Do you have photographs, digital art, video, or other documentation of the protests and marches occurring in our communities? This is history happening now—and you can help save it for future generations.
When we are part of important events—such as the incredible movement of humans standing up and saying Black Lives Matter—capturing the moment in photos and video is a common reaction.
These visual digital records are powerful tools. They can be used for activism and organizing in the present. And when future generations want to know the history of these events, these documents provide vital firsthand perspectives.
“Documentation created today can be used for advocacy, evidence, education and historical memory, now and in the future.”
— WITNESS Archive
- Just because you can take someone’s photo at a protest doesn’t mean you should. The Blacktivists’ Five Tips for for Organizers, Protestors, and Anyone Documenting Movements offers a quick read of important ways to document events with ethics and respect.
- Anything that appears on social media, like Facebook or Twitter, can be deleted or taken down. These platforms are not the place to save for the long-term.
In 2014, protests and uprisings occurred in Ferguson and the wider St. Louis area, prompted by the death of Michael Brown at the hands of police. Librarians and archivists at WashU realized that digital images and videos of these moments could easily be lost. A broken phone, lost password, or failed upload could mean that a vital portion of the region’s history would be gone. To provide a safe repository, Documenting Ferguson was quickly launched, offering a secure, free place for community members to archive these historic moments.
The Blacktivists, a collective of trained black archivists who prioritize black cultural heritage preservation and memory work: www.theblackivists.com
Tips for documenting protests and police abuse: library.witness.org/product-tag/protests/
Technical Tools AND Tips
Basic ways to save Facebook Live and Periscope videos: archiving.witness.org/2016/07/four-ways-save-live-video-broadcasts/
Protecting the identities of people in photos: everestpipkin.github.io/image-scrubber/ (blurs faces and takes out digital metadata)
Audio memories and Oral History
Recording Selfie Videos: library.witness.org/product/tell-your-story-recording-a-selfie-video/
Resources for organizations and groups
Omeka omeka.org/: Open-source publishing platform for sharing digital collections
Project STAND Archiving Student Activism Toolkit: standarchives.com/project-stand-toolkit/
S.A.V.E. Methodology for building archives: “Stop and check your intentions… Assess your relationship with historically underrepresented communities… View your options… Educate and archive with care…”: standarchives.com/s-a-v-e-methodology/