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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The OMA at Western Roundup 2015

It only occurs once every five years in the archives profession, and the OMA was excited to participate as part of the 2015 gathering of Western Roundup in Denver, CO! The Roundup is a joint conference of the Conference of Inter-Mountain Archivists (CIMA), Northwest Archivists (NWA), Society of California Archivists (SCA), and Society of Rocky Mountain Archivists (SRMA). The OMA is a member of NWA, and was invited to present twice!

Digital Publishing to Feature the Histories of Multicultural Performing Arts Groups

This first presentation was a part of the session: “Unrecorded/Uncollected: New Approaches to Documenting Under-Represented Groups”

Archivists have become increasingly interested in documenting groups that have been erased, hidden or ignored in the historical record. This panel will address theoretical problems and provide innovate ideas for creating and managing collections on groups that have few traditional sources. The speakers will discuss methods for building documentation including digital exhibits, oral history recordings, participatory community archiving and digital publishing projects. Examples from collections centered on the experiences of Native American students, medical patients, multicultural performing arts groups and others will be presented.

Collaborations between Tribal and Non-Tribal Organizations: Sharing Expertise, Knowledge, and Cultural Resources ~ A Research Study

The second presentation was featured in the panel: “Collaborations between Tribal and Non-Tribal Organizations: Sharing Expertise, Knowledge, and Cultural Resources ~ A Research Study”

Collaborations between tribal and non-tribal organizations bring diverse communities together to educate and learn, address misinterpretations of the past, and to share cultural resources and knowledge. In this session, attendees will gain an understanding of the collaborative process between tribal and non-tribal organizations based upon a research project that explored how successful partnerships between tribal and non-tribal institutions are initiated, developed, and maintained. Then, attendees will learn about the opportunity to take action and become a part of the Sustainable Heritage Network (SHN), a project that promotes collaborative stewardship by encouraging its members to work together by providing each other digitization and preservation assistance. This session is open to attendees who wish to learn more about the collaborative process between tribal and non-tribal institutions, who have collections pertaining to tribal communities, and who would like to begin or expand their outreach efforts and relationships between tribal and non-tribal institutions.

Be sure to check out both presentations!

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OSU Arts & Social Justice Living Learning Community Oral History Interview

This year, members of OSU’s Arts + Social Justice Living-Learning Community (ASJLC) shared their experiences as part of the ASJLC through an oral history interview, and it is now available online! The ASJLC is “a space where residents explore social justice issues through art and creative expression” and is an incredible program for students to learn and grow. Learn more about the ASJLC website and be sure to listen to the interview!

Interview Audio and Interview Transcript

Date: March 18, 2015
Location: Oregon State University
Length: 00:31:20
Interviewees: Hunter Briggs and Jacq Allen    
Interviewer: Maria Garcia
Transcriber: Avery Sorensen

Interviewee Bios: Hunter Briggs is a freshman at OSU and is majoring in ethnic studies with a focus on pre-law. Jacq Allen is a fourth year student in public health with an option in health promotion and health behavior. Both have participated in the arts and social justice living learning community.

Interview Summary: The interview begins with each interviewee discussing his/her major and his/her decision to enroll in Oregon State University. Following this, they chronicle their personal growth since attending Oregon State and being a part of the arts and social justice living learning community. The students then discuss their inspirations, ranging from family to friends to teachers. Personally, they each discuss their identities, the power structures within those identities, and how those have changed or been reinforced within the college setting. Focusing on the arts and social justice classes, they discuss the dynamics and what they found to be most impactful in the lectures, activities, and guests—many of which brought attention to the power hierarchy and identities of society. Within this same line of thought, they outlined their visions for the future and the ways in which programs like this can help spread equality. In ending, the students discuss some of the community projects they have conducted, what activism means, and thoughts they wish to express to the community about social inequalities.

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OSU Women’s Center Group Oral History Interview

Women’s Center Staff: Amelia, Shelby, Soreth, & Nicthé (left to right)

This spring term four OSU Women’s Center staff members gathered for an oral history interview to reflect upon their experiences working at the center, and the video interview and transcript are available online!

The Women Center, established in 1973, has a mission to be an “open community of feminist leaders inspiring change through advocacy, support and education toward the growth and success of all” and values Inclusivity, Diversity, Collaboration, and Accountability. To learn more, check out the Women’s Center website.

Last year, the APCC staff shared their stories and the year before NAL students participated. Below is the Women’s Center interview:

Interview Video and Interview Transcript

Interview Information:

Date: May 5, 2015
Location: Oregon State University’s Women’s Center
Length: 00:27:04
Interviewees: Amelia Allee, Shelby Baisden, Soreth Dahri, Nicthé Verdugo         
Interviewer: Amelia Allee

Interview Summary:

The interview begins by introducing four staff members of Oregon State University’s women’s center–Amelia Allee, Shelby Baisden, Soreth Dahri, and Nicthé Verdugo. After discussing their backgrounds, majors, and positions at the women’s center, they discuss the challenges of their jobs. These challenges include white privilege and misunderstandings of feminism. They recommend sexual assault awareness and expanded definitions of feminism for future event topics. The interview then chronicles their ideas and advice for the future of the women’s center. For this, the interviewees recognize open mindedness, good and purposeful intentions, non-generalizations, and challenging barriers. On a more personal level, they describe several experiences in which their identities have caused them to have both negative and positive interactions. The interview ends with an acknowledgement of the family-like environment of the staff and of the center.

Interviewee Bios: 

Amelia Allee: Amelia Allee grew up in Denver, but calls Portland, Oregon her home. Allee is 20 years old, and self-identifies as French, English, and Huron (a Native American Tribe). This is her first year at Oregon State University as a transfer student from Portland Community College. As a junior, she is majoring in public health with a focus in health management and policy. Allee is also working towards her certificate of food and culture and social justice. Previously a student advocate at PCC’s women’s center, Allee began working at OSU’s women’s center in 2014. She is currently a peer facilitator, but will soon become the leadership liaison. 

Shelby Baisden: Shelby Baisden recognizes Gresham, Oregon as her hometown, but calls Portland and Corvallis her home. Baisden is 22, self-identifies as white, and is a senior at Oregon State University. She is studying human development and family sciences in the school of public health and human sciences. This is her first year working for the women’s center, although she had previously collaborated with the center. She serves as the communications representative. 

Soreth Dahri: Soreth Dahri’s hometown is Karachi, Pakistan. She self-identifies as Muslim and Pakistani. She is 21 and in her second year at Oregon State University. She is majoring in finance in the college of business. Dahri is currently a peer facilitator at the women’s center, and this is her first year working for the center. 

Nicthé Verdugo: While Nicthé Verdugo lives in Corvallis, Oregon, her hometown is Chandler, Arizona. Verdugo is 22, self-identifies as Chicana, and is a senior at Oregon State University. She is majoring in ethnic studies with a minor in women, gender, and sexuality studies within the college of liberal arts. This is Verdugo’s second year working at the women’s center. During her first year, she served as the program coordinator, creating and organizing events. Currently she is the leadership liaison. One of her duties is to serve as a mentor for the staff of the women’s center.


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OSQA ~ The OSU Queer Archives

OSU Queer Archives

It’s OSQA, the OSU Queer Archives! This past year the OMA has been in the process of assisting the OSU LGBTQ+ community establish a community archives to document and celebrate its diverse history (be sure to “like” OSQA’s recently created Facebook Page!), and this past week, OSQA was featured in two great events as part of OSU’s Pride Week 2015

But first, what is the OSU Queer Archives (OSQA)?

The mission of the OSU Queer Archives (OSQA) is to preserve and share the stories, histories, and experiences of LGBTQ+ people within the OSU and Corvallis communities. This mission is rooted in three central commitments:

  • fostering intersectional community activism across and providing opportunities for students engagement and activism
  • resisting erasure of queer and trans narratives
  • positioning the collection as a space to imagine alternative futures for LGBTQ+ communities and people

And now, the events!

The Unfurling: Everyone Has A Story
Monday, May 4 11am-1pm at the OSU Memorial Quad

In collaboration with Rainbow Continuum and the Pride Planning Committee, OSQA invited all to a celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer (LGBTQ) stories and experiences. Guests brought blankets and items that represented significant memories and moments in their lives. It was an informal storytelling event and a time for the LGBTQ+ community to come together and share meaningful experiences with each other and with other members of the OSU campus community. The event took place alongside the annual Pride Week Opening BBQ. 

OSU LGBTQ Community Film Screening
Friday, May 8 2-4pm at the PRIDE Center

OSQA hosted a screening of a short film which focused on the experiences and narratives of LGBT community members on the OSU campus. The stories shared in this film demonstrate the continued importance of LGBTQ resources such as the Pride Center, Sol (LGBT Multicultural Support Network), Rainbow Continuum, and the Queer Affairs Task Force, and add a piece of collective history to the Queer Archives for past, present, and future LGBTQ community members to benefit from. The film was created by Queer Archives intern Kiah McConnell for her Honors thesis project.

There will be more about OSQA later this year, especially during Fall term 2015 with Pride Month in October, so stay tuned!

OSU Pride Center Albums

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Celebrate Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month ~ It’s the OSU APCC’s 25th Anniversary!

APCC Display

Join the OMA and the OSU Asian Pacific Cultural Center (APCC) in celebrating Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2015. This year, it’s the APCC’s 25th anniversary and its 21st year of celebrating heritage month. Plus, the center also celebrated its grand opening of its brand new building and location! So, the OMA curated a small display to showcase the APCC – come see the display in person at the Valley Library and check out photos of the items featured through the 2015 Digital Display in Flickr

Display Information:
When: May-June 2015
Where: Main Floor, OSU Valley Library, Display Case to the left of the Main Entrance 
Who: Display curated by Avery Sorensen, OMA student worker

Also, be sure to check out our previous heritage month displays…

Oregon Multicultural Archives Heritage Month Displays

Display Digital Collections in Flickr

And, if you what to learn more about the history of the APCC, check out the Asian & Pacific Cultural Center Records, 1987-2014 (RG 245) as well as the APCC 2014 staff oral history interviews!

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REFORMA OR Chapter – OLA Booth

The OMA was at OLA for the first time, but not as an attendee, as an exhibit booth staffer for the recently established REFORMA Oregon chapter…and it was a lot of fun!

As you may recall, the OMA attended and presented at the national REFORMA conference earlier this month. REFORMA is a national organization with over a dozen chapters in various states and cities across the country dedicated to carry out the organization’s mission to provide library services to Latino/a and Spanish-speaking communities.

For many years there was a Northwest chapter of REFORMA that included the states of Washington and Oregon, but in recent years, Oregon’s librarians began to discuss the possibility of a separate Oregon chapter. And this past year it became official! So, the chapter members decided to staff a booth at the Oregon Library Association (OLA) conference to spread the word. The booth was a great success with dozens of people stopping by to learn more and we left with a long list of sign ups for the chapter’s listserv. The booth included a lot of information about the chapter and local services and programs, and it also featured the newly created chapter website. Be sure to check it out!

REFORMA Oregon Chapter Website

Here are a few more booth photos…


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Milagro Workshop and Performance at OSU

The OMA was incredibly excited to collaborate with OSU’s Centro Cultural César Chávez for its Tribute Month celebrations to host Teatro Milagro for a workshop and performance!

The pre-performance workshop asked attendees to think about the connections between  art and social justice - a connection especially important in the Chicano Movement. We learned about Luis Valdez and his creation of El Teatro Campesino, and the Teatro’s roots in Commedia dell’arte dating back to in Italy in the 16th century. The workshop involved participants creating still images to express emotions and concepts to get us in the theatre mindset and help us better understand the context to the evening’s performance.

Searching for Aztlán, written & directed by Lakin Valdez (following in his father’s footsteps), chronicles one high school teacher’s journey to re-energize her support of the Mexican American Studies (MAS) Program in Tucson, Arizona’s Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) which was dismantled in 2012. After an opening scene in which the teacher, Dolores Huelga, defends the MAS program to a very conservative school board, she is left discouraged and considers giving up the fight. She is then swept up in a dust storm and is taken to an alternate reality where she “searches for Aztlán” – the play very much references and follows the basic plot of Dorothy’s journey in The Wizard of Oz. Like the film, the play includes musical numbers and is a satire. The play is self-described by the theatre group as “a metaphorical yellow brick road of discovery about what it means to be Chicano in contemporary society.”

Along her journey Dolores encounters various characters (all essentially following the plot of the Wizard of Oz): the Madre of the Aztecas (the “good” witch), Jan Bruja “La Lechuza” (the “bad” witch who represents Arizona’s ex-Governor Jan Brewer), and three companions she meets along the way, all exaggerated characterizations of Chicanos 1) a 1970s militant Chicano 2) a 1980s “High-Spanic” who shuns her Latina roots 3) a 2000s “Dreamer.” In the beginning of the play the four companions are lost and alone and represent differing types of Chicano/as. By the end of the play, the characters reflect upon the idea that they are all Latino/a, and when they work together in a united cause, they are stronger.

In the end, Dolores is more committed than ever to continue with the cause in support of the MAS program. For example, the closing scene includes a voice over of news excerpts along with Dolores holding an American flag while another character carries a Mexican flag and two other characters hold signs that state: “Education is Not a Crime” and “Save Ethnic Studies” – the play ends with the characters chanting “¡Sí se puede!”

For more about Milagro’s history, be sure to check out the archival collection!
Milagro (Miracle Theatre Group) Records, 1966-2014

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