Area library aims to provide resources on African American history

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Throughout much of America’s history the contributions and accomplishments of African Americans have been under-documented and in some cases outright ignored.

The Columbus-Lowndes Public Library is trying to change that.

Archivist, Mona Vance-Ali, said the library was making sure it could provide resources so area residents can learn more about African American history.

“We have access to, and we also have vertical files which are like newspaper clippings. We have newspapers, manuscript collections, local government records so those court cases and minutes, and we have maps and photographs,” said Vance-Ali.

Vance-Ali knew that having more resources about black heritage could be important for many people.

“African American history is a very interesting topic for a lot of researchers, right now. Technology has allowed us to put more stuff online. Now, more people are coming here to access African American history. That has increased a lot over the last few years. We want to put more collections and materials out there that deal specifically with African American history,” said Vance-Ali.

She said the library was working with other institutions to make sure residents across the Golden Triangle would have access to these previously untold stories.

“The Lantern Project is in collaboration with Mississippi State, and we are digitizing local court records that involved enslaved people. That is different because, in the past, they may not be the plaintiff or the defendant, but the property that is being discussed,” said Vance-Ali.

If you’re looking to do some research of your own or if you would like to donate some of your archives to the library, the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library is open from Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can also call the library at (662)329-5300.

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