Exhibition: Liberating Black Art

In partnership with Art Galleries at Black Studies (AGBS), the BDA is pleased to present Liberating Black Art on view at the Neill-Cochran House Museum.  This show presents artworks from the Black Diaspora Archive in conversation with two local, private collections. Collectively, these works highlight the distinct yet cohesive, approach of artists in using creativity as an antidote to systemic erasure and misrepresentation and as a means of celebrating the cultural legacy of people of African descent.

Read more about the exhibition here.


Tex Libris: The John S. and Drucie R. Chase Building Archive

Image used to herald the opening of the newly renovated Chase Building

Jeremy Thompson is a Diversity Resident Librarian at the University of Texas Libraries.

The John S. and Drucie R. Chase Building Archive is stewarded by the Black Diaspora Archive and can be accessed through a variety of avenues. The oral histories and photographs can be accessed online via the University of Texas Libraries Collections portal, here. The analog artifacts of the collection have been described in the collection’s TARO finding aid and can be requested in the Benson Latin American Collection’s rare books and manuscripts reading room. For more in-depth history about the Chase Building, visit CCE’s showcase on it and their series of videos centered around the building and its surrounding communities. Collections like the Chase Building Archive provide us the opportunity to learn how Black communities and spaces come about, and warn us about the diaspora that looms with their absence.

For more on the history of the John S. and Drucie R. Chase House and the archive, read Jeremy’s full article here.

Texas Slave Trade Mapping Project Receives Mellon Foundation and National Archives Grant

Photos L to R: Dr. Berry, Moore, Winston.

A historical archive project that traces the routes of Texas’ domestic slave trade has received a grant of $119,326 over two years to expand its digital presence. The Texas Domestic Slave Trade (TXDST) project was founded by Daina Ramey Berry, Chair of UT Austin’s Department of History, and Rachel E. Winston, Black Diaspora Archivist at UT Libraries. The TXDST project manager is Sheena Moore, a senior administrative associate in the Department of History. The grant is funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), which is a collaboration between the Mellon Foundation and the National Archives that aims to expand cultural diversity in American history.

More information can be found in announcements by the College of Liberal Arts Public Affairs and the Department of History.

Tex Libris: Curating an Oral History of Alpha Kappa Alpha at The University of Texas at Austin

Photo courtesy of Barbara Dugas-Patterson, 1982. Dugas-Patterson was crowned as Cotton Bowl Queen by popularity vote and support from Delta Xi members, thus participating in the Cotton Bowl Classic. The University of Texas was ranked #1 in the Southwest Conference at the time and competed against the University of Alabama.

An overview of the three-part BDA blog series Curating an Oral History of Alpha Kappa Alpha by Briana Marie Davis (Class of 2021) has been featured on Tex Libris, and can be read here.

Curating an Oral History of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at The University of Texas || Part III


AKA Formal, 1986. Photo courtesy of Barbara Dugas-Patterson.

Unearthing the Histories of Black Women in Higher Education

One of the most intriguing bits of history I’ve encountered during this project is the relationships between Black and white fraternities. The first Black Greek-letter organization on campus was none other than the Delta Xi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. On May 16, 1959, Delta Xi charter members Alnita F. Rettig, Jerry Ann Cannon, Barbara Caruthers, Evelyn Deason, Donna Licia Guess, Mamie Flora Hans, Miriam Jean Jones, Bettye Joanne McAdams, Carolyn Nan Mims, Doris Price, Mary Simpson, Walta Marie Smith, Janice Strickland, Gloria D. Truscott, and Mabel Joyce Wilson officially integrated Greek organizations at the University of Texas. 

Continue reading “Curating an Oral History of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at The University of Texas || Part III”