The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA
Fay Magazine: Summer 2018

Preserving the Perspectives of History: Amber Moore ’97

At Harvard University’s Schlesinger Library, Amber Moore holds history in her hands as she archives the papers of civil rights activist Angela Davis.
While archivist Amber Moore ‘97 may work behind the tidy brick facade of the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University, she is really spending her time immersed in the turbulent history of the early 1970s as she archives the library’s acquisition of the Angela Davis papers.
Angela Davis, a counterculture and civil rights activist, became a cause célèbre in 1970, when she was charged with murder and criminal conspiracy after guns that she purchased were used in an attack on the Marin County Courthouse. Her imprisonment led to an international “Free Angela” movement.
The Angela Davis project is the most recent in a series of archiving projects that Amber has worked on that focus on preserving the history of underrepresented groups. After graduating from Spelman College in 2003, Amber received her master’s degree in library and information science from Simmons College. An internship at Boston University presented the opportunity to work with the papers or Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a project that set her on the path to archiving the work of civil rights leaders.
At the Amistad Research Center at Tulane University in New Orleans, Amber archived documents and artifacts related to the history of slavery, race relations, and “ the Civil Rights Movement in America from a wide-range of sources including artists, clergy, farmers, and educators. Each archiving contract offers Amber the fascinating opportunity to take a deep dive into artifacts from a period of time or a person’s life, a responsibility that is both serious and rewarding. “You might be holding the only record of something in your hand,” Amber points out, “and you have the responsibility of making sure that it is preserved and accessible forever.”
One of Amber’s favorite projects was at the Rose Library at Emory University in Atlanta, where she archived an exhibit called Revealing Her Story: Documenting African American Women Intellectuals. The exhibit showcased the collections of nine notable African American women, including artists, writers, and composers. “Most of the other places I had worked, I had been archiving collections from men, so this was a wonderful experience.” In fact, Amber’s participation in this project enabled her to meet with and work on the collection of her favorite author, Pearl Cleage. “To look at her papers, read her correspondence, and then meet her and spend time with her was amazing,“ says Amber. “When you actually meet the person, you also understand the magnitude of what they’re doing by allowing us to acquire their materials.”
Amber’s work at Emory segued perfectly to her current work on the Angela Davis archive. Last summer, she traveled to Davis’ home in California to help her sort through the correspondence, posters, diaries, buttons, manuscripts, and other artifacts accumulated over her life. “It was amazing to see Angela Davis pull a diary out of a box and watch her look through something she hadn’t seen in 30 or 40 years,” Amber says.
Amber worked with a curator to pack up 150 boxes that were shipped back to the library in Cambridge, and she will spend the next two years organizing, preserving, and digitizing the artifacts. “I have the awesome responsibility of making sure that history isn’t lost,” she says, “and making sure that it is available to inspire future generations.”

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