The Black Archives [located at Vereniging Ons Suriname] is a historical archive, boasting books centered around often withheld topics such as racial issues, [de]colonization, [Trans-Atlantic] slavery, feminism, and more. The historical archive was initiated by Jessica de Abreu, Mitchell Esajas, Miguel Heilbron en Thiemo Heilbron and is part of and managed by the New Urban Collective .
Because of a lack of sufficient coverage by the Dutch educational system on withheld topics, The Black Archives was created. Aiming to connect and educate through discussions, lectures and providing public access to the archive.
My favorite initiative from The Black Archives is their ‘10x more history’ poster [June 1, 2019]. Which is an honest attempt at a more ‘global history’, that can help to better understand the multicultural society the Netherlands is becoming.
The Black Archives is also an institutionalized power. Something that can guide and offer validation to the many that are trying to make sense of the conflicting realities we live in.
I remember when I used to talk passionately with my classmates about the ‘Songhai Empire’ or the legendary ‘University of Timbuktu’. But I always had the odd feeling that I was believing in ‘conspiracy theories’.
Flash forward a single year and I have a history poster in my room that mentions ‘The Songhai Empire, The Mali Kingdom, and Timbuktu!’. Discussions after that couldn’t be dismissed as ‘just my wishful thinking’. Not when you have an institution to refer to. Because we all need validation for our beliefs, something to reference, a point to operate from.
The Black Archives is a modern-day revolution, working within the system to improve a society that often pretends to suffer from ‘amnesia’. And history has shown us that every successful revolution MUST be structured.