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Pepperdine Libraries Receives Grant Award from California Humanities

Jeffrey Bowen
Director for Library Programming and Public Affairs
310.506.6785 | jeffrey.bowen@pepperdine.edu


MALIBU, Calif. — California Humanities has recently announced the December 2019 Humanities For All Project Grant awards. Pepperdine Libraries has been awarded $19,815 for its project titled "Preserving the History of South Los Angeles: A Community Digitization Initiative."

Humanities For All Project Grant is a competitive grant program of California Humanities which supports locally-developed projects that respond to the needs, interests and concerns of Californians, provide accessible learning experiences for the public, and promote understanding among our state's diverse population.

The grant will fund a project that documents, preserves, and shares the history of South Los Angeles, one of America's most vibrant African American communities. The Libraries and its partners — the California African American Museum (CAAM), Figueroa Church of Christ, Southern California Library, and the Tom and Ethel Bradley Center at California State University, Northridge — will organize a series of community digitization events to catalog and preserve artifacts, documents, and memories of the African American experience in South Los Angeles between the 1930s and 1970s.

The digitization events, which will begin in fall 2020, will be held in community spaces provided by program partners. Project members will scan artifacts and documents and record oral histories of South Los Angeles community members, many of whom are approaching advanced age. Participants will receive a digital copy of their scanned files, and a curated selection of these professionally digitized materials will be added to Pepperdine's open-access portal accessible to students, scholars, and others interested in history, critical race studies, and social anthropology. A culminating event at CAAM in December 2021 will provide the means to present key findings and explore next steps with community members and other stakeholders.

"This archiving project provides an important service for Los Angeles by collecting voices not yet in the public sphere. By digitizing personal materials and sharing them with the community, our goal is to share this living history broadly," said Mark Roosa, Pepperdine's Dean of Libraries.

The forty-year period of archival material that Roosa's team hopes to preserve coincides with a flourishing African American community in Los Angeles following the Great Migration. This period also corresponds to the first forty years of Pepperdine's history prior to its move from South Los Angeles to Malibu.

"We look forward to working closely with partner institutions to gather, describe, preserve, and make available community history," stated Roosa.

"These projects will bring the complexity and diversity of California to light in new ways that will engage Californians from every part of our state, and will help us all understand each other better," said Julie Fry, President & CEO of California Humanities. "We congratulate these grantees whose projects will promote understanding and provide insight into a wide range of topics, issues, and experiences."

About California Humanities

California Humanities promotes the humanities – focused on ideas, conversation and learning – as relevant, meaningful ways to understand the human condition and connect us to each other in order to help strengthen California. California Humanities has provided grants and programs across the state since 1975. To learn more visit www.calhum.org, or follow California Humanities on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Pepperdine Libraries

With twelve library locations, Pepperdine Libraries serve nearly 8,000 students and 800 faculty at Pepperdine University's campus sites in Southern California, Washington, D.C., and abroad. Each campus library honors tradition while addressing 21st-century needs for digital integration and flexibility to accommodate diverse learning styles. Recently renovated in 2017, the flagship Payson Library location includes the Boone Special Collections, containing over 10,600 rare books and 140 processed collections, an exhibit gallery, and the Genesis Lab makerspace. Follow Pepperdine Libraries on ​Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

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