A community choice.

Tafari Robertson is an artist and speculative historian exploring the possibilities of a framework centering the stories carried by Black people every day. Robertson will be working with The Library Company as a Community Change partner for their Beyond Glass Cases project developing a speculative history that imagines a process of historical authorization that begins with Black people, discounts the negligence of White historians, and plays in the legacies of people, such as Dorothy Porter Wesley, who have done this work before.

Initiating the creation of a Memory Workers Guild: History Department, Robertson will gather a task force of community peers to establish certifying documents, host media making sessions, and perform the permanence that codifies value in history as we know. Subverting and calling to question the sense of value erupted by empirical historical praxis, the MWG: History Department will move through the frame of collective memory and community trust to create a history that prioritizes the value of the people who first hold it with care.

Project Partner

Tafari Robertson is a multidisciplinary artist based in Philadelphia, PA. He began his artist journey through painting, illustration and now works across mediums to explore the experiences layered within Black cultural spaces. He questions what are the artistic effects of space, the elements that create those experiences, and what ripples out when these spaces are created, sustained or destroyed.

His Book Space Archive is a series of audio collages developed through an investigative oral history practice conducted with historically Black bookstores across the U.S. Through interviews with owners and patrons, he pieces together themes and histories to create a new conversation for audiences to engage with, highlighting the energies preserved in these spaces that have upheld Black culture and are too often lost without notice.

Currently developing his speculative practice, his Future Forms explore the effects of administrative design toward creating perceptions of permanence and authority as pillars for institutional buy-in. He uses this work to build on the imaginative possibilities of creating new worlds for those ignored or diminished in our current frameworks.


Ainsley Wynn Aekins

Wynn Eakins is a community archivist and librarian who serves as the Reading Room Assistant at the Library Company of Philadelphia. Before joining the Library Company in 2020, Wynn graduated with a B.F.A. in African American Studies from Wesleyan University and worked with special collections at Yale’s Program for Recovery & Community Health, the John J. Wilcox LGBT Archives, and the FLP’s Children’s Literature Research Collection.

Wynn completed a post-baccalaureate certificate in Community Based Librarianship at Drexel University in 2021, where they identified a significant accessibility gap in regional educational circles concerning early-American Black history and culture. In response, Wynn sought to close the gap by connecting diverse communities of memory workers, educators, artists, and more with the Library Company’s rich digital and physical resources. They also pursued further education in this area by taking course on Black Bibliography through Rare Book School at Princeton University and the Schomburg Center in 2023. Through their engagement with organizations such as the ALA, RBMS, the Caribbean Studies Association, Paul Robeson House Museum, Scribe Video Center, and more, Wynn has become an ambassador for the institution’s collections in African, African American, and Caribbean history and culture.