Here is a list of new and ongoing projects at AADL intended to address anti-Black racism in our community, and support those who wish to learn more. New services and programs will be listed here as they are launched. If you have any ideas, questions, comments, or concerns, please contact us to discuss further.
Following the Ann Arbor District Library's Call for Artists in 2020, AADL has installed its Black Lives Matter mural on the south side of Library Lane. The community-based project is the culmination of nearly a year of work between AADL staff, the local arts community, and a community review panel featuring Jamall Bufford, Marianetta Porter, and Rochelle Riley. Artistic Coordinator Avery Williamson helped lead the project and contributed art for one of the eight panels, which includes work from seven other artists showing what the phrase Black Lives Matter means to them: T'onna Clemons, Quadre Curry, Demario Dotson, John Rodriguez, Jaleesa Rosario Turner, Rachel Elise Thomas, and Curtis Wallace.
The Library plans to install complementary panels next to the mural to highlight each of the artists involved, and show the original use of the letters through photos from the archives with additional information about the moments and places depicted. The Library also plans to host a dedication event sometime in the summer, and an Artist Showcase featuring works for sale later in the year.
This intentionally broad discussion series seeks to encourage and support community members in their exploration of and engagement with works that provide insight on anti-Black racism. Titles like White Fragility and So You Want to Talk About Race are intended be introductory texts in this conversation. We do not want anyone to be excluded from this series by a wait list, so these discussion groups will also include works that are available online. Similarly, if one’s busy lifestyle puts finishing a book in time for a scheduled session out of reach, we’ve identified relevant podcasts to discuss. This series will include classic works and new ones, nonfiction, fiction, poetry, movies and music. This project recognizes that anti-Black racism is systemic and woven through the fiber of our society. As such, a broad variety of materials can be used to explore one’s relationship to the theme.
As archivists and historians, we know that certain topics infrequently make it into the long-term historical record. The history of anti-Black racism is one of these topics. As documentarians of our community's history, we seek to fill in those gaps with first-person stories to provide a lasting record of this aspect of community life for the researchers of the future. Some of these stories have been collected as part of the African-American Cultural and Historical Museum Living Oral History interviews, but there are many more stories to be collected and preserved. As a result, AADL and the AACHM are putting out a Call for Stories on Anti-Black Racism. We are looking for all stories of times you've experienced anti-Black racism.
This partnership between the AACHM and AADL creates and provides a permanent home for interviews with Black community members. These interviews serve as a road map illustrating what local African Americans witnessed, experienced, and contributed to building the community we share today. Now in Phase 9, this project has so far collected 48 interviews featuring 52 individuals. The associated LOH Digital Collection presents historical materials from AADL’s Community Collections about major topics featured in the interviews, including Community Centers, Education, Housing, Employment, Entrepreneurship, and Faith. The LOH Walking Tour showcases historically Black neighborhoods in Ann Arbor.
Black Lives Matter Reading Lists
Black Lives Matter: Memoirs
Black Lives Matter: Teen Fiction
Black Lives Matter: The Legacy of Slavery
Black Lives Matter: Talking About Race
Black Lives Matter: Police Brutality and Injustice
Black Lives Matter: Anti-Racism for Kids
Black Lives Matter: The 1619 Project