February 3, 1998 Library of Congress To Put African American Collections On-Line

Citicorp Foundation Donates $1 Million for Digitizing "African American Odyssey" Exhibition and Other Materials

Contact: Guy Lamolinara, Library of Congress (202) 707-9217 | Daria Sheehan, Citicorp (212) 559-9841

The Library of Congress will begin digitization of its major exhibition "African American Odyssey" and other important materials from its incomparable African American collections to make them accessible on-line. A grant of $1 million from the Citicorp Foundation will enable the Library to start this project immediately. A preview of the exhibition is available at http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/african/intro.html.

"The Library's African American holdings are the strongest in the nation, and we are pleased to accept Citicorp's generous gift, which will make it possible for Americans everywhere to share in the riches of these collections," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "The impact of this exhibition, which focuses on the contributions of African Americans to this country's promise of equality for all, will increase exponentially, thanks to this donation."

"This grant to the National Digital Library Program of the Library of Congress underscores the Citicorp Foundation's commitment to bring educational resources and curriculum to classrooms electronically," said Paul Ostergard, the Foundation's president. "This grant is one of the programs in our $25 million, 10-year 'Banking on Education' initiative designed to help modernize K-12 education worldwide.

"African American Odyssey," on view in the Library's Thomas Jefferson Building Feb. 5 through May 2, draws from all corners of the world's largest library and presents materials in a variety of media, from books and manuscripts to prints, photographs, films, scores, maps and oral histories. It will remain available on-line indefinitely at http://www.loc.gov/.

Using hundreds of items from the Library, "African American Odyssey" tells the story of blacks' quest for full citizenship in nine sections: "Slavery -- The Peculiar Institution"; "Free Blacks in the Antebellum Period"; "Abolitionists, Antislavery Movements and the Rise of Sectional Controversy"; "The Civil War"; "Reconstruction and Its Aftermath"; "The Booker T. Washington Era"; "World War I and Postwar Society"; "The Depression, the New Deal and World War II"; and "The Civil Rights Era."

The exhibition is based on a book published by the Library in 1993, The African American Mosaic: A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture, edited by Debra Newman Ham, professor of history at Morgan State University, former specialist in African American history and culture at the Library of Congress and guest curator of the exhibition.

The National Digital Library Program of the Library of Congress will make millions of items relating to American history freely available on the Internet by the year 2000. Among the more than two dozen collections available at http://www.loc.gov/ are "African American Perspectives," "Votes for Women Suffrage Pictures," "Early Motion Pictures" and "Panoramic Maps." More than 40 million transactions monthly are handled by the Library's Internet services.

The Citicorp Foundation is fully funded by Citicorp and Citibank. Its priorities are education and community development, with smaller programs devoted to the arts, health and human services and the environment.

Citibank is a subsidiary of Citicorp. A global financial services organization serving consumers, businesses, governments and financial institutions through 3,200 locations in 99 countries and territories. Citicorp activities are conducted through two principal businesses -- the global Consumer Business and global Corporate Bank. The Consumer Business operates a uniquely global, full-service consumer franchise encompassing branch and electronic banking, investments and insurance, credit and charge cards, and private banking. The Corporate Bank services corporations, financial institutions, governments and other participants in capital markets throughout the world.


PR 98-012
ISSN 0731-3527