Northeastern’s Archives Featured in City of Boston’s Racial Equity History Project

Posted by: Jon Reed


For the past two years, Northeastern University Library’s Archives and Special Collections have been working with the Race Equity Working Group of the Mayor’s Office of Resilience and Race Equity. The MORRE Office’s primary mission is to help build resilience for all Bostonians by addressing and challenging social and racial inequities.  The Racial Equity working group (an advisory group for the office) consisted of incredible warriors– smart, experienced, passionate people who do battle every day but still are able to laugh, breathe, and do it all over again the next day. 

The Chief Resilience Officer leading the charge to create Boston’s Resiliency Plan, Atyia Martin, and her staff allowed The Archives to assist the effort by convening a group of historians and archivists  (‘history holders’) and Race Equity Working Group members to strategize how lesser known/understood aspects of Boston’s history across race and ethnicity, including immigrants, could be showcased from a personal and policy perspective. As Donna Bivens and co. write in the Boston Busing/Desegregation Project’s 7 Lessons “Access to a more complete picture of this history is access to knowledge about how power works to enable and limit us. That access allows us to focus our individual and collective efforts to make real social change.”

One of the results of this convening was POLICY, PLACE, and POWER in an evolving city: BOSTON’S RACIAL EQUITY HISTORY PROJECT, a map and timeline that describes flashpoints, battlegrounds, and structures of inequity in the City of Boston. You can view that timeline at

Posted in: Serendipity


The Library’s Video Workshop Series Starts Soon. Sign Up Today!

Posted by: Antonio Banrey


Video is an essential communication tool in today’s world.  Attend Snell Library’s Recording Studio’s upcoming Video Workshop series to learn the basics in a small group setting. No experience is necessary. Over the course of the four-weeks, beginning on March 14th I will teach you creative marketable skills—everything from setting up a shot with professionals cameras and lights to editing with Adobe Premiere and polishing with After Effects. I will make video production feel as fascinating to you as it is to me.

I am the Recording Studio’s co-op, a fourth year Media and Screen Studies student, a Boston life-long Boston resident.  Video production is my specialty. Outside of my classes, I direct, edit, act in and write other short films and other forms of media.  You could say that all types of media creation are a passion of mine. 

I look forward to meeting you and teaching you in in this upcoming series of workshops. The workshops meet from 12-1pm and 6-7pm.

You may register here:

  1. Lights, Cameras, Green Screen Action! March 14, 2018
  2. Edit Your Video Projects with Adobe Premiere Basics. March 21, 2018
  3. Refine Your Project with Adobe Premiere Advanced Level. March 28, 2018
  4. Rock Your Video Project with Adobe After Effects. April 4, 2018

See you soon!  Antonio Banrey

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at

Visit our website at:



Posted in: Serendipity


Hub Book Displays

Posted by: Sarah Towne


If you’ve passed by The Hub in the recent weeks, you might have noticed something a little different has come to Snell: book displays! Twice a month, Snell will have a small book display that highlights our Hub materials. The Hub is home to our magazines, newspapers, Writing Center materials, and so much more. The Hub is where a lot of our new releases or popular works are, including many newly released movie titles. If you’re looking for a fun read or a new movie to watch, The Hub is the place to look.

We began in January by picking fun or interesting topics to highlight our wide range of materials. In February we displayed works by or about black authors to celebrate Black History Month. In March, we’re showcasing women of color. Such works will include The Veil by Rafia Zakaria, Narrative of Sojourner Truth by Sojourner Truth, and Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon. We will have books, e-books, and movies so there’s a something for everyone’s taste. So please come on by and check out these amazing works by women of color!


Posted in: Library News and Events, Serendipity


Neighborhood Matters, Spring 2018

Posted by: Giordana Mecagni

Neighborhood Matters’ Spring 2018 will focus on transportation in Boston. We will discuss how transportation has changed the fabric of the city by focusing on several key flashpoints: “I-695,” a highway rejected by community activists in the 1970s; the “Big Dig”, one of the nation’s largest infrastructure projects ever completed (1980s-1990s); and the “Silver Line,” (Phase 1 2000s) including current plans for expansion and improvement.

All events are free and open to the public, lunch will be served.


2/3: Equal or Better: The Story of The Silver Line

12 PM, Snell Library, Room 90 (Film runtime 53 minutes)

Featuring Special Guests Kris Carter and Scott Hamwey

In 1987 the Washington Street Elevated train was torn down and the Washington Street corridor to Dudley Square was left without rapid transit for the first time since 1901.

Equal or Better follows the story of a misstated promise to three Boston communities and the issues of equality still present in our country’s transportation priorities.

Scott Hamwey leads the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Transit Planning team and oversaw the planning phase of the Silver Line Gateway Project. The Silver Line Gateway Project encompasses four new bus stations and connects Chelsea and East Boston (via the Blue Line’s Airport Station) with the Red Line’s South Station and the Seaport District.

Kris Carter is the Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics. He is a non-practicing engineer, an optimistic urban planner, and a self-taught filmmaker. He has a not so secret love for Boston (his adopted home) and working through challenging human-centered urban problems. Kris has been nationally recognized by the APA for his blending of storytelling and urban planning and the Federal Labs Consortium for his innovation in transportation work.

3/15: People before Highways: Boston Activists, Urban Planners, and a New Movement for City Making

12PM Snell Library, Room 422 (Book talk)

A book talk featuring special guest Karilyn Crockett, who is the author of People Before Highways: Boston Activists, Urban Planners, and a New Movement for City Making. Dr. Crockett is director of Economic Policy & Research for the City of Boston. She holds a Ph.D. in American studies from Yale University.

Linking archival research, (including in Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections), ethnographic fieldwork, and oral history, Karilyn Crockett in People before Highways offers ground-level analysis of the social, political, and environmental significance of a local anti-highway protest and its lasting national implications. The story of how an unlikely multiracial coalition of urban and suburban residents, planners, and activists emerged to stop an interstate highway is one full of suspenseful twists and surprises, including for the actors themselves.

4/3: Great Projects: The Building of America ‘The Big Dig’” (WGBH, 2003)

12PM Snell Library, Room 90 (Film runtime 56 minutes)

Featuring Special Guest Fred Salvucci, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and former Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation.

In the post World War II years, urban highways divided neighborhoods; nothing stood in the way of their construction. In Boston, the Central Artery cut through downtown Boston and the city was left with an ugly green monster, an elevated highway in the heart of its historic and business districts. By the 1970s, city planners wanted to tear it down but the existing highway was so vital to the city’s transportation that closing it down for any length of time was unfeasible.

The solution to this dilemma became known as the Big Dig. A local engineer named Fred Salvucci, (whose own grandmother had been displaced by the Mass Pike years earlier), championed a complex plan that resulted in a transportation renaissance in Boston and a renewal of much of the city’s infrastructure.

 About Neighborhood Matters

Neighborhood Matters is a lunchtime series that celebrates the ways in which community groups have shaped the neighborhoods surrounding the Northeastern campus. This series is curated by Northeastern University Library Archives and Special Collections with the assistance of Library Communications and Events.

Neighborhood Matters is co-sponsored by Northeastern University City and Community Affairs and Northeastern University Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion.

Archives and Special Collections at Northeastern University Libraries

The Archives and Special Collections at Northeastern University Libraries houses and carefully curates a diverse collection of historical records relating to Boston’s fight for social justice; preserving the history of Boston’s social movements, including civil & political rights, immigrants rights, homelessness and urban and environmental justice. They focus on the history of Boston’s African American, Asian American, LGBTQ, Latino and other communities, as well as Boston’s public infrastructure, neighborhoods, and natural environments.

The primary source materials they collect and make available are used by the community members, students, faculty, scholars, journalists, and others from across the world as evidence on which histories are built. An understanding of the past can help inspire the next generation of leaders to fight for economic, political, and social rights.

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections, Library News and Events, Serendipity


Archival Collections in the Classroom: A Conversation with CAMD’s Kara Braciale

Posted by: Regina Pagani


Last semester, students in Professor Kara Braciale’s “5D Experience/Drawing” class did a deep dive in the University’s archival collections, specifically exploring artifacts, stories, and documents related to the culture and history of the neighborhoods surrounding Northeastern University.

Students began their introduction to these archival materials by listening to oral histories from the Lower Roxbury Black History Project. After listening to the oral histories, each student was asked to identify an area of interest — a person, place, a theme — on which they would conduct further research and eventually develop a digital exhibition.

Connecting students to these archival collections provided them an opportunity to engage with varied primary sources and historical objects, to connect with their larger Boston community through place-based learning, and to create projects that are meaningful and accessible to both the Northeastern community and its neighbors.

I had a conversation with Kara Braciale about her experience with collaborating with the library and archives for this project, and about her decision to use Northeastern’s archival collections as a central resource in her course.  

Can you give us a little background on your course and about how this project came to be?

5D Fundamentals Experience/Drawing is a foundational course in Art + Design that considers experience, interaction, behavior and context through a lens of cultural production. For the past few semesters I have incorporated Service-Learning – the classes do project-based work that fills a need for our community partner (in this case Northeastern Crossing) while reinforcing connections to our course content. In my discussions with Derek Lumpkins (Director of Neighborhood Partnerships and Programs) and Marissa Luse (Campus Engagement Coordinator) at Northeastern Crossing, they were interested in projects relating to the Lower Roxbury Black History Project. Since the Lower Roxbury Black History Project is an online archive and the final project of 5D is screen-based, the idea of student designed websites connected to that archive coalesced from our conversations.

Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts: A Retrospective (1950-1985) by Samantha Borri, E/AMD’19, and Melina Paulli, AMD’19

Can you tell me a little more about your course’s project? What were your expectations around the web project?

The assignment evolved over the course of the semester since the content of the Lower Roxbury Black History Project was new to both me and to the students. We knew that we would be making websites and that they would come out of research relating to that archive but beyond that we didn’t know the shape of them. Our orientation in the archives with you, Regina, and Giordana Mecagni helped crystallize our process. After we learned how to navigate the physical collections, students went back into the Lower Roxbury Black History Project and listened to the histories and shared summaries and moments of interest with each other. Some students realized that they wanted to pursue what initially interested them during our orientation where we looked at the United South End Settlements records. Because Northeastern Crossing connects to all of the neighborhoods that surround Northeastern, it felt like fair game. Using the Lower Roxbury Black History Project as a model, our goal was to surface documents and materials relating to local people and institutions thereby increasing access to local histories.

Dana Chandler by Kevin Cannon and Greg Hackel-Johnson, AMD’19

What learning objectives were you hoping students would accomplish by the end of the project? Do you feel students achieved those objectives?

Students were tasked with researching and producing a screen-based experience that situated archival material in the context of the Northeastern Crossing website (their final home). This demanded a sustained research effort in the Archives as well as particular knowledge of our partner organization which students gained through firsthand experience of its programming as well through conversation and interaction with the staff. In 5D, students are pressed to be very specific about audience and context and the layering of spaces engaged in this project: web/virtual; archival/historic; local/community provided a fertile, if complex, environment in which to develop their work.

In a very concrete sense I wanted students to consider translating the physical materials found in the archives into a compelling experience on a screen. I also wanted them to consider the final home of their small websites as a framing device: who will be using their site and to what end? How is the purpose of their site influenced by the context in which it will be placed? From a skills-based perspective I wanted them to be able to design, construct and deploy a simple html/css based website. And finally I wanted them to have the experience of identifying and researching a subject that interested them personally.

One of the most gratifying aspects of the project development was seeing how deeply students were willing to dive into areas that fascinated them. Listening to interviews in the Lower Roxbury Black History project might have gotten them thinking about the art scene in Roxbury which led them to discover particular artists or ask questions about art education based on what they encountered in the archives. Some students were led to ask questions about the origins of organizations that are still active or about the built environment of our neighborhood. Every person or partnership produced a site that achieved the fundamental objectives for the project. More than that, students were able to uncover materials that otherwise live out of view and situate them as part of a local history. In the critique, we had an amazing moment where Derek Lumpkins was able to point to a picture of a young girl in a dance class in the 1950’s who still lives in Roxbury!

Consideration & Community Planning Techniques in Lower Roxbury 1970-2000 by Ralph Perricelli, AMD’18

Do you have any comments you’d like to add about what it’s like collaborating with the library & archives for teaching and learning?

Working with the staff of Archives and Special Collections was a highlight of my semester. The depth of expertise and facility and thoughtfulness with which it is shared by the staff is such a wonderful resource. Certainly these projects would never have happened without the aid of Regina and Giordana! I can see the value of orientation in the Archives for students in any discipline.


Explore a few of the students’ website projects below:

Consideration & Community Planning Techniques in Lower Roxbury 1970-2000 by Ralph Perricelli, AMD’18

Dana Chandler by Kevin Cannon and Greg Hackel-Johnson, AMD’19

Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts: A Retrospective (1950-1985) by Samantha Borri, E/AMD’19, and Melina Paulli, AMD’19

“WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED FROM PARCEL 19”: The Story of Villa Victoria by Nick Salerno, E’18


Interested in integrating Northeastern’s archives and special collections into your course? Fill out the library session form to request an archives workshop for your students or contact your subject librarian to discuss how to build an assignment based on the Archive’s primary source materials.


Posted in: Serendipity