Black Press Research Collective

With the word “collective” in the project title, the Black Press Research Collective (BPRC) is a collection of people, rather than artifacts. The five people listed on the about page represent a range of humanities and social studies disciplines: African-American history, communications, education, English, and history. An assistant professor of history, Kim Gallon is the project’s founder and director, and presumably the other co-founder referenced on the welcome page is Moira Hinderer, who was a project manager and instructor at the Johns Hopkins Center for Africana Studies during Gallon’s visiting appointment there (and is listed second on the who we are page).

The authors identify themselves as interdisciplinary, and the posted projects vary from maps to a digital gallery, to a chart, to a collection of video interviews, to a word cloud and lesson plans for using word cloud in the study of historical Black newspapers. These form a significant part of the site.

However, the blog posts have what may be a more prominent role on the site. After the framework, the site’s landing page is comprised of blog posts, which have dwindled six years after the site’s launch, but Gallon still adds content now and again. The posts provide a sort of expert testimony on news and events outside of the academy, as well as a venue for academic sharing. There are also resources lists, including one pointing to external archives and digital offerings, that seems of enduring use, despite the fact that some of the links need updating.

The WordPress site and GUI tools used to create the visualizations present a low barrier to access for the collective of scholars. They provide an easy portfolio for the assistant professors (read: not-yet-tenured) to collect and show their work and profile their interests for their own and others’ use. I’ve encountered scoffing attitudes toward tag clouds, but I find them useful as a makeshift index or table of contents.

BPRC Tag Cloud

BPRC Tag Cloud (not clickable)