Every year Amistad hosts summer interns to delve into exciting archival projects at the Center. Our internships are one of the ways in which Amistad gives back to the local community and introduces students to the field of libraries and archives. For summer 2018, we have interns who are newcomers and veterans. Profiles of each and the projects they are working on are featured below.
Sarah E. Jones is a junior at Tulane University majoring in Political Economy and Africana Studies. She is Amistad’s Digital Projects intern this summer. She highlights her first summer at Amistad.
“As a Digital Projects intern, I am tasked with the responsibility of creating and managing content for Amistad’s social media platforms. Every week, I research interesting articles, videos, and stories to share on Facebook and Twitter. Although I search through items related to African American history across the diaspora, I try to keep a keen eye on the silenced stories of Black women, New Orleans greats, and the activism and history of Black individuals on college campuses. In addition to this, I also explore Amistad’s digital collections and exhibitions to find images, oral histories, and documents that I can share with their social media audience. I want people to view the types of hidden treasures that are located in the archives at Amistad.
My other responsibilities as a Digital Projects intern includes scanning physical items from Amistad’s past exhibitions to be placed on their website, and creating a Black History social media calendar for Amistad, which has been my favorite endeavor thus far. Through this project, I have had the chance to read about monumental people and organizations like the Dent family, the MOVE organization, and the Free Southern Theater.
I was nervous stepping into this position without having previous archival experience. But thanks to the guidance of my supervisor and Amistad’s Reference Archivist, Chianta Dorsey, and the rest of the Amistad team, I have had a pleasant transition into the position. My nervousness was also aided by the awareness of knowing such a large audience views the content that I post. To my surprise, a tweet I posted in honor of Black Music Month was retweeted by the National Museum of African American History and Culture. I look forward to seeing my social media skills develop and the growth in my knowledge of African American history.”
Aria Johnson is a sophomore at Southern University in Baton Rouge and is a nursing major. She discusses her fourth year as an intern at Amistad.
“For the past four summers, I have been given the opportunity to intern at the Amistad Research Center. This summer, I have been working under Ms. Laura J. Thomson. She is an archivist at Amistad and has been guiding me through the organization and arrangement of the “William Lombard” collection (1874-1986). This collection included correspondence, applications, financial records, news clippings, letters, and minute books about William Lombard and the Longshoremen’s Protective Union Benevolent Association.
Working at Amistad has helped me in many ways. I have gained work experience, great administrative skills, as well as learning a more about the history of African Americans and other minorities. Overall, the best aspect about interning at Amistad is working and bonding with the other staff members.”
Jenidza Rivera is a second year graduate student at the University of New Orleans seeking her Master’s degree in Public History. She highlights her first summer at Amistad.
“For my internship at the Amistad Research Center, I am cataloging and writing descriptions for the Arnold R. Hirsch collection. Arnold R. Hirsch was born and raised in Chicago and later served as a professor at the University of New Orleans between 1979 and 2010. He is best known for his book, Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960, where he discusses the housing segregation and racial struggles in Chicago following World War II.
The Arnold R. Hirsch collection is made up of interviews that Hirsch conducted between 1987 and 1994. In these interviews, Hirsch and his interviewees discuss the political climate of New Orleans as well as their own individual works in the city during and following the Civil Rights movement. The interviews were used as oral histories on New Orleans’ racial politics from the 1950s to the 1980s for his essay that was included in Creole New Orleans: Race and Americanization (1992). Those interviewed included former mayors of New Orleans Moon Landrieu (1970-1978) and Ernest “Dutch” Morial (1979-1986), the first African-American mayor of New Orleans. Hirsch also interviewed Sybil Morial, the former First Lady of New Orleans and civil rights activist who helped to found the Louisiana League of Good Government (LLOGG) in 1962, and Dr. Raphael Cassimere Jr., the first black instructor to be hired at the University of New Orleans.”
Quincy Landry is a sophomore at Xavier University majoring in History. He is a Reference and Cataloging intern and talks about his first summer at the Center.
“I started at the Amistad Research Center in early June. When I first began, I started typing out labels so folders and articles in the ACOA library could be identified. I’ve also de-spined a huge bound “book” full of newspaper articles from the Reconstruction era. One of the most interesting things I’ve done at the Center was getting an opportunity to go through Malcom X’s FBI surveillance files.
Aside from the array of things I’ve been doing, my main focus has been on authoring a blog post for the Center’s blog. The topic of the post will be about Black Catholics in the city of New Orleans. For research about the topic, I have read books and viewed documents from the Center’s collections. My internship has been a really informative experience, and I know I will continue to learn!”
Amber Kinui is working at the Amistad Research Center to aid in her DLS project for her English Masters at Tulane. She is exploring racial passing as a theme, specifically by analyzing actress Fredi Washington’s role in the film Imitation of Life. She has been reading on this topic with the help of her advisor, Joel Dinerstein, along with her intern supervisor Christopher Harter. She is also helping with Amistad’s newest digital mapping project, which will feature black businesses in New Orleans during the early 20th century.
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