UWG recognizes the value of West Georgia regional historical societies, genealogical societies, churches, and organizations and their importance in preserving culturally significant materials. Special Collections partners with local organizations to provide digital preservation consultation and services to ensure archival collections documenting the uniqueness of Georgia culture and the impact everyday people have in shaping our region’s collective memory, are available to our community and researchers for years to come. Community Archives offer opportunities for community members to tell their stories and facilitate the preservation of these stories building archives representative of the people and free of the traditional institutional repository.
African American Churches in West Georgia Community Archives Project
The church has long been at the center of African American communities and of the events that shape American history. Given not only to the teachings of Christianity, African American churches were faithfully relied upon to address the specific issues which affected their members and surrounding communities. As the greatest source for African American religious enrichment and secular development the African American church continues to connect the dynamic traditions of the past to today's mission and congregational life. Special Collections will assist one hundred plus-year-old local congregations and families with the often daunting task of organizing church records. The communal work of preserving the church's historical records can deepen our understanding of identity as an ever-evolving conversation with the past.
This project is based upon the post-custodial theory of archives in which archival organizations work to assist records creators in the collection and preservation of, and creating pathways for public access to, primary source materials. The records creators, in this case, churches, retain their records instead of donating them to an archival institution. Instead of collecting materials, this project will assist local churches in the creation of standards-based Encoded Archival Description (EAD) finding aids, the content of which would be hosted online at UWG's Finding Aids website at the Digital Library of Georgia (http://uwg.galileo.usg.edu/uwg/search) and on the local churches’ website, with permission.