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Over 350,000 Little Rock Nine and desegregation artifacts now available online

Anyone interested in the history of the Little Rock Nine and desegregation in Arkansas can visit digitized artifacts online.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - For the first time in history, hundreds of thousands of historical documents and artifacts from the time of desegregation in Arkansas schools are now available for people to view from the comfort of their home.

In a few clicks, you can explore the interactive digital archive that makes history come alive in an instant.

Tucked away on the upper floor of Little Rock's Center for Arkansas History and Culture are aisles and upon aisles of history up for grabs. These artifacts, once available only by walking through the center’s tight corridors are now available for anyone, anywhere online.

Archivists like Sarah Bost have spent nearly two years working to make this history come to life with a simple internet connection. The award was part of the Digitizing Hidden Collections and Archives initiative sponsored by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

“Seeing these documents and artifacts in person or digital form helps people understand that there were real people like them that experienced these events,” said Bost.

The grant enabled over 350,000 items to be digitized and stored online. Many of the original documents and artifacts are being stored at Little Rock's Center for Arkansas History and Culture downtown, while others are at different historical centers across the city and state.

“This material is interesting to people in the U.S. and globally because of the impact the Little Rock Nine had,” said Bost.

Within seconds, anyone with internet connection can access everything from documents to videos and even scrapbooks. They are all pieces of history many people never even knew still existed.

The project just completed at the end of November, but the response has already been overwhelmingly positive.

“Once we put them online, we saw an immediate demand so it’s great to see that demand,” said Bost. “It shows the work we did is paying off.”

Bost said archivists are looking for people who have other historical items related to the desegregation of the educational system in Arkansas. They hope Arkansans will offer those items for historical archiving purposes.

For information on how to do that, call the Arkansas Studies Institute at 501- 320-5780.

To search newly digitized items visit here.

To view a curated digital exhibit featuring key digitized items visit here.

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