The Black Metropolis Research Consortium (BMRC) at the University of Chicago, which recently celebrated its 15th anniversary, is running a survey to hear what Black Chicagoans need to preserve their family histories. 

The BMRC — an association of institutions that collect and preserve Black history — will use the survey results to determine the content of a series of public workshops for the city’s Black community on archiving, community engagement and legacy management. The workshops are funded by a Documenting Black Chicago grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that the BMRC recently received.  

“It could cover things like community archiving, scanning photos and documents and digitizing them — generally just things related to community archiving,” said Tanya Calvin, community engagement archivist at the BMRC. “We can get together workshops about how to document oral histories at home, or donating historical materials to museums, libraries and archives.”  

Anyone who fills out the survey will also have the option to enter a raffle; ten winners will receive an “Archival Toolkit” that includes acid-free folders, photo sleeves and a tip sheet with information about how to preserve your historical materials at home. 

Visit for more information, to fill out the survey and enter the raffle.


Christian Belanger graduated from the University of Chicago in 2017. He has previously written for South Side Weekly, Chicago magazine and the Chicago Reader.

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