Volunteers Sought for National Transcription Project
Edgecombe Community College and Edgecombe County Memorial Library are partnering on a national initiative to learn more about the lives of formerly enslaved African Americans in the 1860s. Local residents can help.
ECC and the library are working with the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Smithsonian’s Transcription Center on the Freedmen’s Bureau Transcription Project, an effort to transcribe documents collected by the Freedmen’s Bureau in the 1860s.
According to the Smithsonian’s website, the Freedmen’s Bureau was established to help formerly enslaved African Americans transition to citizenship, providing food, housing, education, and medical care. Handwritten records of these transactions include marriage registers, hospital and patient registers, educational efforts, census lists, labor contracts, and others.
With almost two million individual records, the Freedmen’s Bureau Transcription Project will be the largest crowdsourcing project ever sponsored by the Smithsonian.
When completed, the papers will be searchable online. This effort will help increase access to the Freedmen’s Bureau collection and help the public learn more about the United States during Reconstruction.
ECC and the library are seeking volunteers to help transcribe the documents. Volunteers must be able to read cursive writing and must have computer access with a WiFi connection. Volunteers also must attend a training session to be scheduled at the College.
Transcribing will begin in March, and the project should be completed by August. This is a voluntary program; volunteers will not be paid.
Those who are interested in serving as volunteers should contact Pam Edmondson at the Edgecombe County Memorial Library by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.