Grant to highlight African Americans in STEM Fields

Amistad is about to take on another large project with the help of a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The grant will allow the Center to hightlight African American accomplishments in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.
The two-year project will process fifteen archival collections, drawing attention to the long history of African American achievement in the sciences. The completion of this project will not only position Amistad as a national leader of repositories holding collections documenting African Americans in STEM professions, but will also provide a young archivist in the early stages of his or her career valuable experience in the evaluation, organization, preservation, and description of complex archival collections. Selected items from the collections will also be digitized and added to Amistad’s online digital collections database, where they will be accessible to remote researchers.
Physicist Ronald Mickens' notes for a presentation  at Florida A&M University in 1985.

Physicist Ronald Mickens’ notes for a presentation at Florida A&M University in 1985.

Collections pertaining to science and mathematics are one of Amistad’s eleven core subject strengths and primary collection areas. This project will help increase the visibility of these collections, and help the Center engage a new generation of minority scientists through increased awareness of preceding generations of African American achievement in mathematics, the sciences, and related fields.
The grant will provide processing for the papers of Luther G. Bellinger, Albert Turner Bharucha-Reid, James Blackwell, Henry E. Braden III, Eugene Collins, Alexander Louis Jackson II, Ronald E. Mickens, Brent Taylor Pendleton, Joseph A. Pierce, Raymond J. Pitts, Jesse Olin Sheffield, George Thomas Jr., and Robert Ambrose Thornton, as well as the records of the Black Data Processing Association and the Parson vs. Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation employment discrimination case. Topics covered within these collections include mathematics and science education and mentorship, desegregation and the historic barriers faced by African Americans in the STEM fields, careers in medicine and aeronautics, and more.

The mission of the IMLS is to “inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement.” Amistad will be receiving one of thirty-seven grants from the organization, which is distributing a total of over two million dollars to worthy institutions. The Center’s grant is one of several awarded in the area of “Museum Grants for African American History and Culture,” and is intended to “provide professional training, technical assistance, internships, and outside expertise to museums that focus on African American life, art, history, and culture.” Read more about the grant and discover other grant-winners here.

Posted by Brenda Flora

(Image from the Ronald E. Mickens papers. May not be reproduced without permission.)


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