BMRC Awarded ALA American Rescue Plan: Humanities in Action Grant

February 25, 2022

ALA American Rescue Plan Grant

The Black Metropolis Research Consortium (BMRC) has been selected as one of 200 libraries nationwide for the American Library Association’s American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries!

The competitive award comes with a $10,000 grant that will help the BMRC expand knowledge about Black historical collections at Chicagoland libraries, museums, universities and cultural heritage organizations and help fulfill our mission to connect all who seek to document, share, understand and preserve Black experiences. More than 370 libraries applied for the grant, according to ALA. The participating libraries, selected through a competitive, peer-reviewed application process, include public libraries, academic/college libraries, K-12 libraries, and tribal, special and prison libraries. Libraries were chosen with an emphasis on reaching historically underserved and/or rural communities.

The BMRC's grant initiative, “Tools for Exploration & Sharing Chicago’s African American Archival Gems” will provide training needed to encourage local Chicago Public School history teachers to explore and use archival documents from BMRC member institutions in their classrooms and in the development of student history fair projects. We are excited to partner with Chicago Metro History Day (CMHD), the local affiliate of National History Day, as well as academic scholars and archivists within the BMRC network to develop immersive summer workshops for teachers.

Recognizing that the BMRC could have greater impact on the younger generation, a partnership with CMHD moves us forward in increasing awareness of and engagement with BMRC resources among high school teachers and their students. "Each year, CMHD helps thousands of students from more than 50 schools across the greater Chicago area research historical topics and turn their conclusions into historical arguments," said Crystal Johnson, manager of Chicago Metro History Day. "Our students and teachers rely on CMHD to connect them to local historical institutions where they can find the stories they wish to research and the sources they need to tell these stories persuasively. We work closely with partners like the BMRC to raise awareness of their collections and guide students in how to use them for historical research. Chicago is uniquely fortunate to hold some of the country’s most historically significant collections in African American history," she continued. Chicago Metro History Day is sponsored by the Chicago History Museum, a BMRC member institution.

The Black Metropolis Research Consortium is a Chicago-based membership association of libraries, universities, museums, community-based archives, government archives and other cultural heritage organizations, all of which contain historical records relevant to Black history and culture.  The BMRC is a unit within the University of Chicago Library and the University of Chicago serves as host institution and fiscal agent. To learn more about the BMRC, click here.

American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries is an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. To learn more about the grant, click here.