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FIU awarded National Endowment for the Humanities grant to highlight contributions of Miami’s Black residents
Part of the Dana A. Dorsey collection at FIU's Special Collections and University Archives, digitized by FIU Libraries.

FIU awarded National Endowment for the Humanities grant to highlight contributions of Miami’s Black residents

FIU Libraries will help share the history of interpersonal connections, community building, and investment.

May 4, 2022 at 1:53pm

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded the FIU Libraries a grant to create best practices for working with data and documents from marginalized communities, with the goal of providing access to the history of Black Miami.

The planning grant, Enhancing Access and Research Possibilities through Critical Engagement with Historical Data, is part of the Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Program of the NEH.

The grant will help provide enhanced access to the papers of Dana A. Dorsey, a successful businessman known as Miami’s first Black millionaire. At the project’s conclusion, implemented data collection methodologies and access strategies will be analyzed and shared through a white paper to help establish best practices in the field. The paper will include plans for potential partnerships and will identify additional resources, collections, organizations, and individuals to help expand the work.

"This is the most important research in Miami Black history in decades and is our first deep dive into the building of Black wealth in Miami," said Marvin Dunn, professor emeritus and author.

Dunn donated the Dana A. Dorsey Papers to the Special Collections and University Archives at FIU in 1999. They consist of warranty deeds, mortgages, legal documents and correspondence, which detail the properties and locations of what were newly created Miami subdivisions from around 1900 through 1940. These documents hold significant research and educational value as they frame the growth of the then-highly segregated Miami metropolitan region.

“This grant from NEH recognizes the commitment of FIU Libraries to build and enhance our collections in an inclusive manner,” said Anne Prestamo, dean of FIU Libraries. “By creating resources that fully tell the stories of those who faced racism, legal restrictions, and other barriers to success, we hope to empower others to engage in new data-driven research.”

The FIU Libraries, in partnership with FIU’s Department of History, will produce data resources derived from the Dorsey papers to help with historical analysis and mapping of marginalized communities. The collection will include searchable transcripts, tabular historical data derived from the papers and maps that will be available online through FIU’s digital library.