Google launches online archive featuring Steve Biko’s final days

Google, as part of its digital collections at the Google Cultural Institute, has launched a collection of Steve Biko’s final days spanning from 1976 to 1977.

This was part of the 42 new online historical exhibitions telling the stories behind major events of the last century, including Apartheid, D-Day and the Holocaust.

While making the announcement, Mark Yoshitake, Product Manager at the Google Cultural Institute, said: “The stories have been put together by 17 partners including museums and cultural foundations who have drawn on their archives of letters, manuscripts, first-hand video testimonials and much more. Much of the material is very moving—and some is on the Internet for the first time.”

Each of the online collections, exhibitions, features a narrative, which links the archive material together to unlock the different perspectives, nuances and tales behind these events.

Apart from the collection of the world acclaimed South African Black Consciousness Movement leader Steve Biko (Titled:Steve Biko: Final Days), the following digital exhibitions can also be accessed:

- Tragic love at Auschwitz – the story of Edek and Mala, a couple in love who try to escape Auschwitz;

- Jan Karski, Humanity’s hero – first-hand video testimony from the man who attempted to inform the world about the existence of the Holocaust;

- Faith in the Human Spirit is not Lost – tracing the history of Yad Vashem’s efforts to honour courageous individuals who attempted to rescue Jews during the Holocaust;

- Steve Biko – a 15-year-old’s political awakening in the midst of the Apartheid movement, featuring nine documents never released in the public domain before;

- D-Day – details of the famous landings including colour photographs, personal letters and the D-Day order itself from Admiral Ramsay;

- The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II – an account of the 1953 Coronation including colour photographs;

- Years of the Dolce Vita – a look at the era of the “good life” in Italy including the fashion, food, cars and culture

This initiative by Google is an attempt to “immortalise” some of the world’s history while not confining it to text but bringing it alive through multimedia.

“As with the other archives that we’ve helped bring onto the Internet, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, you can zoom in to see photos in great detail and search through millions of items for a specific country, person, event or date. Watch our video for some guidance about how to find your way around the exhibitions,” Yoshitake said.

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