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Posted 02/14/2011

 

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced today that The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a grant of $500,000 to continue the activities of the “Publishing the Long Civil Rights Movement” project through December 2012.  A grant from the Foundation in 2008 launched this collaborative, entrepreneurial online publishing experiment now poised to become a self-sustaining library subscription service.  Inspired by UNC professor Jacquelyn Dowd Hall’s formulation of the “long civil rights movement,” the LCRM Project’s online collection presents more than 70 books, articles, papers, and reports and tests the frontiers of scholarly publishing by enabling users to contribute commentary and insert hyperlinked cross-references to multimedia primary sources.

The original grant was one of several awarded in The Mellon Foundation’s Scholarly Communications Program to university press−library collaborations to support exploration of innovative modes of scholarly communication and creation of new publishing enterprises.  The four-way partnership at UNC, which included researchers at the Southern Oral History Program, archivists at the University Library, as well as lawyers and advocates at the UNC Law School’s Center for Civil Rights, made valuable materials available online and also invited the participation of the site’s users in creating meaningful connections among primary and secondary sources.  Total funds granted by Mellon to the project since its inception are nearly $1.5 million.

The central goal of the project’s second phase is to expand the online experiment and put in place business partnerships with other scholarly publishers in order to bring the collection to market as a subscription resource for libraries. Expansion of the collection will entail inclusion of publications from a variety of sources and linking to collections of documents, photographs, and oral histories digitized by libraries and archives throughout the United States.

Related activities during the project’s second  phase will include original oral history research on the long civil rights movement and digitization of civil rights related primary and secondary sources, including thousands of sound recordings in the Southern Oral History Program collection, providing unparalleled access to civil rights related oral history interviews to people across the globe.

The Principal Investigators for the project are Kate Douglas Torrey, Director of UNC Press, Jacquelyn Hall, Director of the Southern Oral History Program in the Center for the Study of the American South, Richard Szary, Director of the Louis Round Wilson Library and Associate University Librarian for Special Collections. Sylvia K. Miller, who has directed the project since 2008, will continue in that role. The Center for Civil Rights, whose director, Julius Chambers, was an investigator on the original project, will continue in an advisory role.

Provost Bruce Carney said, “This project is well suited to the University of North Carolina’s mission as an entrepreneurial university.  Consistent collaboration among the partners has inspired an increased sense of common purpose, and it has been good to see more than one collective enterprise come out of project. The University is deeply grateful to The Mellon Foundation for its ongoing support, and I look forward to the project’s next developments.

In addition to the launch of the experimental online collection, highlights of the project’s first phase were three jointly planned conferences; original oral history research on the long civil rights movement; and digitization of civil rights-related primary- and secondary-source materials.

Contact:  Sylvia K. Miller, Project Director
skm@email.unc.edu
tel. 919-962-0591