Several diligent MLWGS students from Chesterfield, Goochland, Henrico, Prince George, and Richmond dove into the challenging and rewarding work of transcribing historic documents for the Making History: Transcribe! project on Wednesday.
Some found it easier to decipher cursive with help from a friend. And whether working independently or together, students discovered that reading these documents brings history to life in new ways.
During this Transcribe-a-thon, we worked with two recently merged collections: the Virginia Museum of History and Culture’s Unknown No Longer and the Library of Virginia’s Virginia Untold, both focused on pre-1865 Virginia documents by and/or about enslaved and free African Americans.
The letters, freedom suits, and other documents that students transcribed revealed both personal and public details about individuals and families; painful details about the brutality and inhumanity of slavery; poignant details about resilience, tenacity, love, and loss–details that will soon be searchable by scholars, historians, and genealogists.
Along with other Transcribe volunteers, these MLWGS students are helping make the story that accessible historical records tell about Virginia and America more complete.
If you’d like to participate in this important project, stop by the library to see Ms. DeGroat. You may earn up to 35 hours toward the MLWGS community service requirement by participating. After you attend a training session or Transcribe-a-thon (our next one is on April 10th), you can even work on transcriptions from home.