Monday, July 20, 2015

Mellon Scholars Summer Programs

Kimberly Jones, Jalyn Gordon, Shayne McGregor, Ariel Greenaway, Joshua Johnson, Dominique Washington, Hannah Wallace

In June, the Program in African American History (PAAH) held its second annual Mellon Scholars Internship and Workshop under the direction of Dr. Erica Armstrong Dunbar, PAAH Director, and Krystal Appiah, Curator of African American History. These summer programs foster and support students from underrepresented backgrounds and others with interests in pursuing graduate study in African American history prior to 1900. Michael Dickinson, an advanced history doctoral student at the University of Delaware, served as Graduate Research Advisor, providing guidance on research methodologies and writing skills.

Four students—Jalyn Gordon (University of Houston), Joshua Johnson (Francis Marion University), Hannah Wallace (Temple University), and Dominique Washington (University of Houston)—were selected to participate in a month-long research internship. Using items from the Library Company’s African Americana Collection, interns created a small exhibit based on themes from Dr. Danielle Allen’s book Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality for our Juneteenth event.

Interns also immersed themselves in the African Americana Collection to develop individual research projects leading to a 20-page paper and colloquium presentation of their conclusions. Research topics included activism in Philadelphia's early black churches, an examination of the rhetoric used by African American activists to argue for liberty and equality, Northern African American perceptions of Haiti during its first few decades of independence, and debates surrounding black emigration and colonization.

Dr. Kimberly Saunders leading a professional development session

During their third week in residence, the interns were joined by three more students—Ariel Greenaway (Kennesaw State University), Kimberly Jones (Eastern Illinois University) Shayne McGregor (City University of New York)—for an intensive weeklong professional development workshop. The students attended sessions on graduate school selection, personal statement writing, and curriculum vitae development led by Dr. Kimberly Saunders, director of the McNair Scholars Program at the University of Delaware, while the Library Company’s James Green shed light on the fellowship application process. The workshop week also featured a number of presentations on African American history by notable scholars, including Dr. Dunbar, Library Company Director Dr. Richard Newman, and George Washington University history professor Dr. Maurice Jackson. Rounding out the workshop week were educational trips to the historical resources at Temple University's Blockson Afro-American Collection, Mother Bethel AME Church, and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

Jalyn Gordon at the Blockson Collection

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