"The Background for Our Future" : Locating the Black Archives in the Netherlands in Black Atlantic Traditions of Archival Activism
Number of pages
SourceThe New Americanist, 1, 4, (2020), pp. 59-99
Article / Letter to editor
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Engelse en Amerikaanse Letterkunde en Cultuur
The New Americanist
SubjectCultures of War and Liberation; Europe in a Changing World
This case study of The Black Archives (TBA), located in Amsterdam, examines the emergence, trans-Atlantic networks, and archivist and activist practices of TBA by locating them in both the Dutch racial context and black trans-Atlantic traditions of using archives as tools of anti-racism activism. While TBA exemplifies a broader trend towards community-led archival activism that Andrew Flinn and others have rooted in post-World War II identity-based politics, here it is placed in a longer tradition of especially African American archival activism by black intellectuals, historically black universities and colleges, and civil rights organizations during and after the Jim Crow era—with some of whom TBA’s founders and the activists whose collections they hold are directly connected. This enhances understanding of the nuts and bolts of archival activism and cultural transfer, and illuminates black European identity formation and usages of the African Diaspora and the United States as reference cultures and organizing tools for twenty-first century black European activists.
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