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USC looks to preserve the Black Lives Matter Movement through firsthand experiences

Researchers are working to preserve the history that is being made today.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina is launching a new project to showcase and preserve first-hand experience of the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Last summer, the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others prompted an outpour of voices for Black Lives Matter in the United States. 

RELATED: Black Lives Matter has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize

Now, researchers at USC are hoping to preserve these experiences for future generations through a grant from USC's Racial Justice and Equity Fund. 

Amie Freeman is a scholarly communication librarian at USC and is helping to form Voices of SC: Black Lives Matter.

“As a librarian, we sort of recognize what is going to be historically important in the long term," Freeman said. 

The project is asking for those who are willing to share their experiences with the project, whether that be photos, videos, art, poems, stories or whatever else may be significant to their experience.

“These are experiences that deserve to be lifted, that deserve to be documented and deserve to be preserved just because future generations are going to look back at this moment and they are going to want an understanding," Freeman said, "They will want to hear first hand from all of the people who were involved in doing this work.”

Black Lives Matter South Carolina’s founder Lawrence Nathaniel thinks what USC is doing is a good way to preserve their history. 

“Preserving the history so our next generation can have the opportunity to understand the mistakes and to understand what we all learned to help our country and our state move forward,” he said. 

“One of the things that's really important to us is having potential participants understand that we care about them and we respect their privacy and their right to participate or not participate as they see fit," Freeman said, "Because it is a very personal decision and we want people to feel comfortable with whatever it is that they decide.”

Freeman says they hope to eventually have a virtual museum experience to permanently hold these records. 

Students can also earn money through the project's Student Outreach Partner program where you help recruit people to tell their stories. 

To read more about the program and submit an experience, visit their web page here.