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Moorland-Spingarn Research Center Receives $2 Million Mellon Grant to Support Its Historic Archival Collections

Moorland-Spingarn Research Center Reading Room

WASHINGTON - The Mellon Foundation has awarded the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center (MSRC) a $2 million grant to support five new positions in the University Archives and Manuscript Divisions, process the Center’s collections, develop a plan for a conservation lab. One of the new staff positions will be an audiovisual librarian who will be responsible curating MSRC’s extensive video and music collection that includes a unique array of reel-to-reel and VHS videos, cassettes, and record albums. As part of the grant, MSRC will digitize a large portion of this rich collection.  

“This grant is a tremendous boost for MSRC. Our staff has worked incredibly hard to increase public access to MSRC’s library and archive collections, while we have simultaneously worked to ensure that these collections remain available for future generations of Howard students, faculty, and researchers,” said Benjamin Talton, PhD, director of MSRC. “I regard this grant as a reflection of growing public recognition of MSRC’s singular importance as custodian of the histories of individuals, organizations, and institutions, including Howard University, that are essential for interpreting and defining the experiences of Africans and people of African descent in the United States and across the globe.” 

“We are grateful for the Mellon Foundation’s generous donation. The gift will enable us to continue the important work done at MSRC. The history that is curated and preserved at the center is essential to our understanding of the Black community and of the world we live in. The Mellon Foundation’s gift will help us bring that important history to the public in more ways than ever before,” said Anthony K. Wutoh, PhD, Howard University Provost. 

“I want to thank the Mellon Foundation for their bountiful contribution to support and expand the capabilities of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center,” said Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick, M.D., MBA. “As the most comprehensive repository of the global black experience, Moorland-Spingarn represents our incredible past, our promising present, and our boundless future. I am thrilled the Mellon Foundation’s generosity will aid the MSRC as it continues to expand its collection of historical images and documents, and I am eager to see how this meaningful contribution will allow the center to educate the public and engaging in innovative ways.” 

The Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University is the largest privately owned library, archive, including prints and photographs, and museum collection, related to the global Black experience. Founded in 1914 as the Moorland Foundation, the MSRC consists of the University Archives, the Manuscripts Division, MSRC Library, the Howard University Museum, and the Black Press Archive. Its extensive archival collections include the personal and official papers of Howard President Mordecai Johnson, Alaine Locke, Kwame Nkrumah, Paul and Eslanda Robeson, Alain Locke, Mary Frances Berry, Dr. Benjamin Mays, Vernon Jordon, and Amiri Baraka, to list but a few from its thousands of records. 



About Howard University 

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced two Schwarzman Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu