The OMA in Performing Arts Resources

PAR Vol. 31

The journal Performing Arts Resources is published once a year by the Theatre Library Association. For its thirty first volume, edited by Kenneth Schlesinger, the theme was “State of the Profession: Performing Arts Librarianship in the 21st Century” and the OMA was featured!

With an Oregon State University 2015 Individual Learning Innovation Grant, the OMA worked with several students to create two iBooks featuring the Obo Addy Legacy Project and Milagro archival collections. The Milagro theatre and Obo Addy Legacy Project are two Portland based performing arts groups – a Latino based theatre and a Ghanaian music and dance group. The article discusses the iBooks projects, lessons learned, and future plans. It also covers the overall process of building relationships with both groups, making the archival collections accessible, and curating a physical exhibit.      

“Archives and the Arts: Showcasing the Histories of Communities of Color” Performing Arts Resources Vol. 31, pgs. 38-49. 

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The History of Queervallis

Professor Qwo Li Driskill speaking at the History of Queervallis event

On Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, the OSU Pride Center organized the event ”The History of Queervallis” with guest speakers Professor Qwo Li Driskill and Assistant Head Advisor for the College of Liberal Arts Tristen Shay who shared  their knowledge of queer history on campus and in the Corvallis area – and OSQA was there to film their stories!

Professor Driskill discussed his research on queer history on both the national and local level. He gave context to the OSU Queer Studies program by talking about the connections between the feminist and LGBTQ+ movements, and spoke specifically about the intersections between gender, sexuality, and race. Shay shared personal stories of his childhood, his activism in high school and college in support of the queer community, and his journey to OSU along with his continued work here in Corvallis.  

“The History of Queervallis” is available online – check it out!

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OSQA! The OSU Queer Archives

OSQA was delighted to host an event featuring the 2015 OSU LGBTQ+ Community Film by OSU student Kiah McConnell! Professor Bradley Boovy, OSQA co-founder, along with Natalia Fernandez, introduced the event attendees to the history of the establishment of the archives and shared their thoughts for the future of OSQA. Malik Ensley, OSQA intern 2015-2016, shared his hopes for his work this academic year, and we all invited the attendees to get involved in OSQA and encourage others to share their stories. The event included a showcasing of materials from various collections out in the reading room for attendees to peruse ~ to see a list of OSQA collections, be sure to check out the OSQA website.  

We then screened McConnell’s film and had a reception afterwards – and many great discussions took place!

Be sure to check out the OSU LGBTQ+ Community Film

Do you want to learn more about OSQA and get involved? Please contact us!

OSQA email:

OSQA Facebook Page

And, here are a few photos of the event:

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Celebrating 40 Years: OSU’s Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center

Black Student Union President Bobby Hill and Oregon State University President Robert MacVicar cut the ribbon for the new Black Cultural Center on April 26th, 1975 (Oregon Stater, June 1975, vol. 9 no.4)

On April 15, 2015, Oregon State celebrated the grand opening of the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center, just 11 days prior to the 40th anniversary of the original ribbon cutting in 1975. Although built on the same ground as the previous cultural center, much has changed for both the building and the Black Student Union which created the original center. The origins of the cultural center are themselves not free from strife, and as their website says, it came about in the “same way as many Cultural Centers around the country; through student protests, sacrifice, relentless determination, and struggle” (BCC Website). In the late 60’s the Black Student Union was threatening to leave Oregon State due to acts of discrimination and many students were boycotting classes and sporting events. In 1970, the university established the Office of Minority Affairs, and in 1975, the Black Cultural Center officially opened (BCC Website). The creation of the Black Cultural Center followed that of the Native American Longhouse in 1971, and came right before that of the Hispanic Cultural Center in 1976 (now called the Centro Cultural César Chávez). In 1991 the creation of the Asian & Pacific Cultural Center resulted in four of the seven cultural resource centers that exist on campus today.

Black Cultural Center in 1978 (The Beaver 1978)

The grand opening of the Black Cultural Center was the culmination of efforts by the Black Student Union and funding provided by the Associated Students body as well as the Alumni Center and the Corvallis Community. The center sought to promote the retention of African-American students by providing facilities, events, services and opportunities that would help students feel comfortable and be successful. The building was also an opportunity for other people to learn about African-American culture (The Beaver 2000). In 1991, the Assistant Coordinator for the Black Cultural Center, Donald Pendleton Jr., said that while the center was originally constructed to help students feel comfortable, as the number of students, including minorities, had increased, the center began to diversify and cater towards more students who were not African-American but wanted to see the center and learn about its ideas (The Beaver 1991). Jason Dorsette, Associate Director – Cultural Resource Centers, characterized the cultural centers as “educational learning labs for everyone to learn about…black America,” and the ways it has tied into the “larger society.” He stressed the importance of the centers in allowing people to learn about each other’s cultures. Dorsette also noted that cultural centers like the Black Cultural Center are open to anyone, even if the agenda and events within them is representative of the population group it’s connected to.

Kwanza preparations in the Black Cultural Center, 2000 (The Beaver 2000)

Even after the ribbon-cutting had taken place, things were not easy for the Black Cultural Center. In 1976, a cross was burned in front of the cultural center in what the culprits would later confess was a “prank which got out of hand,” but African-American campus leaders asked for leniency towards the culprits after meeting with them (The Beaver 1977). In the fall of 1991 racial tension led to the temporary closing of the Black Cultural Center which opened up later that same year. The center persevered and in 1999 it renamed itself to the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center after the first director of the Educational Opportunities Program who helped “increase recruitment and retention of black students at OSU” (BCC Grand Opening). Racial episodes still persist today and in those times the role of the center can change. Mr. Dorsette noted that in cases both local and global of racial hostility or discrimination the centers transform into “spaces of dialogue,” that allow the discussion of difficult topics that “we as a collective community try to troubleshoot and unpack and understand some of these issues that are just not fair, not right, just plain wrong.” He also mentioned that through Oregon State Administration there was an opportunity to strategize and try to figure out the problems that existed, the solutions that could be reached and the necessary steps to take. 

From help with funding for the first Black Cultural Center to today, there exists a close relationship between the Center and the Corvallis Community. As Dorsette explains, the community has designated spots on the cultural center’s advisory committees so that they can “serve as advisors, coaches and to help us really make the best decisions regarding programming, events and things like that.”

The Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center, 2015

In 2013, with design input from students, Oregon State announced the construction of the new Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center and center was temporarily moved to Snell Hall during the building process (Life@OSU June 4, 2013). Dorsette spoke of the renovated centers as an “additional point of pride for Oregon State University,” in showing that it can “offer up and tangibly demonstrate our commitment to diversity,” in the seven pride and cultural centers that it has, an unmatched number anywhere else in the states. Dorsette also highlighted the new center’s usefulness in research, events and even activities like barbeques and tailgating. Although visually distinct from the old building, the new cultural center is better equipped to help students and stay true to the goals of the Black Cultural Center: to allow students to feel comfortable, to give them the tools they need to be successful and to foster understanding of Black culture throughout the student body and the community at large.  

~ Christopher Russell, OMA Blog Guest Writer

To hear more Jason Dorsette’s interview, you can listen to it in its entirety via the OSU Cultural Centers Oral History Collection: Jason Dorsette Interview  

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The Urban League of Portland’s 2015 Equal Opportunity Day Awards Dinner

EOD Dinner 2015 Display

“All we say to America is, ‘Be true to what you said on paper,’” Martin Luther King Jr. (from “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” delivered 3 April 1968, Memphis, Tennessee). This was the quotation that framed Johnathan M. Holifield’s keynote address at the Urban League of Portland’s Equal Opportunity Day Dinner 2015. Holifield’s call to action for the state of Oregon reminded all in attendance of the work that has yet to be done to make Oregon truly diverse and inclusive, work that the Urban League does each and every day. This year, the OMA was in attendance with a small display to engage attendees with the Urban League’s history and let them know that the organization’s archival collection is open to all for research.

President and CEO Nkenge Harmon Johnson

The dinner was, as always, incredibly well attended and the fundraising portion of the evening was a great success. The night also included remarks from the Urban League’s new President and CEO Nkenge Harmon Johnson – she expressed her commitment to the organization’s mission and concluded with the simple yet powerful thought, “we are better together.” And, the evening concluded with Charles Wilhoite being honored as the Equal Opportunities Award Honoree for his tremendous service to the community.


The Urban League of Portland Archival Collection


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Nuestras Voces y Herencia: Yamhill County’s Latino Histories

The Latino community in Yamhill County has a rich and diverse history and has contributed greatly to the county’s identity. Nuestras Voces y Herencia is a project dedicated to gathering and preserving the life stories of Yamhill County’s Latino community. The Yamhill County Cultural Coalition and the Yamhill County Historical    Society & Museum are partnering with the OMA to share the stories gathered. The project is in its early stages – brainstorming ideas and spreading the word. 

On September 25th, the organization Unidos Bridging Community hosted the event “Celebrating Our Heritage: Yamhill County Embraces Latino and Anglo Histories”  the OMA was there to show support and record the evening’s wonderful speakers! The fully bilingual event began with Miriam Corona and Sally Godard of Unidos introducing the organization’s mission and services as well as its positive impact on the community, and they then invited four community members to share their family histories: Bob Applegate, Elva Salinas, Ramsey McPhillips, and Guadalupe Villaseñor (with translators Maria Sandoval and Valentin Sanchez). 

Video Recording of “Celebrating Our Heritage: Yamhill County Embraces Latino and Anglo Histories” September 25, 2015

(audio only recording of “Celebrating Our Heritage”

To learn more about the project Nuestras Voces y Herencia contact: and, visit:


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The OMA at ATALM 2015

This September the OMA traveled to Washington DC to attend and present at the 2015 International Conference of Indigenous Archives, Libraries, and Museums hosted by the Association for Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums; check out the ATALM website

The OMA presented twice regarding a research study about successful collaborations between tribal and non-tribal institutions, first at a pre-conference archives summit and then as a session within the program.

Archives Summit: Protocols for Native American Archival Materials

Since the development of The Protocols for Native American Archival Materials in 2006, the document has generated significant discussion and debate both nationally and internationally surrounding the proper care of Indigenous archives housed at non-tribal repositories and how these guidelines should be successfully implemented. Numerous non-tribal repositories successfully implemented and developed collaborative guidelines and relationships with tribal communities. Based on the original intent of the Protocols as a living document, this pre-conference Summit brought together original drafters of the Protocols, as well as allies in the United States and Canada, to review and reflect on lessons learned from the Protocols and other key documents, to make clarifying alterations and updates to the document based on case studies, conversations, and research. The group will develop additional information regarding the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples with the larger goal of contributing to the efforts of decolonizing Indigenous archives.

Click Here for Access to the Archives Summit Presentation

Workshop: Google Mapping Tools for Preserving Indigenous Knowledge

Maps can uniquely illustrate the close relationship between Indigenous communities and their land, enabling Indigenous communities to tell their own stories, in their own languages, from their own perspectives. During this hands on workshop, attendees learned how Indigenous communities are using free digital mapping tools such as Google Earth, Google Tour Builder, and Google My Maps to preserve and share traditional knowledge. The workshop included hands on technical training in using Google’s mapping tools to record culturally significant locations on a map and incorporate stories, photos, and videos into the map; and showed the options for keeping maps private or sharing maps publicly.

Special Event: Civil Rights, Identity and Sovereignty: Native American Perspectives on History, Law, and the Path  Ahead

This even featured Walter Echo-Hawk (Pawnee), noted legal scholar and litigator on behalf of Native American and Indigenous civil and human rights; Malinda Maynor Lowery (Lumbee), historian, author and  associate Professor at UNC Chapel Hill; Tim Tingle (Choctaw), story – teller and author of several books of historical fiction on the Native American experience; and LaDonna Harris (Comanche), President of Americans for Indian Opportunity and a long standing advocate for Native self-determination and self-sufficiency in the cultural and business worlds. The event included an exhibition of unique, historical documents, some dating back to the earliest days of the republic, with objects that illuminated the legal and legislative aspects of the symposium through artifacts detailing the complex relationship between sovereign Native American nations and the US federal government. The exhibit was produced by the Law Library’s Collections Division and is on display the foyer of the Library of Congress Auditorium.

Conference Presentation: Collaboration Between Tribal and Non-Tribal Organizations: Suggested Best Practices for Sharing Expertise, Knowledge, and Cultural Resources: A Research Study

Collaborations between tribal and non-tribal organizations bring diverse communities together, often for the first time, to educate and learn, to address misinterpretations of the past, and to share cultural resources and knowledge. Through an examination of data obtained through a national survey, this session will introduce a variety of collaborative practices and investigate how successful partnerships are initiated, developed, and maintained; the degree to which the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials are referenced in the development of policies and procedures; and “lessons learned” across a wide-range of collaborative projects and partnerships. This overview of a variety of models of collaboration is intended to offer a set of best practices for both tribal and non-tribal organizations interested in sharing useful skills, knowledge, and resources through partnerships. We presented our research findings, followed by a panel discussion featuring participants from several successful collaborative projects explored in the research data.

The OMA presented along with Elizabeth Joffrion, Director of Heritage Resources, Western Washington University. Our panelists included: Jennifer O’Neal, Corrigan Solari University Historian and Archivist, University of Oregon; Daryl Baldwin, Director, Myaamia Center at Miami University; Megan Dorey, Archivist, Myaamia Heritage Museum; Omar Polar, Outreach Coordinator, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Library and Information Studies.

Click Here for Access to the Presentation: “Collaboration Between Tribal and Non-Tribal Organizations: Suggested Best Practices for Sharing Expertise, Knowledge, and Cultural Resources: A Research Study”

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The OMA at SAA 2015

This year at the Society of American Archivists (SAA) conference in Cleveland, OH, there were several great sessions and forums pertaining to community archives, post-custodial theory, and best practices for documenting and sharing the stories of multicultural communities.

Below are highlights from a few OMA related presentations:

“Mind Your Own Fucking Business”: Documenting Communities that Don’t Want to Be Documented and the Diversity of the American Record

This session featured various presenters who shared their challenges and successes as they strive to seek new ways to diversify the American record while attempting to document communities that resist documentation efforts. They shared their thoughts regarding finding the balance between the desire for communities to remain unrecorded and the desire for a complete American record.  The presenters covered decolonizing copyright, graffiti art culture, the “right to forget” movement and anonymity, domestic terrorists, LGBT activists and business owners, polygamists, and law enforcement officers.

The Community IS the Archives: Challenging the Role of the Repository in Community Archives

Archivists, librarians, and community historians know that local residents often distrust repositories. This creates hidden collections—and hidden histories—in the community, especially from groups that are more socially remote from institutions with archives.  The presenters stated that as professionals, we have a responsibility to challenge the notion of the “repository as archives” and serve the community better by decentralizing appraisal and custody, coordinating resource deployment, and collaborating in providing description and access.

Post-custodial Theory of Archives: A Debate

The post-custodial theory of archives suggests that “archivists will no longer physically acquire and maintain records,” but that they “will provide management oversight for records that will remain in the custody of the record creators.” This session featured a non-traditional presentation format that featured a debate about the post-custodial approach to managing and providing access to archival collections.

Forum: The Secret Life of Records (Sponsored by the SAA Diversity Committee)

This session posed the question: “What are the unknown or unexplored aspects of an archival record?” and the presenters explored notable applications and implications of collection management in a contemporary, digital context as it relates to underrepresented groups. The panelists discussed the challenges related to acquisition, preservation, and accessibility of non-traditional records, such as born-digital materials and media-based materials that can easily be altered or lost. Using recent examples, such as unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, following the police shooting of an unarmed teenager, panelists explained how they used social media and digital initiatives as a prism through which to view archival records and documented history versus lived experiences. The speakers represented diverse archival backgrounds, including familiarity with media and film records, human rights and government records, community-created records, and social media records.

The OMA will soon be attending ATALM in mid-September in Washington DC and will be presenting, so check back for that recap!

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Harold C. Williams Papers

The Harold C. Williams Papers are now fully processed and available for research! The OMA received the papers in the spring of 2014 and an intern worked on the initial collection organization. Then, this spring, OMA student worker Avery, wrapped up the arrangement and description of the collection.

Harold C. Williams Finding Aid

Williams Biographical Information

Williams was a community activist, civic leader, and educator in Portland, Oregon, from the 1960s until his death in 2012.

Born in 1943 in Texarkana, Arkansas, he came to Portland, Oregon in 1959 and finished his secondary education at Jefferson High School in 1962. Williams earned an Associate Degree in Education from Multnomah Junior College in 1965 and attended the University of California in Berkeley where he received a certificate in race relations in June 1967. Williams returned to Portland and completed BS and MS degrees in political science at Portland State University in 1969 and 1972. He served as director of a satellite campus of PSU in northeast Portland for two years and was appointed as the Director of Affirmative Action for the State of Oregon in 1973. He served in this position until 1978.

Active in the local chapters of the Urban League and NAACP, Williams was a strong presence in the Oregon African American community, working with at-risk youth at Maclaren Youth Correctional Facility and creating the “Success Academy” program in 2004. Williams’ service to the community was also reflected in his membership on the board of Portland Community College, where he helped advocate for the formation of the Cascade branch campus in Northeast Portland. Williams married Cal Robertson in 1975 and together they raised three children: Natasha, Harold Jr. (also referred to as Harold Two), and Eric.

CH2A & Associates was established by Harold C. Williams and his wife, Cal Robertson Williams, as a consulting firm to the business and public sector. The firm specialized in affirmative action, labor relations, conflict resolution, personnel management, and counseling.

The Broadous Family consists of the descendants of Rev. and Mrs. Zachrah Broadous, Sr. of Texarkana, Arkansas. Rev. Zachrah Broadous, Sr., was Harold Williams’ grandfather and died in 1943, the year that Williams was born. The extensive Broadous Family has gathered for family reunions every 3 years since 1948.

Collection Scope and Content

The Harold C. Williams Papers document Williams’ community activism, volunteer service, and civic leadership in Portland, Oregon as well as his immediate and extended family. Much of the collection consists of materials assembled by Williams; photographs documenting his community involvement and family; and sound and video recordings of Williams making speeches and presentations.

The Papers include biographical and personal materials; records documenting his involvement with Portland Community College and Portland State University; and materials pertaining to African Americans in Portland, especially education, employment, and programs for at-risk youth. The collection includes a wide variety of formats, including videotapes, audio cassette sound recordings, photographs, photograph albums, and two digital photographs. Of special note are video recordings and photographs of Jesse Jackson.

Williams’ religious life and church activities are reflected throughout the collection and include materials he assembled and wrote, photographs, and video and audio recordings of sermons, gospel choir festivals, and memorial services.

Williams’ immediate family of his wife, Cal, and his children as well as his extended Broadous family are depicted in many photographs of life events such as birthdays, graduations, and weddings; family reunions; and vacations. Video and audio recordings of weddings and family reunions are also part of the collection.

Pam Trotter, initial collection processing intern, Spring 2014

When I first started the project, I began by reading documents on what the archiving process was and its importance. After that, I began looking through all of the boxes just to get a feel for the collection, a sort of overview. Next, I began to process photos and go through them one at a time, looking for dates and celebrations that they were taken at. After that, I took some time to do some research on Harold Williams and began to go through his biographical information. Next I made the box list, which was later reorganized. This to me was when things began to pick up momentum. This allowed me to see where I wanted the items in the boxes on paper and move them there before I moved the files around in the boxes. After this, I asked another student worked to help me organize the random newspaper clippings and help me to count photos. With this help, I was able to finish up the organization of those boxes.

I feel as though the quality of my work is high, I took careful consideration when looking through Harold Williams’s material. I made sure everything was as organized as possible. I learned a lot throughout this internship. I like the fact that it is mostly independent allows for a natural creativity of the collection.  The folders have been organized and reorganized by different people with different ideas on how they see the material allowing for well-rounded information that is easy to access. I now feel as though I have more of a background in what goes into research and were the sources of information come from in the biographies, papers and journals that I read.

I learned that the archival profession is a love for history as well as creating it. I was excited when I was handed raw history that hadn’t been organized yet, and was given the opportunity to help share the important things that Williams did to give back to the community and to the country. I learned how to work more closely with other people to gain insight into the project as well as a helping hand when it came to decision making. I learned that you can work hard and still find something interesting or learn something new every day.

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The OMA in The American Archivist

The OMA was published in the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of The American Archivist!

The American Archivist, established in 1938, is published semi-annually by the Society of American Archivists. It is a refereed journal that publishes articles regarding theoretical and practical developments in the archival profession, particularly in North America.

The OMA co-authored the article “Collaborations between Tribal and Nontribal Organizations: Suggested Best Practices for Sharing Expertise, Cultural Resources, and Knowledge” based on a research study.

Article Abstract:

Collaborations between tribal and nontribal organizations bring diverse communities together, often for the first time, to educate and learn, to address misinterpretations of the past, and to share cultural resources and knowledge. By examining data obtained through a nationally distributed survey, this research explores how successful partnerships between tribal and nontribal institutions are initiated, developed, and maintained; examines the degree to which the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials were used in the development of policies, procedures, and memorandums of understanding; and reveals the “lessons learned” across a wide range of collaborative projects and partnerships. This overview of collaborative models is intended to offer best practices for both tribal and nontribal organizations interested in sharing useful skills, knowledge, and resources through partnerships.

Check it out! 

“Collaborations between Tribal and Nontribal Organizations: Suggested Best Practices for Sharing Expertise, Cultural Resources, and Knowledge”

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