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Museum Offers To Digitize Black Family Photos, Videos For Free


The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington is giving black families a chance to preserve their memories for free.

As a part of its new initiative, called The Great Migration Home Movie Project, families can schedule an appointment and bring their vintage photos and videos to the Robert F. Smith Explore Your Family History Center, located in the museum. Conservators will digitize motion picture film, obsolete video tape formats and audio formats, according to the project’s website. 

“In a very radical way, we recognize the importance of these vernacular, homemade images, this folk cinema, as an alternate history to the kinds of history that the mass media tells,” Walter Forsberg, media archivist with the museum, told The Baltimore Sun. “We wanted to render a public service free of charge because we knew there was a lot of material out there trapped on obsolete formats.”

The museum also has collected home videos from black celebrities and families to use, according to the project’s website, as a tool for “understanding and re-framing black moving image history, and provide a much needed visualization of African American history and culture.” 

The collections demonstrate, among other things, “the resiliency of civil rights activists in 1963” in Danville, Virginia, “the optimism and drive of empowered youth in the Bedford-Stuyvesant community” of Brooklyn during the 1960′s, and “the rooted spirituality of black Oklahomans in the face of race riots and segregation in 1920′s Tulsa,” according to the website. 

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Phyllis Coley
Phyllis D. Coley is CEO/Publisher of Spectacular Magazine and Host of Spectacular Magazine Radio Show. With a B.A. in English from NCCU, the Durham native began her professional career as Promotions/Marketing Director for New York City’s WKTU-FM. While at the radio station, Coley discovered the rap group Kid ‘n Play and managed them for five years, guiding their music and movie careers to success. Moving back to Durham, Coley produced a nationally syndicated television show, The Electric Factory, while working as News Director for FOXY 107/104. In April 2002, recognizing a void in highlighting the achievements of African Americans, she started her own business publishing ACE Magazine. Coley launched Spectacular Magazine in November 2004. Recognizing the lack of pertinent and truthful information, Coley began Spectacular Magazine Radio Show in March 2009. Coley is the organizer of Durham's Annual MLK/Black History Month Parade and the Annual North Carolina Juneteenth Celebration. She currently serves on Central Children’s Home Board of Directors, Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Advisors, as Immediate Past Secretary of the Durham Rotary Club Board of Directors and is one of the founding members of the Triangle United Way’s African American Leadership Initiative.

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