Baylor Libraries to Unveil State-of-the-Art Black Gospel Archive & Listening Center

  • Full-Size Image: Black Gospel Archive & Listening Center
    Baylor University Libraries' Black Gospel Archive & Listening Center (BGA) is a state-of-the-art center that houses the permanent collection of the Black Gospel Restoration Project. (Courtesy of Baylor Libraries)
  • Full-Size Image: Why Gospel Music Matters
Nov. 10, 2021

New space in Moody Memorial Library will house nationally recognized Black Gospel Music Restoration Project collections, researcher engagement technology

Contact: Eric Ames, Marketing & Communication for University Libraries & ITS, 254-230-2153
Follow Baylor Libraries on Twitter: @BaylorLibraries

WACO, Texas (Nov. 10, 2021) – When the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project (BGMRP) launched at Baylor University in 2006, its physical presence was limited to a small space in Moody Memorial Library. Now, some 15 years later, the BGMRP has a digital presence encompassing thousands of archival recordings, a place in a permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American Heritage and Culture and, as of this week, a state-of-the-art archive and listening center to house its permanent collection.

The Black Gospel Archive & Listening Center (BGA) will be unveiled during a grand opening and dedication ceremony at 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 12, in the garden level of Moody Memorial Library. The program will feature Black Gospel music performances by Heavenly Voices Gospel Choir, remarks from Baylor Provost Nancy Brickhouse, Ph.D., and speakers from the University Libraries, BGMRP and friends of the project.

A lecture on “Why Gospel Music Matters” will follow at 1 p.m., featuring BGMRP founder and journalism professor Robert Darden and Robert Marovich, founder and editor of the Journal of Gospel Music and a major collector whose materials were loaned to the BGMRP for digitization and inclusion in its online database.

The Black Gospel Music Restoration Project at Baylor is the world’s largest initiative to identify, acquire, scan, digitize, catalog and make accessible America’s fast-vanishing legacy of vinyl from gospel music’s “Golden Age.”

“We could not be more excited to open this space to the people of Waco, our Baylor community and researchers from around the world,” said Jeffry Archer, dean of University Libraries. “With every step along the way, from initial idea to the finishing touches, we have focused on respectful representations of African American culture, a commitment to the finest in technology and décor, and a spirit of welcome and inclusion for any and all who want to research and encounter this amazing collection of American heritage.”

The Black Gospel Archive & Listening Center features storage space for thousands of physical items, including LPs, 45rpm discs and cassettes, as well as researcher computer stations and a custom work desk. The centerpiece of the space is a Framery brand sound isolation pod, which features high-end audio equipment and a full keyboard for researchers who want to play along with sheet music or recordings from the collection. Beginning Nov. 15, the space will be reservable for researchers, students and the general public via the BGA’s website at www.baylor.edu/library/bga.

For more information on the BGA grand opening event, please visit www.baylor.edu/library/blackgospelarchive or contact Eric Ames, outreach liaison for the BGMRP, at eric_ames@baylor.edu or 254-710-1576.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

ABOUT THE BAYLOR UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES

The Baylor Libraries lead as an innovative research library that undergirds scholarship, fosters teaching and learning and builds communities. Comprised of Moody and Jones Libraries along with world-renowned special collections that include Armstrong Browning Library, The Texas Collection and University Archives, The Institute for Oral History, the Keston Center for Religion, Politics and Society and the W. R. Poage Legislative Library, the Libraries drive research at Baylor University and beyond.

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