Indiana University’s Lilly Library has launched a new digital resource collection Thursday called Land, Wealth, Liberation: The making and unmaking of Black wealth in the United States.
The digital collection provides an interactive timeline of events that affected the history of Black wealth in the U.S. from 1820 through today. The collection explores how Black Americans have worked to produce and maintain wealth through land ownership as well as an interactive timeline that includes photos, videos and personal testimonies of events.
“I am extremely proud of my colleagues who have dedicated their time and expertise to amplifying the history and experiences of Black and Indigenous people,” the Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries Diane Dallis-Comentale told Indiana Student Daily.
Some of the topics included in the collection include ways companies and laws in the U.S. have tried to limit Black wealth and economic progress, including the history and effects of predatory lending, redlining and lynching.
The collection will also include sections on interactions between Black American groups and Indigenous peoples and guides for teaching about events including the Tulsa Race Massacre, the effect housing inequality had on the North Carolina neighborhood in Durham and the history of Indiana Avenue in Indianapolis, which featured many Black businesses.
Despite hitting new levels of Black wealth recently, Black Americans are still fighting to increase their economic power. Many Black Americans took their financial futures into their own hands during the COVID-19 pandemic starting businesses in fashion, hair care, feminine hygiene, marijuana, IT and even the stock market.
However, Black Americans are still struggling with access to credit, seed funding, start-up costs and emergency funds.
The Lilly Library event also featured a discussion on Black wealth with Valerie Grim, professor of African American and African diaspora studies, and Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman, author of the Black Agenda.
New items will continue to be added to the collection, which is available for anyone in the state of Indiana to access will be online, at JSTOR, the academic database and IUScholarWorks, Indiana University’s Institutional Repository.