Publication Of The AfricanAmerican Mosaic A Library

Publication Of The African-American Mosaic: A Library Of Congress Resource Guide For The Study Essay, Research Paper

Introductory Text

This exhibit marks the publication of The African-American Mosaic: A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study

of Black History and Culture. A noteworthy and singular publication, the Mosaic is the first Library-wide resource guide to

the institution’s African- American collections. Covering the nearly 500 years of the black experience in the Western

hemisphere, the Mosaic surveys the full range size, and variety of the Library’s collections, including books, periodicals, prints,

photographs, music, film, and recorded sound. Moreover, the African-American Mosaic represents the start of a new kind of

access to the Library’s African-American collections, and, the Library trusts, the beginning of reinvigorated research and

programming drawing on these, now systematically identified, collections.

This exhibit is but a sampler of the kinds of materials and themes covered by the publication and the Library’s collections. Many

of the exhibit items are featured in the Mosaic. Other exhibit materials, not specifically described in the publication, are also

included to illustrate that the Mosaic is an effective guide to the Library’s rich collections, not an exhaustive inventory.

The exhibit covers only four areas –Colonization, Abolition, Migrations, and the WPA– of the many covered by the Mosaic.

These topics were selected not only because they illustrate well the depth, breadth, and richness of the Library’s black history

collections, but also because of the significant and interesting interplay among them. For example, the “back-to-Africa”

movement represented by the American Colonization Society is vigorously opposed by abolitionists, and the movement of

blacks to the North is documented by the writers and artists who participated in federal projects of the 1930s.

Also, to illustrate that the Mosaic opens avenues for further research, several items are included which, though important for

black history, cannot have their full stories told until further research is completed.

Finally, this presentation is a sampler of a much larger exhibit now in progress. In 1998, the Library will mount a major

exhibition and cultural program examining the impact of African- American history and tradition in the formation of American

national identity. The 1998 outreach program will be this institution’s first extended reflection upon its pervasive black holdings,

and The African-American Mosaic will be a major resource guide in that program’s development and realization.


Drums and Shadows:Survival Studies among the Georgia Coastal Negroes, pl.

XII Georgia Writers’ Project of the WPA, comp. Athens: University of Georgia

Press, 1940 General Collections (86)


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