C.F.W. Coker Award: Archives for Black Lives in Philadelphia (A4BLiP)

Archives for Black Lives in Philadelphia (A4BLiP) is the 2020 recipient of the C.F.W. Coker Award from the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The award recognizes finding aids, finding aid systems, innovative development in archival description, or descriptive tools that enable archivists to produce more effective finding aids. To merit consideration for the award, nominees must set national standards, represent a model for archives description, or otherwise have a substantial impact on national descriptive practice.

Archives for Black Lives in Philadelphia (A4BLiP) is a loose association of archivists, librarians, and allied professionals in the Philadelphia and Delaware Valley area responding to the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement. It provides tools that can be immediately implemented to improve the equity, accuracy and accessibility of archival description. In addition, they offer a collocated set of resources and recommendations pertaining to anti-oppressive descriptive practices. Specifically, it focuses on Black communities, but their recommendations can often be extended to description of records created by and about other marginalized and underrepresented communities. This work has substantial impact on descriptive practices that can have biased, misleading, and harmful archival descriptions. Therefore, it provides an important first step toward determining how to remedy these descriptive issues and how to best to minimize their recurrence. 

The nominator states, “These guidelines can inform practices at all institutions and help stop further oppressive language in archival description, which is crucial in a predominantly white field.”