Houston Public Library Awarded IMLS Grant to Preserve Houston’s Black Voices

Juegos Olímpicos Francia 2024

Houston Public Library Awarded IMLS Grant to Preserve Houston’s Black Voices

Houston, TX— June 20, 2024 — Houston Public Library (HPL) is proud to announce that it has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to support its digitization project, «Analog to Digital: Preserving Houston’s Black Voices.» This two-year initiative will digitize historically significant and vulnerable archived audio, video, and oral history recordings of prominent Black community members, making these resources publicly available for library and museum exhibits, researchers, community events, and online and printed publications.

Key Project Objectives:

  1. Digitization and Reformatting: Preserve 1,416 audiovisual items by converting them to digital formats.
  2. Increased Accessibility: Enhance public access to resource materials by making them available online at no cost.
  3. Promotion of Archives: Increase awareness and usage of the archives through targeted promotions.
  4. Curated Community Partnerships: Engage with community partners to curate and share the digitized archives.

The funding will support essential project components including the hiring of a contract Project Archivist. These resources enable HPL to undertake comprehensive archival processing—arranging, describing, and preserving the materials—to ensure their longevity and accessibility. «Preserving Houston’s Black Voices» specifically targets historically significant collections related to Houston’s historic ward districts, key organizations like Trinity United Methodist Church, and notable neighborhoods such as Independence Heights and Sunnyside.

Currently, these collections are only accessible in person at HPL’s African American History Research Center (AAHRC) at the Gregory School, limiting their reach and impact.


“This generous support from the IMLS allows us to not only safeguard historical recordings but also to bring these important stories to the forefront. We look forward to the positive impact this project will have on our community and the preservation of Houston’s Black history,” said Miguell Ceasar, Head of History Research Centers. “This project will help tell the rich, living history of Black Houstonians, ensuring their stories and contributions are preserved and celebrated for generations to come.”

Oral history of the late Rev. Bill Lawson discusses race relations in Houston in the 1960s.

Click here to listen to a digitized oral history example, featuring the late Rev. Bill Lawson discussing race relations in Houston during the 1960s. This recording, along with many others, is available through HPL’s Digital Archives.