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

Executive Office
Executive Director – Kara Tucina Olidge, PhD 

Deputy Director – Christopher Harter

Archives Division

Director – Laura Thomson, MLS, MA | 504-862-3224, ext.1,

Archivist – Felicia D. Render, MLIS

Archivist – Courtney Tutt, MSLS | 504-862-3226,

Archival Assistant – Amanda Lima

Curator, Manuscripts & Rare Books – Jasmaine Talley, MLIS, CA | 504-314-2137,
Archival Assistant – Lerin Williams
Archival Assistant – Sarah Waits

Curator, Moving Image & Recorded Sound – Brenda Flora, MA, CA | 504-862-3221,
Archival Assistant – Khalif A. Birden

Registrar, Fine Art – Turry M. Flucker | 504-862-3219

Research Services
Head of Research Services – Phillip Cunningham, MLIS | 504-862-3224, ext.
Reference Archivist – Lisa C. Moore, MLIS
Digital Projects Assistant – Jake Yount, MA 

PHILLIP CUNNINGHAM, MLIS  |  Head of Research Services

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

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.

KARA TUCINA OLIDGE, PHD  |  Executive Director

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.

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

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.


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.

AMANDA LIMA  |  Archival Assistant

Amanda Lima received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in Anthropology with a certificate in Latin American Studies and two minors in African American studies and women’s and gender studies. Prior to working at the Amistad Research Center, Lima worked as a research assistant at the W.E.B Du Bois Center. In addition to her work as a archival assistant in the Archives Division, Lima is a library associate at the New Orleans Public Library and a current student at Louisiana State University (LSU) where she is studying to receive her MLIS degree in archival studies.

LERIN WILLIAMS  |  Archival Assistant

Lerin Williams is assisting with an IMLS-funded project involving the personal papers of African American women leaders. She is currently in the thesis-writing portion of a Master’s degree in Ethnomusicology at Tulane University. Williams previously worked as a project assistant for the Amistad Research Center, during which she assisted with a digital project for the Yorba and Gullah language wire recordings of linguist Lorenzo Dow Turner. She has also worked at the Hogan Jazz Archive at Tulane University. Her research interests lie in Identity and African Diaspora studies, oral history, tourism, transnational knowledge production, linguistics, and liberation movements. Williams has a background in music education and jazz studies. Her study of music performance and fieldwork has led her to Brazil, Europe, and the Caribbean.

KHALIF A. BIRDEN  |  Archival Assistant

Khalif A. Birden is a native New Orleanian and graduate student in Anthropology at Tulane University. He holds a B.S. in Anthropology from 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.

COURTNEY TUTT  |  Project Archivist

Courtney Tutt received her BA in Anthropology from the University of Houston and later her MSLS in library science with a specialization in archives and digital imaging from the University of North Texas. She has interned at the University of Houston, Houston Metropolitan Research Center and the Rothko Chapel. She has also worked at organizations such as the American Institute of Architects, Holocaust Museum Houston and the University of Houston. Tutt is the Project Archivist on a three-year project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities that will arrange, describe and preserve 615 linear feet of records of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund (FSC/LAF) and Emergency Land Fund (ELF).


Turry M. Flucker ( is writing about fine art and activism at Tougaloo College during the 1960s. Prior to his work with the fine arts collection at Tougaloo, Flucker served as Arts Industry and Visual Arts Director at the Mississippi Arts Commission, Civil Rights Branch Director at the Louisiana State Museum (New Orleans, Louisiana), and curator at Smith Robertson Museum (Jackson, Mississippi.) While at the Mississippi Arts Commission, Flucker managed grant applications from single-discipline arts and cultural organizations. During his time with the Louisiana State Museum, Flucker directed the planning and development of several special projects. While at Smith Robertson Museum, he initiated a new exhibition program which included organizing an exhibition of paintings by Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence, wife of famed American painter Jacob Lawrence.

SARAH WAITS  |  Archival Assistant

Sarah Waits is assisting with completion of the processing of the papers of Dr. Marguerite Cartwright with support from a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. Sarah is working on a certificate in Archival Studies from the MLIS program at Louisiana State University (LSU). She received her BA in English and History from LSU and a Master's in History with a public history concentration from the University of New Orleans. Sarah worked at the National World War II Museum as a digital archives cataloger for the past three years. Prior to that, she worked at the New Orleans Museum of Art and at the Hermann-Grima and Gallier Historic House Museums in the French Quarter.

JAKE YOUNT  |  Digital Projects Assistant

Jake Yount received his BA and MA in History from Southeastern Louisiana University. During his time in graduate school, he focused on POW treatment during the Second World War. He interned at Southeastern's Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies, where he helped create an exhibit on the First World War, and at the Jackson Barracks Louisiana National Guard Archives. He plans to start classes for a certificate in archival studies, either with LSU or the Society of American Archivists, in the near future. He also works as an Assistant Archivist at the Louisiana State Archives in Baton Rouge. Jake is assisting with digital preservation initiatives as part of an Institute for Museum and Library Services grant.