Membership

The Black Metropolis Research Consortium believes in creating historical value and innovation through collaboration and resource sharing. By sharing resources and expertise and jointly developing collections, the BMRC facilitates access to African American materials in Chicago institutions and provides an enhanced service to researchers, publishers, and students. Communication and access to other professionals may be the most important benefit BMRC membership has to offer.

Membership Information

Full Members are those institutions who wish to participate fully in the Black Metropolis Research Consortium ($2,000/fiscal year).

  • Membership on the BMRC Board of Directors
  • Three steering committee members
  • Grant participation
  • Invitation to annual meeting and events
  • Committee participation

Associate Members are community based organizations who maintain their own archival collections and make them accessible to researchers for use either digitally or by maintaining a stand alone repository which is open to the public ($500/fiscal year).

  • One steering committee member
  • Invitation to annual meeting and events

Contact us for more information

Member Institutions

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Chicago History Museum

CHM collects materials about the city’s multicultural history and engages the public. Black collections strengths at CHM include the African American Police League Records, the Chicago Housing Authority Development Records, the Olivet Baptist Church Records, and the Thing Magazine Records. CHM’s Research Center is currently open by appointment from Tuesday through Friday from 12:00pm-3:30pm. Accessibility options at this repository include elevators, automatic doors, wheelchair-accessible toilets, voice descriptions for images and videos, sign language interpretation, and the “Touch Tours of Chicago: Crossroads of America” which are available by appointment only. Learn more about this repository here.

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Chicago Public Library - Harold Washington Library

Harold Washington Library’s Special Collections contains materials related to Chicago, the Civil War, and Mayor Harold Washington. Black collections strengths at Harold Washington include the Harold Washington Archives Collection, the Jubilee Showcase Gospel Music Video Collection, and the Kuumba Theater Company Collection. Harold Washington Library is currently open on Monday through Thursday from 9:00am-8:00pm, Friday and Saturday from 9:00am-5:00pm, and Sundays from 1:00pm-5:00pm. Learn more about this repository here.

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Chicago Public Library - Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection

Woodson Regional Library houses the Vivian G. Harsh Collection, the largest African American history and literature collection in the Midwest. Collection strengths at Harsh include the Afro-American Genealogical and Historical Society of Chicago Records, the International Society of Sons and Daughters of Slave Ancestry Records, and the Chester Commodore Papers. The Harsh Research Collection is currently available by appointment on Monday through Thursday from 10:00am-7:00pm and on Saturday from 10:00am-4:00pm. Accessibility options at this repository include elevators, automatic doors, low-height counters and wheelchair-accessible research tables, wheelchair-accessible toilets, and braille on signage. Learn more about this repository here.

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Chicago State University

Chicago State University Library’s Archives and Special Collections preserves the historical record of the University. Black collection strengths at CSU include the Margaret Smith Papers, the Steven Balkin Maxwell Street Chicago Collection, and the R. Eugene Pincham and Alzata C. Pincham Collection. CSU’s Archives and Special Collections are currently closed. Accessibility options at this repository include elevators, automatic doors, low height counters and wheelchair-accessible research tables, quiet study areas with lighting adjustments, wheelchair-accessible toilets, braille on signage, and electric compact shelving. Learn more about this repository here.

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Columbia College Chicago

CCC’s Archives and Special Collections documents and shares materials related to the College. The College Archives’ manages the Center for Black Music Research, which houses materials of organizations like the National Association for Negro Musicians and individual composers and musicians like Eileen Southern. The College Archives has materials relevant to the African diaspora and Chicago’s Anti-Apartheid Movement. Columbia’s Archives and the CBMR are currently closed to researchers. Accessibility options at this repository include elevators, automatic doors, low height counters and wheelchair-accessible research tables, wheelchair-accessible toilets, braille on signage, and sign language interpretation. Learn more about this repository here.

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DePaul University

DePaul’s Special Collections and Archives collects, preserves, and shares materials that support the University. Black collection strengths at DePaul include the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence records, the Islam in America Collection, and the Chicago Great Lakes Underground Press Collection. DePaul’s Special Collections and Archives are currently closed. Accessibility options at this repository include elevators, automatic doors, low height counters and wheelchair accessible research tables, wheelchair-accessible toilets, and braille on signage. Learn more about this repository here.

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Dominican University

Dominican University's Archives and Special Collections is responsible for the collection, organization, description, preservation, and access to records of the University and its community. Collections surveyed by the BMRC include the Multicultural Affairs Records and the Photograph Collection. Dominican University’s Archives and Special Collections are open by appointment on Monday through Friday. Accessibility options at this repository include ramps, elevators, automatic doors, quiet study areas with lighting adjustments, and wheelchair-accessible toilets. Learn more about this repository here.

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Illinois Institute of Technology

IIT’s University Archives and Special Collections collects, preserves, stores, and provides access to the university’s records and collections. Strengths in IIT’S collections include materials related to the Institute’s predecessors and the South Side Planning Commission. IIT’S University Archives and Special Collections is currently closed. Accessibility options at this repository include ramps, elevators, automatic doors, low height counters and wheelchair-accessible research tables, wheelchair-accessible toilets, and braille on signage. Learn more about this repository here.

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Newberry Library

Newberry Library is an independent research library that collects, preserves, and makes accessible 15,000 linear feet of historic materials. Black collection strengths at the Newberry include the Ann Barzel Dance Research Collection, the Pullman Railroad Employment Records, and the Illinois Writers’ Project Papers, that are related to Arna Bontemps. Newberry Library’s reading rooms are open by appointment on Tuesday through Friday from 10:00am-1:00pm and 1:30pm-4:00pm. Accessibility options at this repository include ramps, elevators, automatic doors, quiet study areas with lighting adjustments, wheelchair-accessible toilets, braille on signage, and enlargers for fine print books. Learn more about this repository here.

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Northwestern University

Northwestern's Archives houses and provides access to records, publications, and photographs related to its history. The McCormick Library of Special Collections has materials related to Ronald Fair, Richard Wright, Amiri Baraka, and Ira Aldridge. The Herskovits Library of African Studies has a large collection of papers, photographs, and posters covering topics like the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa and the African Studies Association. Northwestern’s libraries are currently closed. Accessibility options at this repository include ramps, elevators, automatic doors, quiet study areas with lighting adjustments, wheelchair-accessible toilets, braille on signage, closed-captioning for videos, and text-to-voice software. More accessibility information can be found here. Learn more about the McCormick Library here, and about the Herskovits Library here.

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Oak Park Public Library

Oak Park Public Library empowers its community’s voices and shares information, services, and opportunities for Oak Park’s goals. The BMRC has not yet surveyed collections at this repository. A few of their Black collections include the Open Housing Movement Collection and the Harriette Gillem Robinet Collection. Oak Park Public Library’s Special Collections and Archives are currently closed. Accessibility options at this repository include ramps, elevators, and wheelchair-accessible toilets. Learn more about this repository here.

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Rebuild Foundation

Rebuild Foundation prioritizes art, cultural development, and neighborhood transformation by offering free arts programming, cultural amenities, and affordable housing, studio, and live-work spaces for Black people in Chicago. The Johnson Publishing Library, the Glass Lantern Slides Collection, the Frankie Knuckles Collection, and the Edward J. Williams Collections are available for research purposes only at the Stony Island Arts Bank. There are currently no finding aids for the collections. All of the Rebuild Foundation’s archival holdings are currently closed to researchers. Accessibility options at this repository include elevators, low height counters and wheelchair-accessible research tables, and wheelchair-accessible toilets. Learn more about this repository here.

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Roosevelt University

Roosevelt University’s Archives collects, preserves, exhibits, and provides access to materials holding the institutional memory of the University and its community. Black collection strengths at Roosevelt University Archives include the Frank Untermeyer Papers, the Dempsey Travis Papers, and the Christopher Robert Reed Papers. Roosevelt University’s Archives are currently closed. Accessibility options at this repository include ramps, elevators, quiet study areas with lighting adjustments, and wheelchair-accessible toilets. Learn more about this repository here.

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Shorefront Legacy Center

Shorefront Legacy Center is responsible for the collection, preservation, and education of Black History in Chicago’s North Shore. Collection strengths at Shorefront include the Melvin Smith Collection, the NAACP Evanston Branch Records, and the Evanston Photographic Negative Collection. Shorefront Legacy Center is open by appointment on Saturdays from 10:00am-2:00pm. Learn more about this repository here.

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University of Chicago

The University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center is the repository for the University’s rare books, manuscripts, University Archives, and Chicago Jazz Archives. Black collection strengths at the SCRC include the Ida B. Wells Papers, the ACLU Illinois Records, the Hyde Park Historical Society Collection, and the Alton Abraham Collection of Sun Ra. The SCRC is currently closed. Accessibility options at the SCRC include ramps, elevators, automatic doors, and low height counters and wheelchair-accessible research tables. Learn more about this repository here.

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University of Illinois at Chicago

UIC’s Special Collections and University Archives supports, enhances, and collaborates with the rest of the University towards their goals for education, research, and service activities. Black collection strengths at UIC include the Chicago Urban League Records, the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club Records, and the Maxwell Street Exhibition Photographs. UIC’s Special Collections and University Archives are currently closed. Accessibility options at this repository include elevators, automatic doors, low height counters and wheelchair-accessible research tables, wheelchair-accessible toilets, braille on signage, closed-captioning for videos, and text-to-voice software. Learn more about this repository here.

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