The Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL), of which Lehigh’s Special Collections is a member, announced last fall that it had been awarded a Discovery Grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage for its project, “Chronicling Resistance, Enabling Resistance: Libraries and Archives Expose Historical Documents and Encourage Communities to Make Their Stories Heard.” Resistance has taken many forms in the region for over 300 years, ranging from labor movements to religious statements to environmental action, and many examples of resistance are documented in the collections of cultural heritage institutions.
Special Collections curator Lois Black, a member of the project’s steering committee, observed that “it is critical that libraries, archives, and museums document acts of resistance that will shape our understanding of significant historical events.” Lehigh’s participation in this project also extends to the inclusion of several archival collections from Lehigh’s Special Collections in PACSCL’s efforts to compile a list of those collections in the region that documents the challenges of individuals, communities, and organizations. Included are LEPOCO (Lehigh-Pocono Committee of Concern) Archives; the Nancy Shukaitis Papers; the Anna Pongracz Papers; Lehigh University Forum archives; and the Rodale Inc. archives.
For more information about the project, please see PACSCL’s press release and visit the project website at http://resistance.pacscl.org. Support for the research and development of “Chronicling Resistance, Enabling Resistance” is provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. This funding has enabled participants to engage with communities directly through a series of public town hall-like events and listening sessions at a variety of venues, including public libraries and community centers. Themes to date have included what resistance means, the history of resistance, how documentation and access to records can impact resistance, and the role of cultural heritage institutions in resistance and documenting resistance. These discussions, led by Project DIrector Mariam Wiliams, will help us to identify potential audiences and engage them in this process.