It was not until I was older that I came to understand that pictures can impact the way people can view history and important events in society. With this, I began to develop a strong interest in the opportunities within library science and archival studies. My perception of knowledge began to grow as I looked through historical documents and I appreciated the documented materials I could grasp in my hands. By exposing myself to the 'hidden narrative' of history and stories that have not been told to the public, I began to appreciate the value of my education and the finer details of books, in addition to stories told through the written word. For me, the field of librarianship became an opportunity to explore what I loved the most, history and potential possibilities of preserved documents. “Everything has a history” is a concept I became fascinated with and thus it is why I became obsessed with details of America’s past history relating to social justice and the archives. My love for the ‘hidden narrative’ and archival work never really began at a certain point but developed more in-depth from my passion for art.

Finishing my third year of college at the University of Scranton, I realized I needed a plan for myself in the future. As I kept this in mind, I fulfilled a few humanities credits with art history, and then this archival fascination began. I enjoyed looking through 15th-century manuscripts in my medieval art history class and paintings with beautiful and symbolic meanings, this is where my interest grew even more. In this subject, I was able to understand the material better than any of the other classes I have taken, as a result, my passion for art history developed more as a University of Scranton student. Approaching the end of my college career, my realization for the matter of social justice evolved when I was required to take Theology 2 as part of the curriculum for my undergraduate degree. The professor I had taken for Theology 2 was passionate and inspired me to make a change in the way I was learning and focus within society. Therefore, I became more involved on my campus in social justice matters, such as volunteering to help lower-income communities and taking part in a research project like this to expose the ‘hidden narrative’ of this social justice matter within America’s archival history. 

It has taken upon my interest that archives and social justice develop a prominent theme within the hidden narrative of archival research that could expose the truth of many background details to the public. The archives are an important source of information that foretells instances of social justice. These are the kind of events that need to be told, the personal narratives are what are significant to our history. Though archives can be composed of photographs, letters, newspapers, essays, paintings, and murals. Collections like these, achieve a hidden account that no one thinks to look at, which becomes a significant role in our history and exposes the truth through challenging roles of social justice in the past centuries. The telling of stories through historical and personal narratives completes the picture of how society functions through instances of actions and words by implementing crucial times in history.

 

Banksy: Girl with Teddy Bear

Art of Protest Gallery

Breonna Taylor Memorial/ Protest Art

Pictured here is a symbol of the Black Lives Matter movement, depicting Breonna Taylor on a Confederate statue of Robert E. Lee that has been replaced with meanings and names representing those who lost their lives to police brutality. This place now acts as a location of unity for all in Richmond, VA.

(A photograph of Breonna Taylor, projected onto the statue of Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va., July 2020)

A collection of archives provides a set of eyes through our historical past. The documents collected over the years tell a narrative of the past history that we hold true to our existence. Such a tool contains various sources where the public can gaze upon and answer their questions of knowledge for facts and data (National Archives and Records Administration). This type of arrangement guarantees numerous sources for an individual looking for information. For instance, an assortment of letters, newspapers, books, photographs and so much more. Depending on what a certain person is looking for, archives have carried and collected multiple formatted sources of information for the user and researcher (National Archives and Records Administration). Most importantly, an archive provides one of the most important keys to understanding our past as humankind. Therefore, many of the activities in our daily lives require mulitple individuals to take part in information and communication services while trying to direct their own lives. Because documents have a lot to say, certain themes become prelevant to present day times, especially social justice issues. These issues make people aware of important human rights issues and events that need our dire attention. One of the most important forms of activism can be seen through murals,  paintings and protest art as an act of speaking out against society. 

One of the most effective notions of protest in revolt against society to expose the wrong doings and the truths agaisnt the superior force is protest art. In all forms of media and documentation, protest art provides a raw, but interprative perspective for the viewers to see and understand. 

Footnotes: 

  • Society of American Archivists book, “Describing Archives: A Content Standard”(Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2019), Page vii-xvii

  • “What's an Archives?” National Archives and Records Administration. National Archives and Records Administration, August 16, 2016. https://www.archives.gov/about/info/whats-an-archives.html.