Welcome to the Gloria Naylor Archive. The Archive, an interdisciplinary and multi-institution collaboration, facilitates engagement with Gloria Naylor’s life and works by making her collected papers widely accessible—to scholars, educators, students, and fans.
Our Mission Statement
Gloria Naylor’s collected papers are a rich, albeit partial, record of her creative process. But, we also understand that the Archive is not about Naylor alone. It is also a window into transnational networks of writers and activists who, between the 1980s and the first few years of the 21 st century, exposed the workings of racism, sexism, homophobia, and classism to envision more just social arrangements. Further, the Archive is a source of inspiration for researchers whose creative and intellectual projects will continue to expand these networks tomorrow.
Thus, we approach the Archive not only as a record of the past, but also a movement toward new communities and different futures. In this sense, we take our cue from Naylor’s novels, like Mama Day, in which past, present, and future are mutually transformative. Written between 1981 and 2010, Naylor’s published works and her private papers offer fresh insights into pressing contemporary political issues today. For instance, her published and unpublished writings speak to issues of mass incarceration and police violence, migration and gentrification, religion and sexuality, racism and sexism in higher education, the enduring legacies of enslavement and colonization in North America, capitalism and globalization, as well as the power of Black joy, cultural traditions, and resistance.
In our practices and programming, the Archive seeks to honor the political, intellectual, and aesthetic commitments central to Gloria Naylor’s writing. Gloria Naylor’s novels center Black life—and especially the relationships among Black women. We register Naylor’s trenchant critiques of academic institutions (including archives) that often marginalize, erase, and do violence to Black lives as well as her insistence on the value of knowledge that exceeds documentary records.
These are our guiding commitments:
- We center Black art, Black scholarship, and Black communities in our descriptions of archival materials, our website, and our programming.
- We preserve the original description and arrangement of materials in the collection, as a record of Gloria Naylor’s own knowledge practices. We remain mindful and transparent about what we do not know about materials in the archive.
- We envision the Archive as a space for building equitable communities. We hold ourselves accountable to the individuals and communities who engage with archival materials and to those who are represented in the Archive. We pursue non-hierarchical collaborative projects that partner with communities and institutions both inside and outside higher education. We name and acknowledge those who contribute to Archive projects.
- We strive to make the Archive, as a physical and virtual space, welcoming and accommodating for all users. We envision multiple, varied audiences for the Archive, and we present material in varied formats—images, videos, scholarly articles, informal blog posts, performances—to promote access.
The Gloria Naylor Archive in the News
“Novelist Gloria Naylor’s Newly Rediscovered ‘Sapphira Wade’ Was Worth the Wait” by Jaelani Turner-Williams
A More Accessible Archive: Showcasing the Work of Writer Gloria Naylor by Kelly Hochbein
Gloria Naylor Archive Project awarded Accelerator Grant via Lehigh University LTS