The Black Archives

The Black Archives is a unique historical archive where one can go for inspiring conversations, substantive activities, and research on black and other perspectives that are often underexposed elsewhere. Due to the COVID-19 / Corona crisis, it is temporarily not possible to visit the archive, however, we have worked tirelessly to digitise our collections over the pandemic to ensure that our collections remain accessible for all.

Feel free to browse the collections using the top navigation bar, or click on the links below to read about some of the initiatives The Black Archives are involved in to further Black emancipation and reveal the perspectives of those previously overlooked:

The Digital Archive

This digital archive was constructed using an open-source web-publishing platform called Omeka Classic as part of a project which aimed at connecting the decolonial ideologies of an "alternative archive" like The Black Archives with the technical frameworks of Open-Source Software (OSS). The purpose of this project was to create a personalised archive system for The Black Archives, bringing together all of the collections into one succinct archival database. This was also motivated by community-archive theory and the prospect of taking ownership over 'archivization'  - that is the technical structures and practices involved in the process of archiving.

[The] technical structure of the archiving archive also determines the structure of the archivable content even in its very coming into existence and in its relationship to the future."

- Jacques Derrida - Archive Fever (Pg:17)

The use of Open Source archival software is centred around two distinct characteristics which can be married with the ideologies and objectives of community archiving; emancipating the archive from its inherited past as an instrument of rationalism, colonialism, and empire:

  1. Open Source ideology demands that the source code be transparent, allowing users to create their own modifications and variations of the original software without the permission of the initial coder. This has allowed staff from The Black Archives to construct a digital archive that display objects and alternative histories in a way that is personalised and structured in own terms.
  2. Open Source software fosters greater accessibility and inclusion through community engagement, allowing for users to not only view the archive's collections but actively correct and even contribute to them by adding their own items. Through this, the user -and the source community, by extension- is empowered to decide what is worth archiving, and how this process should be carried out.

With this in mind, we ask you to make suggestions and corrections to any of the items in our collections. This can be done by going to the bottom of any individual item pages and clicking 'Click Here to Provide a Correction or Suggestion for this Item'. Alternatively, you may also contribute your own objects to the archive by clicking the 'Contribute an Item' button in the top navigation bar. With your help, we can continue to act as an accessible community archive - for the community, by the community.

Kick Out Zwarte Piet

In November 2021 it will be ten years since the 'Zwarte Piet Is Racism campaign' was launched. On November 12, 2021 it was exactly 10 years ago that Jerry Afriyie & Quinsy Gario were forcibly arrested by the police during the Sinterklaas entry in Dordrecht. The campaign - and the video of the arrest went viral - was a catalyst of a wider social movement that not only reignited the debate on the Sinterklaas tradition but also broke the taboo about institutional and anti-black racism in the Netherlands. However, there is a deeper hidden history of resistance against Zwarte Piet and racism in the Netherlands.

In the spring of 2022, The Black Archives will open the exhibition 'Facing Blackness' about the history of image formation about Black people in the Netherlands and about the resistance against it. In the run-up to the Facing Blackness exhibition, The Black Archives organizes dialogue sessions in which artists, activists and thinkers from different generations enter into dialogue. We are looking for stories and objects about the history of resistance against Zwarte Piet and objects that show the historical context of racist caricatures such as colonial children's books, products, advertisements and artefacts.

Do you want to share a story or donate an object?

Click here!

Or else, Upload it Mail to