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Curator’s Remarks: e-Blacks on Stamp Exhibition

This is the digital version of the Blacks on Stamp exhibition that the Africana Studies Department first presented in February 2012 as part of the department’s annual Artist-in-Residence program. Presented in a small Rowe Arts gallery at UNC Charlotte’s main campus, the event lasted for only five days but the exhibition received more than 150 visitors from Metrolina region and as far as Raleigh, NC. The enthusiasm showed for the exhibition by students and members of our extended community convinced me that there should be a digital version for the exhibition. I am deeply grateful to Heather McCullough, Debra Myers, and Danelle Ead of the Special Collections Department in the Murrey Atkins Library for accepting my proposal, and for working tirelessly to support and implement the project.

The goals of this online exhibition are the same as those of the original project.

The e-Blacks on Stamp exhibition is about preservation of memory and historical reflection. The objectives of the exhibition are to: (1) showcase the relevance of stamps as a form of material culture for the study of the history of the global Black experience; (2) explore the aesthetics and artistry of stamp as a genre of representative art, especially for understanding the Africana achievements globally; and (3) use the personalities and historical issues represented on stamps to highlight some of the defining moments in national and world histories.

Additionally, the digital version of this exhibition serves to lengthen the lifespan of Blacks on Stamp, making it accessible to the global community for educational purposes. Hence, we have included in e-Blacks on Stamps, the audio and video recordings of the opening ceremony from when the exhibition was first launched on February 13, 2012. Our plan is to continue to update and expand the exhibition with new materials and relevant resources.

This online version of the exhibition is a testimony to the transformative impacts of the digital age. It is one of the pilot projects that we are using to launch the e-Africana Studies Scholarship at UNC Charlotte. The initiative is a collaborative effort between Atkins Library’s Digital Scholarship Lab and the Department of Africana Studies. Dr. Heather McCullough, the head of the Digital Scholarship Lab, has been the brain behind this initiative and has followed it through with resources. The hard work and dedication of my student and assistant, Shontea L. Smith, has made it possible for this project to move forward smoothly. I am grateful to her and everyone associated with e-Africana Studies project. I hope you enjoy the exhibition.

Akin Ogundiran, Ph.D.

Chair, Africana Studies Department & Curator,

Blacks on Stamp Exhibition August 8, 2012