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About the Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division
The Moving Image and Recorded Sound (MIRS) Division documents the experiences of peoples of African descent, as they have been captured via audiovisual technology. The MIRS Division also directs and manages the Center's Oral History/Video Documentation Program, which records the life stories and viewpoints of persons representing a wide range of disciplines and experiences for the historical record.
The MIRS Division collections encompass a variety of formats including motion picture film (released prints and outtakes), video recordings, and music and spoken arts recordings in several formats.
Included in the broad range of audiovisual materials are documentary and dramatic films, principally focusing upon international political, anthropological, religious and cultural arts themes. A unique collection of public affairs television programs documents the local concerns of African Americans in communities across the United States. Public service announcements and commercial advertisements are also strongly represented. The recorded music collection covers the various traditional and contemporary genres that have developed out of the cultures of African peoples in Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas. These holdings range from the earliest recordings of the classic blues singers and jazz bands, through gospel and rhythm and blues offerings, to contemporary popular forms, such as rap music. African American composers and performers of European classical music are also represented. The spoken arts collections include original cast recordings of theatre productions, historic dramatizations from radio's golden age, speeches from the modern civil rights period, and contemporary lectures and conference proceedings.