Mellon Scholars Program: Ruminating on the Research Path
In a series of occasional blog posts, participants in our Mellon Scholars Internship and Workshop programs will introduce themselves, discuss their experiences at the Library Company, and share their goals for pursuing careers in the field of early African American history. This program is generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
I discovered this program through an archivist at Spelman College. Last summer, I received a grant to conduct a ten-week long project in preparation for my senior thesis. Spelman’s was the first archive I had ever visited. Before the end of my first day, the archives—and research—were no longer relegated to academics but instead were feasible career options. Upon finding my new love affair, I hounded the archivist with questions about how to gain more experiences related to history. She suggested I apply for the Library Company’s internship
While here, I have done research on the African American emigration movement to Haiti during the early 19th century. More specifically, I have questioned why African American men outnumber African American women in discourses surrounding the movement, and the often masculine rhetoric emigration literature presented as it gained support. My project has involved looking at pamphlets and letters promoting African American resettlement in order to understand the political and social climate that pushed free black Americans to seek opportunities abroad. Along with this, I have integrated a few articles that grapple with the relationship between nationalism and masculinity into my research. Often, historians do not use theoretical texts to frame their arguments, but I feel that theory has allowed me to further understand the significance of the primary and secondary source documents I have handled.
My month at the Library Company has been phenomenal, and I am excited to see what paths the skills I have gained here will take me in the future.
Scripps College, Class of 2016
2016 Mellon Scholars Intern