By Brian Keough
The New York State Archives’ Documentary Heritage Program (DHP) has awarded the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives a $10,333 grant to arrange, describe, and create finding aids for two archival collections documenting the history of New York State social activism and reform. The first collection is the Pride Center of the Capital Region Records and the second is Citizen Action of New York (CANY) Records. They contain organizational materials such as correspondence, meeting minutes, publications, legislation, lobbying records, subject files, photographs, press releases, and other primary sources that document New York political history of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
The Pride Center Records document the social activism and community organizing related to LGBTQ rights. Formed in 1970, the Center is the oldest continuously-operating LGBTQ community center in the country. The Pride Center’s programs, both at the Center as well as held throughout the region, meet the health and human service needs of the LGBTQ community as well as educate and advocate for those needs in the broader Capital Region. The Pride Center strives for a welcoming and empowering community for all.
The CANY records document the efforts of a progressive political interest group that is headquartered in Albany. Founded in 1983, CANY is a grassroots membership organization that advocates for economic, social, and racial justice focused on transformative issues affecting New Yorkers in the last 40 years, such as affordable healthcare, a safe environment, quality education, public financing of election campaigns, dismantling racism, and a more progressive tax system.
The overall goal of this DHP grant project is to make publicly available the original records and primary sources that provide insight on the political organizations active in New York State history. Once the collections are organized they will be accessible to scholars of New York State history as well as students learning how to interpret primary sources. These two collections are part of the New York State Modern Political Archive, one of the largest collections documenting New York State political history. The Modern Political Archive contains primary sources pertaining to New York State public affairs and policy, and includes the personal papers of former New York Congressional members and elected officials who served in New York State Legislature and the official records and records of numerous private groups, professional associations, political activists, labor unions, community groups, and other organizations concerned with local and Empire State public-policy issues. For more information, please consult Brian Keough, Head of the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://library.albany.edu/archive.