[Update: These trials have now ended. If you have any feedback you wish to give regarding these databases, please contact Bethan Davies, VHL Librarian – 2nd March 2023]
I am pleased to announce that the VHL has organised trials of two databases; Race Relations in America and Everyday Life and Women in America, 1800-1920.
The trials for both databases last until the 1st March 2023 – please plan your use of these databases accordingly, and pass any feedback that you have to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Based at Fisk University from 1943-1970, the Race Relations Department and its annual Institute were set up by the American Missionary Association to investigate problem areas in race relations and develop methods for educating communities and preventing conflict. Documenting three pivotal decades in the fight for civil rights, this resource showcases the speeches, reports, surveys and analyses produced by the Department’s staff and Institute participants.
Key themes covered include:
· Desegregation of schools, industries and public transport – survey material documents the attitudes of the community towards prospective desegregation, as well as analysing the results. The progress of legislation and legal cases can also be explored within the collection, alongside statistical data used in key Supreme Court Cases.
· Migration of African Americans from the rural South to urban centers, which had a significant impact on American industry and the labour movement, as well as domestic issues such as housing, overcrowding and poverty.
· The role of the Church in the Civil Rights Movement and in African American communities, from helping to fund organizations like the Race Relations Institute, to the part played in encouraging integration or segregation among their congregations. Other religious and spiritual groups are also covered.
· Race riots and other racial tensions, which the Race Relations Department worked to diffuse or prevent by aiding communities to identify and address their problems. Alongside surveys created by field workers are reports on specific events, with testimonies from individuals involved in events such as police brutality.
· Activities of the Civil Rights Movement, including protest marches, sit-in demonstrations, student movements, and legal cases. Reports and correspondence are kept on key organisations, as well as the activities of specific hate groups.
· Speeches and reports by key figures of the time, including Thurgood Marshall and Rosa Parks, alongside sociologists, activists, psychologists, teachers, ministers, students and housewives.
Alongside this are contextual essays, thematic guides, audio recordings and video interviews, interactive maps of survey locations and data on attendees of Race Relations Institute.
Everyday Life and Women in America, 1800-1920
Everyday Life & Women in America comprises thousands of fully searchable images of monographs, pamphlets, periodicals and broadsides addressing 19th and early 20th century political, social and gender issues, religion, race, education, employment, marriage, sexuality, home and family life, health, and pastimes. The collection is especially rich in conduct of life and domestic management literature, offering vivid insights into the daily lives of women and men, as well as emphasizing contrasts in regional, urban and rural cultures.
Key themed areas within the collection are:
· An extensive number of periodicals, with either complete or near complete runs, covering both national and local levels. Titles include society periodicals like Town Topics and general household magazines such as Household News. Periodicals focused on religious, political and social causes are included (like the anarchist Lucifer, The Light Bearer, which later became the American Journal of Eugenics), alongside official publications of clubs, organisations and educational institutions. Topics also cover national events and topics, such as the American Civil War, suffrage movements and race.
· Documents which refer to, and were aimed for, African Americans, Native Americans and Jewish women. There are also publications aimed at and for white supremacist movements (such as Installation ceremonies; Women of the Ku Klux Klan).
· A broad collection of popular fiction series and sensational literature.
· Guidance books, etiquette manuals and advisory literature on the expected behaviour of women and their conduct, marriages, motherhood and house roles.
· Works and official reports on the role of women in education and the workplace.
· Rare cookbooks, medical guidance works and collections of home remedies.
· Fashion advertisements and periodicals, as well as works on the “ideal form of Beauty”.
Alongside this are contextual essays, thematic guides, an interactive chronology of events throughout 1800-1920, and subject search directories.