Looking to the past in order to move forward into the future
The Sankofa Special Collection serves as a repository of archival materials, biographies, worship resources, and images that tell the story of Unitarian Universalists of Color. It celebrates the experiences of leaders and laity of African American, Native American, Asian and South Asian, Pacific Island, and Middle Eastern descent; members of the African Diaspora; and those who identify as multiracial and/or multicultural.
The purpose of the Sankofa Special Collection is reflected in its name. Sankofa means looking to the past in order to move forward into the future. Sankofa looks into the silences and absences created by white supremacy, to amplify what has been muted and to recover what has been obscured. Sankofa brings to the present the history of the People of Color who have made a home in Unitarian Universalism. It looks into the future to preserve and make accessible the substantial and ongoing impact of Unitarian Universalists of Color. Led by the communities it serves, the Sankofa Special Collection creates policies and methods of organization so that People of Color can locate their identities and experiences within Unitarian Universalism.
This special collection is meant to evolve. Our goal is for it to be a resource and a repository for the study and exploration of Unitarian Universalism’s relationship to race and culture. As the past is unearthed and new related resources are developed, they will find a home here. As new history is made every day, it will be preserved and made accessible here.
With few exceptions, the entirety of the Sankofa Special is open to researchers. Archives staff will inform you if there are any donor placed restrictions on access to a particular collection.
If you have any questions about the Meadville Lombard Archives and Special Collections, just ask!
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