In the Making: Black Craftspeople Digital Archive

February 12, 2021


In the Making

“I wanted a resource that moved beyond traditional archival collections of craftspeople, and just the endless collection and cataloging of names…. I wanted to see Black craftspeople. And I found the best way for me to see them was through place.”

On Thursday, February 11, 2021, we held a conversation with Dr. Tiffany Momon, Founder and Co-Director of Black Craftspeople Digital Archive. She guided us through the work they have been doing to research and map 18th century Black craftspeople, in a future-looking effort to document the origins of crafts and trades in this country.

Black Craftspeople Digital Archive seeks to enhance what we know about black craftspeople by telling both a spatial story and a historically-informed story that highlights the lives of black craftspeople and the objects they produced. Dr. Momon is a public historian and Visiting Assistant Professor of History and Mellon Fellow at The University of the South.

The Archive’s research began in South Carolina, and the first version of their website launched in 2020 catalogs 399 Black craftspeople, both men and women, free and enslaved, working in 25 trades. They have expanded their research into Tennessee, Jamaica, Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, and will launch the next phase of their website in late February 2021 adding their research and mapping from Tennessee.

Download the presentation slides.

If you would like to volunteer your time or contribute research materials, fill out the form at

“In the Making” is a new public programs series where we connect with a range of new voices, fields, and perspectives. Learn more and view a full list of participants on the series homepage.