James Baldwin: Acquiring & transcribing a collection featuring NMAAHC's Tulani Salahu-Din

A Google+ Hangout featuring researcher Tulani Salahu-Din to discuss the James Baldwin collection, its acquistion and interpretation, and transcribing it in the Smithsonian Transcription Center - held September 09, 2015 at 3:30 pm EST.


  1. The James Baldwin collection is held at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). It was recently digitized and made available for the public to transcribe in the Smithsonian Transcription Center.
  2. The 124 page project was launched on July 08 and completely transcribed and reviewed by 43 volunteers by July 27. The volunteers hailed from locations around the world including Chicago; Chalons-en-Champagne (France); Auckland and Wellington (New Zealand), Alexandria and Arlington, VA, Creve Coeur, MO; Moscow (Russia); Austin, TX; and Leeds (UK). The project has received over 2,000 unique pageviews since being launched. The project has also been downloaded as a PDF from the Transcription Center 17 times.
  3. After the project was completed, NMAAHC researcher Tulani Salahu-Din was able to share her time and expertise in a live Google+ Hangouts on Air session. She agreed to describe her research and work, acquisition of the collection, selection of items for the inaugural "Making A Way" exhibition, and James Baldwin's influence.
  4. The promotion for the Hangout - which was referred to as "HangTime" in keeping with other Transcription Center hosted events - began on September 04.
  5. One of the benefits of promoting the event over the weekend was the ability to share (or indeed revisit) the visual nature of the collection, which includes correspondence and photographs. The social media posts from @NMAAHC and @TranscribeSI engaged audiences with visually rich materials that drive at the heart of the collection.
  6. This cross-promotional approach also offered chances to highlight the discussion points planned for the hangout: acquisition; digitization; building exhibitions and galleries; and, of course, James Baldwin's work, life abroad, and activism.
  7. In as many posts as possible, opportunities to ask questions were emphasized!
  8. From Friday through Tuesday, people shared their interest and further promoted the event to their networks. Several individuals also asked how they could watch after the event.
  9. As we approached our starting time, anticipated audience members shared the event with their networks.