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 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Collections >> Collection Record

The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

American Black Journal production materials

Repository: Michigan State University Libraries. Special Collections

Collection Description (CRHP): MSU Libraries is in the process of accessioning and preserving all existing American Black Journal tapes and more than 20 boxes (circa 40 cubic feet) of associated production materials from the 34 years of ABJ programming between 1968 and 2002.

An advisory panel identified ten general themes in the recordings:

1. Education and Families: Building Opportunity and Community
2. Leadership: Politics, Politicians, and Reform
3. Musical Roots and Branches: Jazz, Motown, Gospel, Hip Hop, & Techno
4. Literature and Language: The Richness and Diversity of Black Voices
5. Religion and Spiritual Life
6. Sports and Entertainment: Actors, Athletes and the Black Community
7. Africa and African-Americans
8. Urban Challenges: Development, Re-development, and Community Life
9. Poverty, Progress, and the Rise of African-American Businesses and Professionals
10. Motor City & Motown: Detroit in Regional and National Context

Sixty-seven full-length ABJ shows and more than 90 short clips from them, organized around the ten themes, are available at the American Black Journal Online Archive (see collection URL). Guests include Bobby Seale, Erma Henderson, Ernest Dillard, Jesse Jackson, Julian Bond, Coleman Young, Stokely Carmichael, Nikki Giovanni, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Lena Horne, Earl Graves, Dave Bing, Berry Gordy, James Brown, Sun Ra, Martha Jean (the Queen) Steinberg; topics include black studies, discrimination in education, NAACP Detroit Youth Council, SNCC, Nation of Islam, African American athletes, the Detroit city schools.

To make ABJ interviews more meaningful to non-specialist users, short summaries of each episode, written by Dr. Steve Jones, provide context about the historical and political moments when they were produced. Curriculum materials were created that encourage students to look more closely at specific aspects of individual shows. The clips, and more than 130 questions about them, provide pathways through each thematic unit, aiming for both comprehension and critical thinking. To extend the usefulness of these unique materials for students and teachers, the thematic units include annotated lists of external resources, totaling 60 web resources, 30 films and 53 books. The "For Educators" section of the site explains to teachers how to use the collections of materials with their students.

Collection Description (Extant): Colored People's Time first aired in 1968 in Detroit, Michigan as a weekly TV show highlighting and promoting African American history and culture. It began during the Civil Rights era, a time in American history fraught with upheaval and change. In the 1970's and until the late 1980s it held the title of Detroit Black Journal. In 1988 its title became the American Black Journal. ABJ, an important and prestigious venue of media coverage promoting interest in and responsibility for African American community involvement, is one of the longest running, locally produced TV shows in the nation, giving a national voice to African Americans across all walks of life.

The Finding Aid for the American Black Journal is comprised of four Series containing ABJ shows, correspondence, business files and research materials. Each series contains materials pertinent to the production of the show at its inception in 1968 and spanning its 34 year broadcast history.

Access Copy Note: View digitized clips and summaries, as well as educational material, at the collection URL. The site also allows visitors to browse episodes by guest, host, theme, and detailed contents of finding aids.

DVDs of all reformatted /ABJ/ tapes will be available for viewing at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, as well as in MSU Special Collections.

Collection URL: http://abj.matrix.msu.edu/index.php External Link

Date(s): 1968-2002

Digital Status: Yes

Extent: 40 cubic feet

Language: English

Related Archival Items: MSU and DPTV have partnered with Michigan Historical Center to develop an innovative set of publicly available multi-media resources on African-American history in Michigan, titled /From Resistance to Rights: An Audiovisual Resource on Michigan's Civil Rights Legacy./ This phase of the project explores Detroit's role as a site of contestation between anti- and pro-slavery forces, Michigan as a microcosm of larger national and international forces of slavery and freedom, and the connections among 19th and 20th century dimensions of America's civil rights movement. These topics are explored using selected ABJ episodes, curated excerpts of legal documents and historical photographs and drawings, along with new contextual narrative and carefully linked metadata. This collaboration aims to advance secondary school student and adult understandings of civic engagement in public and legal processes. For more information, see http://projects.matrix.msu.edu/miarchive/.

Interviewees: Bobby Seale, Erma Henderson, Ernest Dillard, Jesse Jackson, Julian Bond, Coleman Young, Stokely Carmichael, Nikki Giovanni, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Lena Horne, Earl Graves, Dave Bing, Berry Gordy, James Brown, Sun Ra, Martha Jean Steinberg, Sue Alexander, John Conyers, John Conyers, Jr., Nathan Conyers, C.L. Franklin, Rev.William Ardrey, Rev. Edwina Pinson, Mel Ravitz, Maryann Mahaffey, Ken Cockrel, Ruby Turner, Claud Young, Nicholas Hood, William Anderson, James Del Rio, Tony Brown, Joe Madison, Howard Simon, Arthur Featherstone, Claud Young, Tony Brown, Charles Anderson, Lani Guinier

Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights

Subjects:

African American arts
African American athletes
African Americans--Civil rights--Michigan
Black nationalism
Black studies
Civil rights--Economic aspects
Civil rights--Press coverage
Civil rights--Religious aspects
Discrimination in employment
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
School integration--Michigan

Genres:

Interviews
Videorecordings

 

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   May 15, 2015
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