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Grant number like: PY-258672-18

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University of Massachusetts, Boston (Boston, MA 02125-3300)
Carolyn Goldstein (Project Director: June 2017 to March 2021)

Common Heritage
Preservation and Access

[Grant products]

$11,919 (approved)
$11,777 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2018 – 6/30/2019

Local Rappers, DJs,B-Boys and Graff: Documenting the Massachusetts Hip-Hop Community from the 1970's to the Present

A digitization event held at the Boston Public Library’s central branch in Copley Square at which staff from University Archives and Special Collections of the University of Massachusetts Boston would invite members of the community to share materials related to the city’s hip-hop culture: demo tapes, performance videos, flyers, posters, photographs, clothing, and accessories. Items would be digitized for the participants’ personal use and, with their permission, possibly included in the Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive, which is housed on UMass Boston’s Open Archives. The resulting digital collections would be harvested by the Digital Commonwealth and the Digital Public Library of America, making these materials and the participants’ stories discoverable to a wide-reaching audience. Boston Public Library would also present a series of four public programs celebrating and exploring elements of hip-hop culture: rapping (MCing), DJing (turntabling), breakdancing (b-boying), and graffiti art (graff). The events would include demonstrations by local artists, invite public participation, and be guided by two scholars of hip-hop music and culture, Dasan Ahanu from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and Michael Jeffries from Wellesley College.

The University Archives and Special Collections (UASC) in the Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston requests a Common Heritage Grant in the amount of $11,919. This grant will allow UASC to collaborate with the Boston Public Library (BPL), the Boston hip-hop community, and noted scholars Dasan Ahanu and Michael Jeffries to accomplish two goals: host a digitizing day to collect artifacts and stories that will be uploaded to the Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive; and present four public outreach programs showcasing the four original elements of hip-hop culture: rap, DJing, dance, and graffiti art, contextualizing the materials collected at the digitization event. Community members who participated in the development of hip-hop culture in Massachusetts will contribute artifacts to the event and serve as audience and participants in the public programs, thereby documenting, preserving, and celebrating cultural memory from a marginalized part of the state’s history.