HomeAbout the Chipman ARCH

About the Chipman ARCH

What does radical community archiving look like?

The Chipman ARCH will be a reflection of the people and places—both past and present—that comprise Georgetown and surrounding Black neighborhoods in Salisbury, MD. Board members of the Chipman Foundation and descendant Georgetowners have direct and final say in all matters related to the development and distribution of the Chipman ARCH; this project will be empowering, and it will cultivate a sense of belonging and sanctuary within a community that was nearly destroyed by anti-Blackness.

We reject problematic archival practices that have traditionally seen universities and institutions extracting from—rather than deferring to and enriching—Black cultural institutions. Materials will be housed at the Chipman Center with the permission of their creators, who will retain ownership of their records. Indeed, these histories will be preserved in a location—and processed in a language—that is meaningful to the community, by the community.

Why are we doing this work?

The Chipman ARCH will preserve the stories of survivors and descendants in Black Georgetown, while reaffirming that these histories belong to the community. The story of Black Georgetown—woven from joy, terror, pain, kinship, and persistence—was never lost to its keepers. It was marginalized, silenced, and nearly erased by the same white Salisburians and white-dominated systems that bear responsibility for the lynching of Matthew Williams and the subsequent displacement and dispossession of his family and community.