BHMF launches Black Archive Alliance

Initiative to document African diaspora in Tuscany

Phoebe Owston
November 6, 2018 - 10:19

The newest project by cultural association BHMF (Black History Month Florence) aims to debunk the myth of African presence in Florence and greater Tuscany as an exclusively contemporary phenomenon. In collaboration with Villa Romana and the Cantiere Toscana, and with sponsorship from the Tuscan Region, BHMF has launched Black Archive Alliance, an effort to compile notes and reflections on the holdings of public and private archives in Florence and Tuscany related to Africa and its diaspora. Numerous scholars are involved, and a catalogue will be produced with the goal of stimulating further research into this understudied side of the city’s and region’s history.

Ph. Eliot Raynes



Ahead of the catalogue’s release, BHMF and Villa Romana will host an exhibition (November 27-29) showcasing some of the archival material found in Florence. Photographic and textual documentation of the show will be produced, intended for future use as educational resources.

Confirmed institutions that have served or will serve as sites or sources include the Fondazione Santa Maria Nuova; the Istituto Agronomico per L’Oltremare; the Archivio Storico Fratelli Alinari; the Harold Acton Library at the British Institute of Florence; the Biblioteca Marucelliana; the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana; Poste Italiane; and numerous universities and academic spaces, among others. Particularly noteworthy is the involvement of the Uffizi Galleries, where Ingrid Greenfield will conduct new research on the contextualizing of the portraits of African leaders in the Hall of Portraits.

Black History Month Florence (BHMF) began in 2016 as a month-long programme before evolving into a permanent cultural association that acts as a poly-industry network celebrating the diversity of Afro-descendent cultures in Italy. To learn more, see www.blackhistorymonthflorence.com.

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