The Hallie Q. Brown Community Center (HQB) Archive Project is a collaborative initiative that will serve as the hub of cultural and historical exchange for one of the Midwest’s most important loci of African American history. HQB is one of the lodestars for Black communities in the region, providing social space, services, educational and cultural support for St. Paul’s Black residents.
Goals of the project are as follows:
- The preservation, digitization, documentation and curation of the historic documents, photos, and memorabilia of HQB and the surrounding Rondo community.
- Creation of a searchable database of digitized items and content creation for physical and digital exhibits.
- On-site workshops with local youth to experience archival and curatorial activities.
- The creation of community-engaged products such as toolkits for gathering family history, and lesson plans for local schools.
The establishment of a well-preserved and meticulously indexed archive of materials from HQB has been needed for generations. This archive will provide the base of materials to develop other digital assets for the Center in the future, such as interactive displays in public areas to inform visitors of the Rondo Community, the legacy of the Center and its namesake, and educational materials for school children in St. Paul Public Schools. We will conduct surveys with participating students and their guardians to assess whether the program impacts their understanding of career pathways and educational track s associated with digital information management, library sciences, and related careers. Another desired but less tangible outcome is to increase the awareness of, and thereby interest in, history and historic preservation within the younger generations.
Most importantly, this will provide free access for youth and families in the community to see, hear and touch the history they are a part of and connect to it in a way they would not be able to without this project. All together, we have over 50,000 visitors a year to the Center. Each one of those will be able to see historical photos on the wall and read their stories, listen to oral histories and watch videos on monitors in the halls. They will be exposed to community history every time they walk through the doors.