The UMass Amherst department of Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) collects original materials that document the histories and experiences of social change in America and the organizational, intellectual, and individual ties that unite disparate struggles for social justice, human dignity, and equality. SCUA’s decision to adopt social change as a collecting focus emerged from our holding of the W.E.B. Du Bois Papers, and one of Du Bois’s most profound insights: that the most fundamental issues in social justice are so deeply interconnected that no movement — and no solution to social ills — can succeed in isolation. I would like to expand this notion of interconnectedness to the Du Bois Papers themselves, particularly interrogating the archival records of one of the leading male figures of the 20th century - considered a founding father of the Civil Rights Movement - to see the ways the records of women are interconnected to those of Du Bois, and in order to present the intellectual, cultural, and invisible labor contributions and legacies of women, especially Black women, documented in the Du Bois Papers. This project is still in progress and developing, and this presentation focuses on the origin of the project, my current progress in learning some of these women’s stories, in learning new technology and digital scholarship tools, and my hope to create future opportunities for collaboration and engagement with this project.
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