African-American history is sometimes presented in linear terms. It begins with the horrors of slavery, its abolition at the end of the Civil War, and it culminates with the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. The reality, of course, is much more complicated, and leaves a more extensive paper trail than you may have imagined. Consider the petitions calling for the abolition of slavery sent to individual state government prior to the 13th Amendment; the reports compiled on the education and welfare of African-American students before and after Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka went before the Supreme Court; and the amount of legislative records that went into the creation of laws such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
History is in the details, and is not just a series of major events. By transcribing and tagging the documents in the National Archives’ Catalog, you are making primary sources accessible for everyone. You (yes, you!) are helping to fill in the gaps, and piece-by-piece and detail-by-detail uncover the long lost stories of the past for the present and future.
So your (transcription) mission, should you choose to accept it, is to: