Since 1930, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Southern Historical Collection has collected and preserved the history of the American South. Today, more than 5,000 distinct collections—containing some 20 million items—reside in the stacks of Wilson Library and tell the stories of our past.
These outstanding collections, along with an expert staff, have earned the Southern Historical Collection a national reputation among scholars and researchers. The Collection’s material donors and financial supporters agree that our reputation is well founded.
Now, we must stand on more than just tradition. We must look forward and ensure that outreach to diverse populations is an integral part of our work.
Through our African American Collections and Outreach Archivist, we have begun to build relationships with populations that have historically been underrepresented in the archive. We focus on these communities’ untold stories in a way that will help us all better understand our collective past.
The Southern Historical Collection continues its best traditions. By advancing new kinds of archival work and outreach, we are working to build a more inclusive record.
Participatory archives create a thoughtful and innovative way to move beyond traditional narratives of power. By drawing closer to the truth of the American experience and hidden histories, these holdings can be a force for honest reflection and reconciliation.
As a great global public research university—a university of the people—it is Carolina’s responsibility to include and reflect the lives of all people.