Renewing Heritage after Urban Renewal: The Lakeland Digital Archive

What are the challenges of creating an archive for a multi-generational African American community, two-thirds of whose residents were displaced by urban renewal in the 1970s and 1980s? What roles can and should a digital archive play in documenting, conserving, and making available historic resources to current and former community members? In 2009, the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland began a community engaged collaboration with the Lakeland Community Heritage Project (LCHP) to help recover, document, preserve, and interpret the history of Lakeland, a historic community adjacent to our campus. The most ambitious product of that partnership to date is the establishment of an archive. This talk will explore the challenges of developing the digital archive for LCHP. That process has asked us to think deeply about issues of archive and repertoire, variable survivability of historic resources, how to document African American community building, how to remediate trauma and loss, and digital accessibility issues for a complex community of all ages.