This is a guest post by Jessica Jones, former UCSF Archives & Special Collections Intern.
As an intern for the UCSF Library, Archives and Special Collections, I have worked on many different projects that utilize my skills as a professional administrative assistant, including the State Medical Journals Digitization Project, a collection survey, rehousing and inventorying the portrait photograph collection, and more. I also attended Library Updates meetings and listened to presentations about changes within libraries. Although this was a very new experience to me I adapted very quickly and I am proud to say I have learned so much and have enjoyed my time here with UCSF.
I would like to share a bit more about my most recent project working with the Black Caucus records. I really found this project to be interesting; I researched, digitized, and uploaded material from the collection to the digital asset management system and assisted in creating original metadata to facilitate discovery of these items. You can now access the UCSF Black Caucus Records digital collection on Calisphere.
The Black Caucus was first established on the UCSF campus in May 1968 in the wake of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This organization worked to provide more job opportunities for qualified minority applicants and lobbied for more minority students in all four professional schools. The organization engaged in many civil rights initiatives and social justice projects, like supporting custodial and technical staff in labor disputes and campaigning for more diverse hiring at all levels of the university. Beginning in the 1970s, the group shared personal stories, event updates, and project achievements in a newsletter named the Black Bulletin. There were many notable UCSF figures that helped found and lead the Black Caucus. For instance, UCSF Medal winner Joanne Lewis served as one of the organization’s first chairpersons and organized the publication of the Black Bulletin.
The Black Caucus records help to demonstrate that African Americans have contributed remarkable achievements in the fields of science and medicine during the 20th century. To encourage future researchers and clinicians of color I think that it is essential for boys and girls to be given the academic tools to succeed in science and medicine, preferably long before college. There are several programs that help facilitate this, such as the White House initiative “My Brother’s Keeper” that helps young people reach their full potential. Medical schools should also continue to sponsor pipeline programs to encourage minority students to consider careers in medicine.
I am very proud and excited to be a part of this amazing project. The Black Caucus has helped support and encourage people of color at UCSF through advocacy and community. The organization’s message of equality shows how important it is to have a diverse population of practitioners to address healthcare needs and to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare.