Alumnae/i Feature

Derek Mosley ’11MS Archives Local African American History in Atlanta

Derek Mosley ’11MS is the Archivist and Archives Division Manager at the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, a special library in the Fulton County Library System in Atlanta, Georgia. Mosley oversees archives collections, donor relations, and instruction at the non-circulating special library. 

“We collect across a number of different subjects and a lot of local history,” says Mosley. The archive attracts a wide variety of researchers, including students from nearby Georgia State University, as well as people working on books, dissertations, and other research projects. 

Derek Mosley in the archives

Most surprising, perhaps, is their extensive collection of funeral programs. “We have 3,000 programs,” he says, “all related to African Americans in Georgia, Atlanta or the southeast region.”

There is also an album collection that people can listen to in the reading room, and a large oral history collection that includes interviews of local residents and civil rights leaders which “reflects the African American community here in Atlanta.”

As for his favorite item in the collection? “A plantation logbook from the 1840s," says Mosley. "It accounts for the daily activities on a plantation: what the slaves were doing, what they were eating, if they were sick. They were taking care of their property — these slaves were their property.”

His time at the School of Library and Information Science “shaped my career — particularly classes with Professors Jeannette Bastian and Kathy Wisser. Those classes helped me understand archives and how they operate and how to manage within the field.”

Mosley also had an internship at Tufts during his time at Simmons, which was invaluable. “I volunteered at Tufts [after the internship] and eventually got a graduate assistant job. I encourage students to focus on internships and gaining experience while in the program.”

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