Howard University's Moorland-Spingarn Research Center in Danger

Budget concerns threaten to shut the doors of one of the "world's largest and most comprehensive repositories for the documentation of the cultural history of people in the African Diaspora..."

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A valuable resource at Howard University may see its doors closed due to budget and structural setbacks.

The Moorland-Spingarn Research Center may be shut down after 95 years. From Howard University's The Hilltop:

MSRC is recognized as one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive repositories for the documentation of the cultural history of people in the African Diaspora, according to Howard.edu. The center that holds the Black Caucus repository, information of TransAfrica, documents pertinent to the formation of the Black Greek Lettered Organizations and Howard University administrative records is facing a cut back in hours of operation and loss of staff.

According to Battle, MSRC formerly had a staff of 50 or more people but now only 12 staff members remain in the library division. Battle said critical positions that are vacant are director, chief librarian, chief administrator and prints and photography librarian.

“This should be a greater outcry,” Battle said. “This is the premier place to research black history and culture.”

Battle, who had been the director of MSRC for 20 years, retired as part of VSIRP along with Jean Church, chief librarian.  Battle said they were asked to come back to the university to assist in running the research center.

By the end of this semester, no staff will be present in the Moorland-Spingarn Research Room resulting in its potential closure, Battle said. In addition, he said Moorland-Spingarn’s budget was not increased and no plans have been drafted to direct or manage the facility or fill the vacant positions.

“I don’t think many students even know this room exists,” said Ciera Briscoe, a freshman business management major.

That is not good news at all.

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