Discovering Freedom Dreams

Hello, my name is Andrew Aldridge and I am a rising senior at The College of Wooster. As an undergraduate, I am pursuing a double major in English and History. I enjoy writing short stories and poetry, and I have a literary theory interest in how race and mobility were represented in the Harlem Renaissance. Additionally I am also interested in acquiring more knowledge about the African Diaspora along with contemporary African American History. After I graduate from Wooster next May, I plan to pursue a PhD that will allow me to combine my interests of English and history, so that I can eventually become a college professor.

Despite being born and raised here in Philadelphia, I was not aware of the Library Company of Philadelphia’s highly acclaimed collection of African American History until the Mellon Scholars Program was recommended to me during the spring of 2017.  Last summer, I had the privilege of being selected to participate in the Mellon Scholar Workshop. Even though I was only at LCP for a week, the experience was a transformative one due to the fantastic advice, mentorship, and people I met during the course of the week. Heading into this summer I desired to return to the LCP to conduct more archival research in hopes of becoming a more well-rounded scholar.

During my time here at the LCP as an intern, I have had the pleasure of reconnecting with those who made my experience as a workshop participant so memorable, as well as meeting a new array of scholars who I have enjoyed conversing with. While I conducted a small research project the last time I was here, the research project I pursued this time was significantly more extensive. When pondering what the potential subject of my research could be, my mind took me back to an Africana Studies class I took during my freshman year in college. While I vaguely remembered that we covered the Haitian Revolution in the class, I realized I had no true knowledge of the event other than the fact it was the only successful slave revolt in world history. For my research project, I decided to investigate how the freedom dreams of African American activists and emigrationists (those who supported emigration) were impacted by the Haitian revolution during the early and middle 19th century. Being able to come back to my hometown and conduct research at the LCP this summer has been another gratifying experience, and I am very thankful to have been able to explore the Haitian Revolution in depth and gain a better understanding of its significance in the formation of African American history.

Andrew Aldridge
Mellon Internship Program