CHICAGO—Derek Mosley, archivist and division manager at the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, a special library of the Fulton County Library System, will be inducted as a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) on July 27 during an awards ceremony at the Joint Annual Meeting of the Council of State Archivists and SAA in Washington, DC. The distinction of Fellow is the highest honor bestowed on individuals by SAA and is awarded for outstanding contributions to the archives profession.
Mosley, who holds an MS in archives management from Simmons University, has dedicated his career to identifying, preserving, and increasing awareness of and access to the documentation of Black history and culture. He began as director and archivist for the recently established Ernest J. Gaines Center at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, where he arranged and described the center's foundational collection, developed its website, secured grant funding, and created programming for students and community groups. Mosley then served as assistant head of Atlanta University Center's Archives Research Center, overseeing collections that document the African American experience. In 2016, Mosley became the archivist/division manager for the Auburn Avenue Research Library. He was instrumental in convincing the Georgia Public Library Service to prioritize a collaborative project to digitize African American funeral home programs, a project which provided critical information for the Black genealogical community. He was also key in the library’s participation in the IMLS grant-funded project “Archiving the Black Web.” This project, which establishes equitable and accessible web archiving practices, is significant not only because of the primary sources about Black life that it makes available, but also because it has increased the number of Black practitioners in web archiving who understand the diverse ways Black people participate online.
Mosley’s enthusiastic and engaged leadership has shaped the archival profession on local and national levels. He has served on conference planning committees, election committees, and scholarship committees for several organizations, including SAA and the American Library Association. At SAA, he also served as a Council member and on its Executive Committee, during which time he contributed to the challenging and essential work of reviewing SAA’s bylaws. He has also served on the Diversity Committee, Committee on Education, Archivists and Archives of Color Section, and the Public Library and Special Collections Section. He is a founding member of the Atlanta Black Archives Alliance, a group that strives to educate Black communities on the importance of documenting their stories, and he was a member of the 2019 cohort of the Archives Leadership Institute. In 2021, he received the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Board Award for Excellence in Documenting Georgia's History.
Mosley has written on access and service for multicultural patrons and presents regularly on the African American historical record to colleagues, researchers, and community organizations. He has also championed students and early-career archivists of color. His role with the ARL/SAA Mosaic Scholarship Program, for example, extended beyond evaluating scholarship applicants to co-creating the Mosaic Leadership Forum’s curriculum, recruiting speakers, and facilitating mock interview sessions.
As one supporter noted: “Mosley has demonstrated through his professional activities and his mentorship and generosity to colleagues that he has a steadfast commitment to the diversification of the historical record and diversity and inclusion among archivists. His energy and passion reflect the best characteristics one could hope for in the archival profession.” Another supporter praised Mosley’s active community presence and considerable dedication to not only an institutional scope but a national need for collection of and access to essential evidence of African American experiences and contributions, remarking that “the historical record is and will be far richer because of his efforts.”
Mosley is one of four new Fellows named in 2023. There are currently 199 Fellows of the Society of American Archivists.
Founded in 1936, the Society of American Archivists is North America’s oldest and largest national archival professional association. SAA’s mission is to serve the educational and informational needs of more than 5,900 individual and institutional members and to provide leadership to ensure the identification, preservation, and use of records of historical value. For more information, visit www.archivists.org.