AAMLO Awarded “Recordings at Risk” Grant to Digitize Black Panther Party Films

Release Date

Mon, 05/21/2018

Oakland, CA – The African American Museum & Library at Oakland (AAMLO) was awarded the Recordings at Risk grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) to digitize and preserve Black Panther Party and social protest films from the Henry J. Williams Jr. Film Collection.

The $19,950 grant will allow AAMLO to digitize and provide online access to 98 films and four audiotapes documenting Black Panther Party and student and union protest movements from the late 1960s and 1970s.

“We are excited about the opportunity provided by the CLIR grant to bring this raw footage out of hiding and make it accessible to researchers and the public,” said AAMLO Interim Chief Curator Susan D. Anderson.

The recordings will be cleaned, digitized and prepped for cold storage. Access files of the recordings will be accessible through the internet archive and master files will be preserved in the museum’s digital asset management system (Preservica).

The films include footage shot by the documentary film collective California Newsreel of the Black Panther Party and its leaders in Oakland in the 1960s; union and student protest films of Vietnam War activists; United Automobile Workers and Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union strikes; Farah Manufacturing Company strike of 1972; and student protests at high schools in Oakland following the police shooting of 16-year-old Melvin Black in 1979.

This project is supported by a Recordings at Risk grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The grant program is made possible by funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

AAMLO was one of only 16 recipients that were awarded grants by CLIR in Spring 2018. CLIR is an independent, non-profit organization that creates strategies to enhance research, teaching and learning in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions and communities of higher learning. Recordings at Risk specifically supports the preservation of rare and unique audio and audiovisual content of high scholarly value. 

The African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO) is dedicated to the discovery, preservation, interpretation and sharing of historical and cultural experiences of African Americans in California and the West for present and future generations. The archives include over 160 collections documenting prominent families, pioneers, churches, social and political organizations. AAMLO has a unique non-circulating reference library for researchers, students and anyone interested in African American history, in addition to a second-floor museum that regularly hosts traveling and original exhibitions highlighting the art, history and culture of African Americans. Located at 659 14th St., AAMLO is housed in the former Charles S. Greene Library, a historic 1902 Carnegie building.