Monday, June 14, 2004

Flag Day

A new series of posts about human rights archives

After a week of patriotic frenzies for former President Ronald Reagan, I thought I would announce an upcoming series on archives with an interest in human rights. Our nation is only as great as the leaders, citizens, and friends who call the U.S. home, or an ally--and we are an amazing group. Yet, we as a nation are not without room for improvement. We lag behind Europe on some issues, the death penalty especially, equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people, true spiritual liberty (whatever that is), and other issues certainly, like holding heads of state in custody for undetermined lengths of time.

While in some people's minds the task of telling these stories might be better left to journalists, poets, historians, and novelists--maybe even politicians and governments. But these other professions need the assistance of professional archivists to get the story as "right" as possible. Archivists need to do the work of documenting the cultural life of these united states so the task of living up to our lofty goals is attainable, at least in good faith. Archivists can also certainly tell the stories themselves, but as archivists our job is to assist others by providing ready access to materials of enduring and continuing value.

This blog series will feature the National Security Archive, the Human Rights Watch Archive, academic institutions such as the Oviatt Library at California State University, Northridge, which has received the collected papers of the Chicano comedic theater troupe Culture Clash (some of which will be included in the library's Latino Cultural Heritage Digital Archives, according to printed news sources from the Reed Elsevier company),as well as the U.S. National Archives and the archives of other countries.

For now though, today is set aside as a day to celebrate the birthday of the stars and stripes. Happy flag day one and all!

Click for a history of the U.S. Flag.


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