Thursday, March 24, 2011

Archives and Publics: Dynamic Women = Relevant & Engaged Work

For visitors just finding the blog or regulars who may have forgotten, the Archives and Publics series is about connections between archives and various publics – scholars, interns, genealogists, students, documentary filmmakers, authors, artists, and others. The series highlights the ways in which different groups access and use archives with a focus on AARL's constituents.  Today, we have two features about faculty and graduate students from the University of Georgia and the University of West Georgia -- all dynamic women doing relevant and engaged work related to African American culture and history.  Another connection is that they've all conducted research in AARL's Archives Division.

In the past, we've included posts (here and here) from graduate students in the Public History program in the History Department at the University of West Georgia. Today, our first feature is UWG’s Dusty Marie Dye, who over a year ago visited AARL regarding a public history project about African American burial sites in Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery.  In February of this year, her contributions to the project came to fruition when the Historic Oakland Foundation launched “African American Voices,” a cell phone walking tour and outdoor exhibition that interprets the cemetery's African American history; see the image above. You can read more about it here, and in the Spring 2011 issue of the Oakland Herald. See also UWG's Center for Public History's project on African American shape note singing, which Dye served on as a graduate research assistant.  

Next is an update on UGA's Dr. Barbara McCaskill, Christina L. Davis, and JoyEllen Freeman's research project about the life and work of Joseph Richardson Jones.  For months we've chronicled their work here, here, here and here.  Below is an e-mail from McCaskill about a recent visit to Jacksonville, Florida, where Jones was born.  It's amazing to see how their research evolves, where some details about Jones's life remain elusive, while others surface through meticulous and thorough investigation.

A short two days later, McCaskill shared articles featuring separate (and fantastic) research projects conducted by Davis and Freeman.  To read about Davis's collabortive work with Dr. Ron Butchart on Reconstruction-era teachers, follow this link.  For information about Freeman's research about nineteenth century African American pianist Thomas Bethune or "Blind Tom," visit here

Research databases, articles and encyclopedia entries, community programs, oral histories, audio walking tours -- these diverse projects reach a variety of publics in meaningful ways.  They also demonstrate how archives live outside of little (sometimes large) gray boxes.

We look forward to sharing more from our colleagues and constituents.

Posted by Wesley Chenault, Library Research Associate

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