The Georgia & Nolan Payton Archive of Sacred Music consists of music, books, periodicals, documents, audio & visual materials, and oral histories. The primary goal of the Archive is to facilitate research and documentation of collections of African Diaspora sacred music (church music and religious concert music) created and/or performed by the multicultural population of Southern California. The Payton Archive is to hold the works of Los Angeles-based African Diaspora musicians, beginning with the Hansonia Caldwell Special Collection, the Jester Hairston Special Collection of Spirituals, the Lillie Hill Jones Collection (donated in June 2002), and Dr. Don Lee White Collection. The Archive is to be a central component of the overall Archive program of CSU Dominguez Hills.
The immediacy demanded of this component of the ADSMM program is underscored by the fact that within the last five years, nine prominent Los Angeles musicians have died (J. Harrison Wilson, Jester Hairston, David Bowick, Richard Jackson, Lillie Hill Jones, Celestyne Shambrey, John Herod, Nicola Fowles and Elbie Wade). Their personal homes, and the churches and schools that they left, are veritable treasure-filled sites, brimming with unique materials that need to be organized before dispersal eliminates access. Bibliographical records must be created to document this important source material, and centralized access needs to be provided. The first major project of the Archive is the preparation of the African Diaspora Sacred Music and Musicians of Southern California Database. With support from the National Endowment For the Humanities (NEH) we have undertaken a project to survey source materials of Southern California African American sacred music and musicians, with plans to create an on-line database for use in performance, research and curriculum enrichment. The project is being implemented through the work of Project Interview Teams drawn from the Dominguez Hills Humanities Graduate Program and from the community.