Describing The Archive: Multicultural History Society Of Ontario

Describing The Archive: Multicultural History Society Of Ontario

I am currently volunteering for the Multicultural History Society of Ontario (MHSO) as an archival assistant. The MHSO archives is currently going through their collection to create in depth archival descriptions to provide researchers with a broader selection of keywords when searching for areas of interest. As a volunteer, I was asked to asist in the development of archival descriptions by summarizing collections of ethnic publications in microfilm, which will then be used as the basis of for their final discriptions. I was instructed to arrange each summary into subject matters ranging from political events and notable people, to cultural events and religions. As of now, I have summarized the African Speaks and Black Liberation News publications which were dated between the 1960s-1970s. As these publications were directed towards the African Canadian community, I was interested in going through them to see how important events and individuals were being discussed within the Black community at that time.

Going into the collection, I had anticipated that publications directed towards the African Canadian community would have published content only as it related to North America and the collective Black community. Interestingly, I discovered that both publications discussed issues and events that related to individuals outside of the Black community. These publications related to the struggles and activism of Indigenous, North African, Palestinian and Vietnamese people, to name a few. They encouraged others within the Black community to be aware of the struggles of other minorities, and to support them in their activism. I found it very interesting to read the perspectives of both these publications on issues such as Indigenous land rights, the Vietnam War, Decolonization, and the Civil Rights Movement.

Right now, I am summarizing the Shing Wah Yat Po collection, which is a daily newspapers for Chinese Canadians. As it is written mostly in Mandarin, with limited English, it is more difficult to decipher the contents of the publications. I look for symbols, images, and dates to try and get a sense of what issues and events may be discussed within the collection. Below, you will find images from the Africa Speaks microfilm collection, followed by my summaries of Africa Speaks, Black Liberation News, and Shing Wah Yat Po.

2 thoughts on “Describing The Archive: Multicultural History Society Of Ontario

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