Please help us improve Umbra by signing up to become a beta-tester throughout 2015 toward the goal of an official launch Winter, 2016.
In partnership with Penumbra Theatre Company, the Givens Collection of African American Literature and Performing Arts Archives is developing a shareable online search tool that brings together archival content documenting over 400 years of African American cultural history from across the country, with a focus on African American theater and performing arts. The two-year project is generously funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
The materials are gathered and presented digitally through a search box that can live on any website are not just books, articles, or archival finding aids. They are video and playbills from Penumbra Theatre, letters by writer Langston Hughes to photographer Carl Van Vechten, photographs of a traveling African American theater troupe in 1910 Mississippi , original scripts and set designs by Zora Neale Hurston, newsreel film footage of Dr. Martin Luther King speaking at the Lincoln Memorial in May, 1957, and much, much more.
- Press Release for Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Grant, February 2, 2015
- Press Release, February 2, 2014
- Penumbra Theatre Company
- Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture
- Digital Public Library of America
- Library of Congress
- Tulane University’s Amistad Research Center
- Columbia University
- New York Public Library Schomburg Research Center for Black Culture, Library for the Performing Arts
- American Theatre Archive Project
- Theatre Communications Group
- Apollo Theater
- Theatre Library Association
This project is supported by grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations in this website do not necessarily represent those of the Institute of Museum and Library Services or the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
Images featured above:
- Lyricist Noble Sissle and cast members from the musical "Shuffle Along," ca. 1921 (NYPL Schomburg Photographs and Prints Division)
- Black Nativity playbill, Penumbra Theatre, 1996 (University of Minnesota Libraries, Archie Givens, Sr. Collection of African American Literature)