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One America - Amistad Research Center

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One America

Program: Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA
Contact(s): Donald E. DeVore, Executive Director: (504) 865-5535
Purpose: To collect information about the history of African Americans and other ethnic minorities

Background Program Operations Outcomes


"Preserving America's Ethnic Heritage" is the founding premise of the Amistad Research Center, an archive of manuscripts that documents the rich history and contributions of African Americans and other ethnic groups. The program began in 1966 at Fisk University and in 1970 moved to New Orleans where it serves as a premier research institution for the study of African American and other ethnic groups.

Program Operations

The Amistad Research Center's collection dates from the 1700's to the present. Almost 90 percent of the collection pertains to African Americans; 10 percent contains documentation on Native Americans, Asians, Hispanics and European Immigrants. The center holds letters, journals, books and photographs in the collection. It also holds archives of the American Missionary Association, and the Louisiana NAACP. Scholars, journalists and educators from around the world use Amistad's collection each year, and thousands more visit to view the art exhibits and tour the facility. Historical subjects such as slavery, black community development and civil rights have undergone new and thought-provoking interpretations because of the Amistad Research Center. Monthly lectures featuring local scholars, visual, literary and performing artists are a part of the center's outreach efforts. The lecture programs attracts over 2500 members from around the city as well as reaching out to children from poor African American communities to teach them about historical tales and events.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

Amistad has the largest independent archive committed to fostering improved race relations, and it has more than 12 million documents and 800 original works of art and artifacts in its possession, which are routinely used by as many as 50 organizations a year. The program has produced many lectures, conferences, community programs and art exhibitions. The Visiting Artist In Residence series has brought many artists to their program. In 1996, Amistad co-hosted the Plessey Conference, celebrating the 100th anniversary of civil rights pioneer, Homer Plessey.

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