-late 19th and early 20th century publications in extremely fragile condition. The significance of the proceedings provides documentation that tracks the history of Black Masonic lodges not only within Louisiana, but also throughout the United States. They also highlight a network of prominent citizens engaged through a spirit of philanthropy and brotherhood.
Haitian Delegation Visits Center
Dennis Kelly (l) of Pan Caribbean Consulting and Amistad Director Lee Hampton (r) meet with representatives of the Haiti-New Orleans Heritage Task Force: (l-r) Rene Jean-Jumeau, Minister of Energy Security; George Andy Rene, Task Force Chair and Director of PACEGI, and Alix Celestin, Director General of Haiti's Port Authority.

Amistad Research Center recently entered into a memorandum of understanding aimed at the exhibition of Amistad-owned artwork by an appropriate museum or institution of higher education in Haiti.


The agreement states that Amistad's artworks are highly relevant to the people and history of Haiti, and that Haiti's Presidential Advisory Commission for Economic Growth and Investment (PACEGI) wishes to support efforts to make the artwork available for Haitian academic researchers and public exhibition in Haiti.


Both parties expressed their mutual intent to discuss terms and conditions acceptable to Amistad. Amistad owns the Toussaint L'Ouverture Series by Jacob Lawrence that depicts the role of Toussaint L'Ouverture in the liberation of Haiti from France.


In addition to the Haitian Ministers, representatives from Amistad's Board of Directors, the Haiti-New Orleans Task Force, Mayor Mitch Landrieu's Office, and Dennis Kelly,Principal & General Counsel of Pan Caribbean Consulting, Inc. were on hand for the signing.

Holiday Greetings from the Amistad Research Center

Snow at Amistad

The Friendship of those we serve is the

foundation of our progress,

and in that spirit we say simply, but sincerely,

thank you and best wishes for a

joyous holiday season and a New Year

of peace and goodwill.


From the Staff of the Amistad Research Center