By Marc W. Polite
In studying any topic, your local librarian is an ally in the pursuit of knowledge. Today, we have an opportunity to hear from Rodney E. Freeman, Jr. -founder of Reminisce Preservation, LLC. It is an organization that develops and curates databases of relevance to Black studies and history. Among these databases is the Black Male Archives, a repository of information that collects and promotes positive stories about Black men. Mr. Freeman shares more with us in his interview below.
Polite On Society: Tell us about the Black Male Archive. What is it, and how may the public access it?
Rodney Freeman: The Black Male Archives is a platform where we capture, curate, and promote positive stories about Black men. The Black Male Archives is essentially a database where people can go and find positive stories about Black men right now they can access it online only we have plans for the metaverse and future apps .
POS: Could you tell us how the Reminisce Preservation assists in the research of students who visit.
RF: Reminisce Preservation produces informational resources for the public. We have developed several databases The Black Male Archives and Powerful Women of Color and we’re now in the process of developing Reminisce Historian which will be a genealogy database for family history and research. These databases show and provide people with a holistic narrative about people of color specifically about Black people worldwide.
POS: In your experience as a Black archivist/librarian, has there been a fact about Black history that you found surprised to learn?
RF: I would say that the surprising aspect is how much of our history is hidden from the mainstream narrative of America. When you really start to dig into the archives you see that Black History is essential to the American success story, but it’s been in some areas suppressed by the mainstream news outlets and history books and then I’m surprised when people state they have ‘uncovered’ this little known ‘Black’ history.
POS: In light of the climate towards Black studies in Florida due to the measures of Governor DeSantis, how does this affect your work as an archivist?
RF: It makes what I’m doing and others very important. It makes it important for us all to understand that we have to control our own story, we have to be the ones to preserve it as well as the ones to teach our kids our history because institutions and governments can change at a moment’s notice.
POS: If there is one message that you would want people to take away from the Black Male Archive, what would it be?
RF: Use it! Use it as a reference point to see what we can achieve and understand that there are so many more stories that show us achieving greatness than the limited ones told about us in the news. My favorite saying is an African proverb that says, ‘Until the Lion learns to write, every story will glorify the hunter.”