A Renovated Upton Mansion in West Baltimore Will House The AFRO American Newspaper’s Archive Collection

Exterior of the Upton Mansion. Photo by Baltimore Heritage via Flickr.

What’s happening?

A new home is on the horizon for the archives of the AFRO American Newspaper—the longest-running, Black family-owned newspaper in the nation, Jasmine Vaughn-Hall reports for the Baltimore Banner. AFRO Charities, the organization tasked with caring for the archives, is raising money to renovate the Upton Mansion in West Baltimore to house and display the collection and to serve as the newspaper’s headquarters.

Why is the newspaper moving the archives? 

The majority of the collection is currently stored between the Maryland State Archives and AFRO Charities offices. But the organization hopes that, by uniting the archives in the new location, the public will access the three million photographs, thousands of letters, old reporter notebooks, and rare audio recordings to research Black history in Baltimore.

“[The archives are] really an invaluable resource for not only scholars, but just for everyday people who are curious about their own lineage, their own neighborhoods,” said AFRO Charities’ executive director, Savannah Wood.

The AFRO received development rights for the property in 2020. The nonprofit expects the project to cost $12.3 million, and they’ve already raised about $3.9 million. Wood said AFRO Charities plans to break ground this year with construction requiring about a year to complete.

Anything else I should know?

Aside from the renovation, AFRO Charities has also designed new programming to digitize the archives. The organization plans to launch a digitization preparation fellowship focused on introducing people to the field of archiving.  

You can read more here.

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