Archival Amnesty: In Search of Black American Transitional and Restorative Justice

Sutherland, Tonia
Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies

Archives as memory institutions have a collective mandate to document and preserve a national cultural heritage. Recently, American archives and archivists have come under fire for pervasive homogeneity - for privileging, preserving, and reproducing a history that is predominantly white and further silencing the voices and histories of marginalized peoples and communities. This paper argues that as such, archives participate in a continuing amnesty that prevents transitional and restorative justice for black Americans in the United States. Using the history of lynching in America as a backdrop, this article explores the records and counter-narratives archives need to embrace in order to support truth and reconciliation processes for black Americans in the age of #ArchivesForBlackLives.