Addressing Racial Inequality

As the home of this nation’s founding documents—the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights—we have a special responsibility to the ideals that all people are created equal, that all people have equal protection under the law, and that there is a common good that includes us all. Although we as a nation have fallen short at times, these are the goals we aspire to as Americans, for all Americans, and the ideals that drove the work of the Archivist’s Task Force on Racism.

I chartered the task force last summer, as our nation’s continued struggle with issues of racial violence and inequality caused us to reflect on our own roles in making improvements as an agency, both for our employees and our customers. Its charge was to identify racial inequality in both our customer-facing operations and internally, within our workplaces, in pursuit of an equitable and inclusive environment for all employees and customers, and based on those findings, prepare a set of actionable recommendations.

The National Archives Building in Washington, DC

The 35 members of the Archivist’s Task Force on Racism, divided into three groups, identified issues of racial inequality in customer-facing and internal operations in pursuit of an equitable and inclusive environment for all employees and customers:

  • The main Task Force addressed the employee experience (issues such as recruitment, advancement, retention, assignment of work, and access to opportunities); diversity and inclusion (how we interact with each other and our customers); and race-based harassment and discrimination.
  • The Subgroup on Archival Description examined matters relating to anachronistic or offensive terminology that have been used to describe our historical records.
  • The Subgroup on Museums examined how we ensure a diversity of representation, viewpoints, access, and outreach in our exhibits, education, and public programs.

I am pleased to share the final report from the Task Force. The report addresses some of our agency’s programs, processes, and resources; identifies their shortcomings; and offers both short- and long-term recommendations. I have accepted those recommendations. You may find it difficult to read portions of this report. It includes frank and unblinking language about NARA’s agency culture and history, and I ask that you do not let that deter you.

I am immensely grateful to the members of the Agency’s Task Force and to every NARA employee who contributed to this effort, and I thank them for this service. Their recommendations have the potential to forever change our agency for the better.

NARA leadership and staff are dedicated to working for meaningful and long-lasting changes for our employees and for the communities we serve. We look forward to sharing our progress with you as it unfolds.

Read more on Archives.gov

5 thoughts on “Addressing Racial Inequality

  1. Name the members on this task force. They need to answer for Marxist interpretation of our history.

  2. This is an exercise in racism, and illegal. We’re asking all task force members to resign and forfeit their pensions.

  3. All federal employees take an oath to support and defend the Constitution – it would appear that 35 task force members and the Archivist have not followed their oath. Federal employees are also prohibited from striking and when the Air Traffic Controllers went on strike, President Reagan fired them for violating their oaths. So which politician will be brave enough to hold some hearings and get an explanation. Over 500,000 veterans are waiting for documents from their records from an organization that is part of the National Archives and the Archives can have a task force on racism but can’t do their job and assist veterans. Why were all past Archivists and the current Archivist older white men?

  4. This is yet another needless effort to impose the grotesquely distorted account of American history promoted by propagandists of so-called ‘critical race theory’ as a means of de-legitimizing the principles of freedom on which the United States of America was founded. Shame on you! Please leave America’s founding documents just as they are. Nobody needs ‘contextualization’ or warnings to read the plain language of the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution. These days, freedom of speech, assembly, religion, and security from unreasonable searches urgently need protection and reinforcement. Constitutional due process of government is likewise threatened. If those in charge of the Archives and its Task Force want to do something useful, why not consider the prospects for freedom and Constitutional government in the United States.

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