General reference queries should be directed to (504) 862-3222 or


Kara Tucina Olidge, PhD is a scholar and arts and educational administrator. She is the former Deputy Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a branch of the New York Public Library based in Harlem. Her scholarly work focuses on the intersection of art, critical cosmopolitanism, and community activism. She graduated from Spelman College in 1992 with a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy with a minor in Art History. Dr. Olidge received a Master of Arts in Arts Administration from the University of New Orleans in 2000, where she received the Marcus B. Christian Graduate Scholarship. In 2000, Dr. Olidge was one of four emerging arts administrators selected for the National Arts Administration Mentorship Program where Edmund Cardoni, Executive Director of Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, mentored her. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy at the State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY Buffalo) in 2010, where she was awarded the Mark Diamond Research Grant for her doctoral work, Critical Cosmopolitanism and the Intellectual Work of Alain Locke.

PHILLIP CUNNINGHAM, MLIS  |  Head of Research Services | (504) 862-3228

Phillip R. Cunningham has been a reference assistant and cataloger with the Amistad Research Center since 2015. He received a BA in History from Kansas State University and later his MLIS from Pratt Institute (NY) and has interned with the Schomburg Center’s Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, the Gilder-Lehrman Institute for American History, and the Riley County (KS) Genealogical Society. His research has focused on Local History, Kansas African-American history, and Digital Humanities.

BRENDA FLORA, MA, CA  |  Moving Images and Recorded Sound Curator | (504) 862-3221

Brenda Flora focuses on Amistad Research Center’s audiovisual collections. She holds a Master’s degree in Film Archiving from the University of East Anglia and is a member of the Academy of Certified Archivists. She has completed several grant-funded projects for the Center, including projects funded by the National Historic Publications and Records Commission, the National Park Service, and the Council on Library and Information Resources. Prior to joining the team at Amistad in 2010, she worked at the University of New Orleans Earl K. Long Library, the Tulane Libraries Recovery Project, and the British University Film and Video Council’s Newsfilm Online project at ITN.

CHRISTOPHER HARTER, MLIS, MA  |  Deputy Director | (504) 862-3229

Christopher Harter received his MLIS from Indiana University in 1996 and has worked as a librarian/archivist at the Indiana Historical Society, Indiana University-Bloomington's Lilly Library, and the University of Illinois. He is the recipient of research awards from the American Library Association, Indiana University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of California-Santa Barbara. His publications have focused on the history of little magazines and small presses, and archival/library outreach to faculty and students. As the Deputy Director at the Amistad Research Center, he assists in collection acquisition and development, the creation and maintenance of strategic partnerships, information technology, staffing, and budgeting. He has served in various capacities at the Amistad Research Center since 2007.

JASMAINE TALLEY, MLIS, CA  |  Manuscripts Curator

Jasmaine Talley is a graduate of Georgia State University in Atlanta and Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Her studies were focused on 20th century U.S. History. Prior to graduate school at LSU's Library and Information Science Program, Jasmaine spent more than a year at the Auburn Avenue Research Library in Atlanta processing archive and manuscripts collections. She obtained her Master's in Library and Information Science in 2014 with specialties in digital curation, preservation, and records management. She also conducted an independent study of the use of archive collections and institutions as instruments for social justice.

LAURA THOMSON, MLS, MA  |  Director of Archives Division | (504) 314-2137

Laura J. Thomson has been an archivist for nineteen years, specializing in the arrangement, description, and preservation of archives and manuscripts collections, and has managed the Manuscripts Processing Department at Amistad for the last ten years. She has a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of South Carolina, a Master’s in Fine Arts in the Book Arts from the University of Alabama, and a certificate in Preservation Management from Rutgers University. She is a bookbinder and fine press printer in her spare time, teaching and working out of an artist studio in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans. You can see some of her book work at

LISA C. MOORE  |  Reference Archivist
Lisa C. Moore, a New Orleans native, received her MLIS from the Catholic University of America in 2019. She is also a graduate of Louisiana State University (B.S., business administration), Georgia State University (B.A., print journalism) and the University of Texas at Austin (MA, anthropology/African diaspora studies). Prior to arriving at the Amistad Research Center, Moore was board president of Fire & Ink, a national advocacy organization for LGBTQ writers of African descent. In addition to her work as an archivist, Moore is editor/publisher of RedBone Press.

Felicia Denice Render received her Master of Science in Library and Information Science degree from the University of North Texas with a concentration in Digital Content Management. Prior to joining the Amistad Research Center, she was the Visual Culture Archivist for the Atlanta History Center, where she managed visual collections by processing over 100 photograph collections, cataloging thousands of images, and completing a grant project to digitize vintage color film footage of Atlanta. Felicia has worked as Project Archivist (Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, LA); Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Fellow (The HistoryMakers, Chicago, IL); Digital Initiatives Resident Librarian (Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library, Atlanta, GA); and Library Associate (Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, Atlanta, GA). As her work experience indicates, Felicia is passionate about preserving different aspects of culture and the ways technology is used to manage cultural heritage resources.