PAAH Summer Program Interns: Mikayla Harden

Hello, My name is Mikayla Harden and I am a 2nd year graduate student at the University of Delaware. As a graduate student, I am pursuing my master’s in history; focusing on the Black childhood experience in the 18th and 19th century. Before Delaware, I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with departmental honors in African and African Diaspora Studies. I have an academic interest in gender, race, and medicine centering the experience of Black children. Additionally, I am also interested in learning about the Atlantic world, especially the Francophone and Anglophone nations. After I graduate from the University of Delaware, I plan to pursue a PhD that will allow me to combine my research interests in medicine, gender, and law, so I can eventually become a college professor.

While at the University of Texas at Austin, I had the opportunity of working under Dr. Daina Ramey Berry where we researched the slave cadaver trade. One of her graduate students (now a professor) Nakia Parker received a dissertation fellowship from the Library Company and spoke so highly of its programs as well as its collections. From this point, I kept the Library Company on my radar. This spring, I was fortunately selected to participate in the Mellon Scholar Internship remotely. Even though my internship is work-from-home, the experience has opened my eyes to the plethora of sources, scholars, and opportunities that Library Company hosts.

PAAH Summer Program 2020 Intern Mikayla Harden

In one month as a remote intern, I connected with an amazing set of cohort members with topics spanning from literature, intellectual history, and geographies. In addition, I have conducted a small research project on the children of the Middle Passage. My research investigates the experience of African children and infants on the Middle Passage in the 18th and 19th centuries. I attempted to expand on the gaze of captivity and archival turn as well as connect the Western Coast of Africa to the Eastern Coast of America through maritime travel and pandemics. This work is important because children of African-descent in America still endure medical neglect and violence. The Library Company has images, travel literature, and pamphlets discussing this matter.