This summer, the Amistad Research Center welcomes four interns who will gain hands-on experience and learn more about the archival and library profession. For three years, Amistad has hosted interns from the NOLA Youth Works, and this year we welcome Raven Johnson. The New Orleans City Hall program introduces local high school students to an array of careers while providing a unique experience over summer break. Profiles of our Summer 2019 interns are below.
Khalif Aziz Birden is a native New Orleanian and graduate student of anthropology at Albion College in Albion, Michigan. His research interests are studying the people and cultures of the African continent and Diaspora, with a specific focus on storytelling traditions, spirituality, LGBTQIA+ experiences, black literature and media and pre-colonial African societies.
Khalif is working with the Willie Lee Hart Research Division as a reference desk attendant. The reference desk connects researchers with collections at Amistad and includes a variety of tasks, including handling reference inquiries from researchers at the Center and distance researchers via telephone and email. At the National Insurance Association, an economic organization committed to racial uplift, Khalif assisted with records and also completed personal research in the archival collections.
“What I like most about my job at Amistad is that through working, I’m gaining a better idea of the contents of each material collected in the archives. There’s a wide variety of different materials here, and every so often I find myself re-shelving a book or manuscript box while thinking ‘Oh, I should come back to look at this for myself later.’ I have a very wide general research interest, and I think this type of exploration could help me with any projects I may undertake in the future.” –Khalif Aziz B
Aria Johnson is a junior at Southern University in Baton Rouge. This is the fourth summer that Aria has spent at the Amistad Research Center. She is interning with the Florence Borders Processing Division. This summer, she has assisted in the processing of the papers of Chakula cha Jua, a New Orleans director/artist/teacher/poet/actor, and the papers of poet and writer Sybil Kein. Aria is a considerate and enthusiastic worker and we are over-joyed to have her working with us again this summer.
“I am glad to be back here. I like processing; the ins and outs of archival work. It’s fascinating to discover new things in the archives, read up on new information, and I enjoy working with familiar faces.” –Aria Johnson
Raven Johnson is a senior at St. Thérèse Academy. She is a NOLA Youth Works Traditional Summer Worker and has joined the Florence Borders Processing Division for the summer months. Her work at Amistad has included creating biographical sketches for creators of archival collections, working with Amistad’s ephemera collection and assisting with the processing of author and educator John Hatchett’s papers. Raven is a dedicated worker with an interest in writing and poetry. Working with the Hatchett collection has particularly interested her. She says she is enjoying her time here at Amistad Research Center.