Civil Rights Collecting Institutions and the Facilitation of Public Engagement in the American South

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University of Alabama Libraries

Across the American South, civil rights memory institutions created by city and state governments and private organizations, preserve and communicate complex civil rights histories. Each of these institutions, for different reasons, influenced by their particular cultural, historical, and community contexts, emerged to preserve and present this information to their communities. In addition to their individual contexts, each institution has various organizational and community contexts, for example mission statements or community support and interest, that helps to drive their relationships with their chosen communities. These archival and historical elements influence the facilitation of relationships between civil rights memory institutions, their communities, and the generation of new ideas and concepts. Examples of this engagement can be seen at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, Alabama and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, Mississippi. This study will investigate how contexts, generated by the histories of Birmingham and Mississippi, inform how these institutions were created, organized, and how they engage with their chosen communities.

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American South, Civil Rights, Community Archives, Community Engagement, Memory Institution