Rice University is engaged in exploring its legacy, and sharing that information publicly, with Fondren Library and the Woodson Research Center / University Archives serving as key research support in that effort. The Task Force on Slavery, Segregation, and Racial Injustice, appointed by President David Leebron in June 2019, has over the past year engaged faculty, students, staff, and the community in research to spark dialogue and to better document our history. Led by faculty members Dr. Alex Byrd and Dr. Caleb McDaniel, the Task Force is supported by Fondren Library in a variety of ways.
- Items of interest include census data revealing William Marsh Rice’s slaveholding, as well as published histories of Rice, links to archival materials, and a student-developed online exhibit “Rice University Between Decisions: From Co-Education to Integration, 1957-1970.”
- E-books and other materials accessible remotely are highlighted, and suggestions for additional materials are welcome – email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Woodson Research Center, as home to the Rice University Archives, works to make resources accessible to the public.
- Working with students involved with Rice4BlackLives to provide research support regarding African Americans at Rice over time, for display as a physical and digital exhibit, coming Fall 2020.
- Digitizing documents and making them available publicly online with the existing Rice history materials, here and here, where photos. documents, The Thresher student newspaper, Campanile yearbook, and General Announcements (faculty and classes listed by year) can all be found.
- Rice University Charter Trial records, which document the legal process of desegregation at Rice, as well as community response, are already being digitized as an entire group. The archival guide to that record group is here.
- Documents from the Early Rice Institute records (archival guide here), and other archival collections, are being scanned in collaboration with the Task Force on Slavery, Segregation, and Racial Injustice.
Fondren Library is also engaged in efforts to build diversity in its collections and work with community members in social justice. Examples include:
- Collaborating with the Center for Engaged Leadership to host a postdoctoral fellowship beginning July 2020 in Data Curation for African American Studies.
- Funded a student exploration of expanding Rice’s art history curriculum in Global Art, specifically looking at African art, as part of the Fondren Fellows program, in 2019-2020.
- Woodson Research Center received grant funding to make available online archives from the African American community and Jewish community in Houston. Yesterday’s blog post features materials from the Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, which are currently being digitized.
- Staff at the Woodson Research Center are working with area school districts to provide supplemental teaching materials on convict leasing, for the African American history curriculum approved by the Texas State Board of Education. This relates to the Reginald Moore Sugar Land Convict Leasing System research collection, which also has a related research travel grant for research in activism and social justice.