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The HistoryMakers and Chicago Public Library Celebrate African American History Month and Announce Free Access to Nation's Largest African American Video Oral History Archive

2/8/2017, noon | Updated on 2/8/2017, noon
Deputy Mayor Andrea Zopp joined Chicago Public Library (CPL) Commissioner Brian Bannon and The HistoryMakers Founder & Executive Director Julieanna ...
Pictured are the HistoryMakers in attendance at the event.

The HistoryMakers and Chicago Public Library Celebrate African American History Month and Announce Free Access to Nation's Largest African American Video Oral History Archive

February 2, 2017 - Deputy Mayor Andrea Zopp

joined Chicago Public Library (CPL) Commissioner

Brian Bannon and The HistoryMakers Founder &

Executive Director Julieanna Richardson today to

kick off the start of African American History Month

and announce CPL's offering of The HistoryMakers

Digital Archive free of charge. Since 1999, The

HistoryMakers has been recording African American

oral histories to refashion a more inclusive record of

American history. The HistoryMakers is committed to

preserving and making widely accessible the personal stories of

African Americans-both well-known and unsung. Offering the

most significant recording of past and present African American

influencers, The HistoryMakers is a vital online resource for the

city's students, educators and researchers.

Chicago Public Library is the first public library to of fer patrons

unlimited access to the extensive HistoryMakers video database

of interviews with more than 1,700 African Americans. By the end

of 2017, the collection is slated to house 2,700 interviews of primary

source material. Full remote access to the entire

HistoryMakers database through the CPL website (with a library

card) is slated to start this spring.

"There isn't a better way to kickoff African American History

Month than providing Chicagoans access to the experiences of

African American heroes through The HistoryMakers digital

archive," said Deputy Mayor Zopp. "This is an innovative partnership

that makes firsthand accounts and untold stories available

to the public for the first time. I'm honored to be included in

this historic archive alongside so many influencers and unsung

heroes. I encourage every resident to view the oral history of their

favorite author, artist or newfound hero."

"The hallmark of public libraries is the availability of resources

to everyone. HistoryMakers is such a valuable resource, that in

its entirety has only previously been available to students or

researchers," said Brian Bannon. "We are thrilled to make these

digital archives available to the public so Chicagoans can use

this rich resource through CPL."

"I want to applaud

Chicago Public Library

Commissioner Brian Bannon, and the City of Chicago, for making

this significant contribution to the citizens of Chicago," said

Richardson. "This is the same Digital Archive that has been

licensed by 18 of the country's top-tier universities-including the

University of Chicago and Northwestern University. It is thanks to

the vision and foresight of Brian Bannon that The HistoryMakers

Digital Archive is now available to Chicago Public Library

patrons."

The HistoryMakers is only the latest addition to CPL's rich collection of African American history and bibliographic records. The

accomplishments and experiences of some of the region's most

influential African Americans are preserved and presented via:

"The Vivian G. Harsh Collection of Afro American History and

Literature: The largest repository of African American history in

the Midwest is located in an 11,000 square foot wing of the

Woodson Regional Library (CPL's south regional library-closed

for construction until late 2017). Notable archival collections