Top of page

Program Of the People: Widening the Path

2024 CCDI Recipients

The Connecting Communities Digital Initiative (CCDI) is part of the Library’s Of the People: Widening the Path program with support from the Mellon Foundation. This four-year program provides financial and technical support to individuals, institutions and organizations to create imaginative projects using the Library’s digital collections and centering one or more of the following groups: Black, Indigenous, Hispanic or Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and other communities of color from any of the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and its territories and commonwealths (Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands).

The Library of Congress is pleased to announce the second cohort of CCDI Artists/Scholars-in-Residence and the third cohort of CCDI Higher Education and Libraries, Archives, and Museums awardees. The recipients will work on their projects from November 2023 to November 2024 and December 2023 to December 2024, respectively.

2024 Higher Education Grant Recipients

Angelo State University

PROJECT: “All History is Local: Celebrating the People of West Texas”

LOCATION: San Angelo, Texas

Angelo State University’s project’s theme centers on the Library of Congress’ observation that “all history is local.” This project will facilitate discovery and promotion of the Library’s digital collections that illuminate the lived experiences of Black and Hispanic or Latino populations, specifically weaving national themes and stories into the West Texas cultural narratives. To accomplish this, the project team of students, staff and faculty will identify sources and write short articles that build connections between national topics and local history using complementary Library of Congress digital artifacts. The team will feature these articles and complementary artifacts in an interactive national map that will take learners through hemispheric and diasporic locales. Drawing on the breadth of the Library’s digital holdings, “All History is Local: Celebrating the People of West Texas” will mine the Library’s collections for sources that speak to the interconnected national hemispheric and local experiences of Black and Hispanic or Latino populations.

“We are excited to bring this project to fruition, which was conceptualized during a brainstorming session with various ASU faculty. Funding from the LOC will be the catalyst that builds a new digital tool to bring stories, images, and geospatial design to the LOC’s primary source materials and those of our region’s citizens that have been generously donated throughout the years to the Dr. Ralph R. Chase West Texas Collection (WTC) of the PHL.”

– Aubrey Madler, PI

Website: external link

Higher Education Recipient - Angelo State University

Indiana University

LOCATION: Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana University will work collaboratively with three Indigenous artists that have cultural, geographical, and creative connections to the collections at the Library of Congress and Indiana University. The artists will access and review photographs and wax cylinder recordings gathered by Edward Curtis and Joseph Dixon and held at the Library and Indiana University. The artists will subsequently produce individual artistic creations with these holdings, providing not only a connection to the images and recordings, but an opportunity to prioritize Indigenous perspectives, knowledge, expertise, and creative capital. The artists’ curatorial work will materialize in an online exhibit that shares a narrative about Indigenous temporalities and identities though the use of historical, archival, and contemporary materials, as well as a physical exhibit that incorporates digital elements for expanded didactics and intergenerational learning. “Connecting Collections: Indigenous Identities in Edward Curtis and Joseph Dixon Materials” presents an opportunity to provide unique curricular resources for grades 4-12, those at the university level, and for researchers and scholars. Providing access to new perspectives via the online and physical exhibit will enable these audiences to see these kinds of historical collections, as well as Indigenous histories and futures, in a new context.

"We're so excited to receive this award and provide space for descendant communities to connect with collections at Indiana University and the Library of Congress. Through the exhibited work, this project will hopefully bring together the past and present, cultures and identities, and disparate archival materials at the direction and consent of the Indigenous artists and their communities."

– Trustees of Indiana University Project Team

Website: external link

Higher Education Recipient - Indiana University

University of Houston-Downtown

PROJECT: “Discovering Afro-Latino Heritage: A Reflective Story Map Project to Enhance Student Belongingness and Learning”

LOCATION: Houston, Texas

The University of Houston-Downtown will create a digital, interactive Story Map that illustrates and articulates the origin of Afro-Latinos through the remixing of maps, photos, recordings, narratives, and other forms of digital materials available from the Library of Congress. Utilizing materials from the PALABRA Archive, the Spanish Legal Documents (15th-19th centuries) collection, and the Puerto Rico at the Dawn of the Modern Age collection, as well as other collections, the StoryMap will explore transatlantic slave routes focused on Latin America, the lives of enslaved Africans in the Caribbean, and the migration of Puerto Rican, Cuban and Garífuna Afro-Latinos to the United States. Given that much of the University of Houston-Downtown student population and the surrounding communities are Afro-Latinos, this project will center on histories and practices that many students and members of the community will identify with. This project will also enhance teaching and learning in key target courses by providing the historical context needed by instructors for units in Latin American and Latino Studies literature classes to incorporate Afro-Latino writers and poets.

“The grant team and I are thrilled to have received funding from the Library of Congress in support of creating Story Map(s) documenting Afro-Latino Heritage.  When I initially discovered the grant program, I knew it was the perfect fit for our goal of increasing a sense of belonging for our students and leveraging a media-rich technology platform to enhance teaching and learning. In addition to the monetary award, the CCDI team is providing us with a wealth of knowledge and expertise in support of accessing LOC Digital Collections and crafting compelling Story Maps. We are grateful for the support and excited to get started with the project.”

– Gregory Dement, Grant Co-PI and Director, Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence

Website: external link

Higher Education Recipient - University of Houston Downtown

2024 Libraries, Archives and Museums Grant Recipients

DC Public Library

PROJECT: “Documenting the Ethiopian Communities of DC”

LOCATION: Washington, D.C.

As the home to the 2nd largest population of Ethiopian people in the world (after Ethiopia), the District of Columbia has undoubtedly been shaped by its Ethiopian residents, just as it has shaped them. The DC Public Library (DCPL) will collaborate with artist Tsedaye Makonnen to highlight the stories of DC’s Ethiopian residents across generations and identities, and investigate the ways that the local Ethiopian community and the District of Columbia have influenced each other. This project will use Elena Bradunas’ 1980s photographs and recordings of DC’s Ethiopian community, which are part of the Library of Congress’ Ethnic Heritage and Language Schools in America Project collection, to prompt community members to connect to the People’s Archive at DC Public Library, share their own experiences, and generate new conversations about what it means to be Ethiopian in Washington, DC. Starting with Bradunas’ collection, which are based in the era of the second wave of Ethiopian immigration to the United States, this project will stretch back into the early 20th century and forward into the 21st century to explore various facets of the Ethiopian experience in the district. Inspired by the centrality of community gatherings in Ethiopian culture, this project will be marked by three major community convenings and a series of oral history pop-ups,and will culminate in an art installation co-created by Tsedaye Makonnen and community members, in which community-generated materials will be displayed alongside DC Public Library materials and Library of Congress digital materials. This project will foreground Ethiopian culture as an important part of the cultural tapestry of the nation's capital.

“I am grateful to collaborate with DC Public Library in this opportunity to record the diverse stories of D.C.’s Ethiopian population, which I am honored to be a part of. Ethiopians and the generations born here have had a deep and expanding impact on D.C., as well as across the U.S. The DMV has the highest population of Ethiopians outside of the actual country because Black people from D.C. made this city a welcoming safe haven for so many Black and other immigrants through activism, policy change and community building. These stories need to be documented because they are so relevant to Black and American history and culture. I hope this project encourages Ethiopians to continue to archive their stories so they are accessible for future generations. I am excited to work with the support and expertise of DCPL’s Peoples Archive and the Library of Congress. I love and highly respect libraries as they are our public sanctuaries and collective archives.”

– Tsedaye Makonnen, Artist

Website: external link

Libraries, Archives and Museums Recipient - DC Public Library

Friends of Tijeras Pueblo

PROJECT: “The Ancestral Tiwa World Connected to the Present: Tijeras Pueblo in Context”

LOCATION: Tijeras, New Mexico

The Friends of Tijeras Pueblo will update and enhance the ability of the Tijeras Pueblo Archaeological Site (TPAS) museum to acquaint visitors with 14th century Tiwa populations of the Central Rio Grande Valley. The digital application of the Library of Congress (LOC) collection materials will help cross-reference different aspects of the museum and the site, drawing them together into a more coherent whole.  The museum contains an eight square foot mural and map painted by an Isleta/Jemez artist that depicts the “Tiwa World” in the central Rio Grande Valley in the 14th century. It includes important geographic features, symbols, and vignettes of life in the Valley and adjacent mountain villages. Major trails are indicated and emphasize the connection between the villages. This project will create a digital representation of the mural and augment it with images from LOC collections as well as with oral stories from the artist and Isleta elders. Additionally, the project team will create a digital zine of 19th and early 20th century Isleta photos from the Library alongside present-day photos of Isletans. A goal for this project is to provide a significant resource to Pueblo schools and youth organizations as well as to other public, private and home schools in the greater Albuquerque area. Tijeras Pueblo Archaeological Site is located very near an interstate highway and attracts visitors from outside New Mexico and the United States.

“Finally… we get to tell our story our way.”

– Pueblo of Isleta elder

Website: external link

Libraries, Archives and Museums Recipient - Friends of Tijeras Pueblo

Hoboken Public Library

PROJECT: “The Puerto Rican Experience in Hoboken and America”

LOCATION: Hoboken, New Jersey

The Hoboken Public Library will explore the Puerto Rican experience in America, with Hoboken as a paradigm. Using the Library’s digital collections, as well as materials from the Hoboken Public Library and the Hoboken Historical Museum, this project will produce a visually rich, interactive timeline that illustrates the histories and relationships between the United States and its territory, Puerto Rico, with an emphasis on 1960s emigration from the island to Hoboken. The project team will also produce an Omeka site that expands on the key events and cultural artifacts of Puerto Rican experiences in America and explores the lived experiences of Puerto Rican residents during the second half of the 20th century. To encourage community participation and engagement with the project, the Hoboken Public Library will hold four events celebrating the culture and music of Puerto Rico: using their expanding vinyl collection alongside National Jukebox recordings of Puerto Rican music, these events, which will be held at Hoboken Housing Authority senior centers, will allow for a cross-cultural and intergenerational exchange of ideas.

“As a small library, this grant means so much to us.  It allows us to conduct research and engage with an underserved and underrepresented population-members of the Puerto Rican diaspora in Hoboken.  It’s also thrilling to work more directly with and re-envision materials held by the Library of Congress and introduce them to our subject group.”   

– Hoboken Public Library Project Team

Website: external link

Libraries, Archives and Museums Recipient - Hoboken Public Library

2024 Artists/Scholars-in-Residence

Allie Martin

PROJECT: “Sampling Black Life: Soundscapes and Critical Intention”

LOCATION: Hanover, New Hampshire

Dr. Allie Martin, ethnomusicologist and sound artist, will work on Sampling Black Life: Soundscapes and Critical Intention, a soundscape and community engagement project, during her CCDI residency. Sampling Black Life will utilize Library of Congress digital collections to create soundscape compositions—short sonic vignettes that layer sounds from the Library’s digital collections with field recordings and composed music—that explore the sounds of Black life in depth. During her residency, Martin will develop and codify a methodology, “sampling with critical intention,” to create soundscape compositions with items from the Voices Remembering Slavery, Chicago Ethnic Arts Project, and Now What a Time: Blues, Gospel, and the Fort Valley Music Festivals collections. This methodology argues that recordings of Black life should be approached with critical attention to their context, provenance, and the historical and contemporary significance of working with them. Sampling Black Life will culminate in several community listening sessions, where Martin will unpack the soundscape composition layers and invite conversation about how we can listen more fully to Black life. As hip-hop celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2023, Martin’s work will utilize sampling, a hip-hop technique and technology that reverberates across a range of musical genres, to encourage critical reflection on the contents of the Library’s digital collections as well as imaginative uses of their sounds.

“I’m honored to receive this award and work with the CCDI team. I’m excited to spend time with these digital collections and to engage with the communities from which they come.” – Dr. Allie Martin

Website: external link

Artist Scholar in Residence award recipient Allie Martin

Maya Freelon

PROJECT: “Whippersnappers: Recapturing, Reviewing, and Reimagining the Lives of Enslaved Children in the United States”

LOCATION: Durham, North Carolina

Maya Freelon, artist and educator, will produce Whippersnappers: Recapturing, Reviewing, and Reimagining the Lives of Enslaved Children in the United States, an interactive art exhibition, during her CCDI residency. Freelon will use archival photographs from the Bess Lomax Hawes collection, as well as other photographs from the Library’s digital collections, and contemporary photographs, to create new artwork focused on Black children born in America. During her residency, Freelon will reprint high-resolution photographic images and transform them into commemorative and unique works of art using a variety of mixed-media. By remixing the Library’s digital collections, Freelon plans to celebrate the innocence, beauty, and resilience of Black children. Through a reworking and reimagining of the archival images of Black children born into slavery and juxtaposing them with contemporary images, Freelon's work will open up space to think about the power and ethics of photography, from the 1800s to today, simultaneously offering new ways to visualize and honor Black childhood.

"My team and I are honored to work with LOC and Connecting Communities Digital Initiative (CCDI) on such a significant project. Having the support of an institution that is instrumental in preserving our collective history is a dream realized!" – Maya Freelon

Website: external link