Hundreds of thousands of documents, videos, photos and other materials chronicling African American history can now be searched and accessed by anybody – for free.
The University of Minnesota Libraries, coupled with the Penumbra Theatre Company, launched Umbra Search African American History. It's a digital collection of 406,213 items from more than 1,000 U.S. archives, libraries, and museums.
The collection is completely free, for anyone.
"Umbra Search African American History is an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to learn more about African American history," Kara Olidge of Tulane University, who serves as an Umbra Search advisory board member, said in a news release. "By providing access to thousands of digitized materials, Umbra Search makes it possible to do research at libraries all across the country without getting on a plane."
The project is now out of beta and testing, and there are plans to use it in Minnesota for History Day projects, as well as in classes at St. Paul's Gordon Parks High School, and other classrooms around the country.
"No library is able to digitize all of its holdings, but by bringing together materials from all over the country, Umbra Search allows students and scholars to tell stories that have never been told before," University Libraries Director Cecily Marcus said in the release. "Umbra Search partners have amazing collections, and now those materials can sit side by side with related content from a library on the other side of the country."
You can see a list of partner institutions here, including universities and libraries from across the country.
Umbra Search has a blog here for more info.