Author Archive | Aaisha Haykal

Blog Updated

The new picture (of William Leroy Blake and members of the Jenkins Orphanage Band) and blog title (“Not Just in February”) of the Avery Research Center’s blog represents the fact that we at the Avery  Research Center promote and document African-American history all-year around. Our collections demonstrate that the African-American experience cannot be limited to just one month. The individuals and organizations within the repository signify the fact that our legacies need to be celebrated and remembered not only so we do not forget them, but also to empower and encourage us to continue onward.

The Jenkins Orphanage was created in 1891 by Rev. Daniel Jenkins because he saw that there was a need for one in the African-American community. The band was created by Jenkins to raise money for the land for the orphanage due to the lack of support from the city and limited public will. It was eventually built at 20 Magazine Street in Charleston, South Carolina. Jenkins sought instruments for them to play and hired P.M. “Hastie” Logan and Francis Eugene Mikell to tutor the children. It is reported that the uniforms worn by the youth were hammy-downs from the

Lonnie Hamilton. Obtained from http://www.charlestonjazz.net/hamilton-lonnie-iii/

Citadel. The band was composed of the children from the orphanage and they were given the opportunity to play around world such as at the London Expo and the St. Louis World Fair. The profits from the shows went to the upkeep of the orphanage.  Mo

Cat Anderson. Obtained from http://northbysouth.kenyon.edu/1998/music/cat/cat.htm

re about the Jenkins Orphanage can be found in John Chilton’s book A Jazz Nursery: The Story of the Jenkins’ Orphanage Bands. 

Some well-known band players are Lonnie Hamilton (we have his papers), Jabbo Smith (hear him play), Cat Anderson, and Freddie Green.

The band reflects the fact that Charleston, South Carolina played an important role in the creation of Jazz music as we know it today.

Additional Resources

IMLS Fellow Update

I have been working at the Avery Research Center for about a month now and I have been keeping busy and productive. My progress in the archives and social media are detailed below.

Archives

I have processed and created the finding aids for two collections, the Humane and Friendly Society and the Lecque Family Papers.

The abstract for the Humane and Friendly Society reads:

The Humane and Friendly Society was a benevolent society of free African American men in Charleston, South Carolina. The Society served as a way to provide for widows, orphaned children, a burial place for its members, and it also arranged apprenticeships and educational opportunities for African American men.

The collection consists of administrative materials of the Humane and Friendly Society including meeting minutes, correspondence, and membership lists. Topics of discussion include raising membership dues, care of the graveyard, and the rules of being a member. The record journal notes who paid dues, how long they have been a member of the Society, and where members are buried in Charleston. The plot records include completed and blank application forms.

Before I processed this collection I knew that there were organizations created by African-Americans that assisted the community in many aspects, but this was my first look at a society that was dedicated to helping to bury individuals. Working with this collection allowed me to see how deep racism is; that even in death African-Americans and Caucasians could not be next to each other.  One of the major issues of concerns within the meeting minutes was the cost of membership in relation to the upkeep of the Humane and Friendly Society cemetery (which is located in the Magnolia Complex).

The other collection that I worked on was the Lecque Family Papers. Working with a family collection as opposed to an organizational collection presents different challenges and context in terms of the arrangement and description. Since I am not from the area I did not know who the Lecque family was and why their collection would be here at Avery, but I read the newspaper clippings I began to see the role that the family had in establishing the Liberty Hill community in North Charleston. Most of the collection delves into the history of Liberty Hill and St. Peters’ African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church, but the collection also consists of genealogical information, legal documents, funeral programs, and photographs of the Lecque family. Some of the photos were framed in oval sized frames and Ms. Georgette Mayo and I had to decide if we wanted to take the photos out of the frame or keep it in there. This was a preservation decision, we were not sure if we took the pictures out of the frame if the photo(s) would become damaged.  Ultimately, we decided that the photos should remain in the frames.  In order to obtain a better understanding of the family structure I did genealogical work on the Lecque family using Ancestry.com at the South Carolina Reading Room at the Charleston County Public Library. From there I used census records, the social security index, and draft cards to compile a list of birth and death dates and marriage information.

The collection that I am working on presently is the Prince Hall affiliated Order of the Eastern Star Chapter No. 41 Papers. This collection has been great to work on as I am interested in organizations that women are a part of and kinds of work that they do. The collection consists of administrative records, financial materials, records relating to the O.E.S. rituals and ceremonies, as well as material documenting the activities of Prince Hall Lodge No. 46 (the Charleston Lodge). I will post a full commentary on it when completed.

Social Media

The other activity that has been keeping me busy has been increasing Avery’s social media presence. I have been maintaining the Keep Your Eyes on the Prize blog well as updating Avery’s Facebook page on a daily basis with information about African-American issues, concerns, resources, etc. on a local and national level. From my efforts I have gained more “likes” on the Avery page and made connections with relevant people who are interested in African-American history and culture, historic preservation organizations, and cultural heritage societies locally, South Carolina, and nationally. Through these connections Avery obtains a broader network of supporters and also increases the visibility of the archival collections and encourages people to use our resources. In addition, we promote our programs and staff activities.

Ms. Mayo and I attended a webinar (an online workshop at the College of Charleston’s Addlestone Library) regarding the creation of interactive subject guides (a guide created by archivists and librarians that compiles relevant information about a certain subject/theme for researchers). Historically subject guides were static (i.e. text only), but now with the diverse modes of transmitting information this needs to be changed. The presentation stressed the importance of video, audio, and visual materials as well as including blogs, news feeds, and student created content in these subject guides. I am investigating the possibilities of using these types of subject guides at the Avery Research Center.

A couple of examples of interactive subject guides can be found here:

The presentation can be found online here

If you have any thoughts about what topics and themes you would want to see done as subject guides please comment below.

Graduate Internships at the Avery Research Center

Graduate Internships at the Avery Research Center

Hosting Institution: Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture in Charleston, South Carolina

Through its research facilities, museum exhibits, archival collections and numerous outreach programs, the Avery Research Center tells the rich story of the lives and contributions of Africans and African Americans in the Lowcountry and the wider African Diaspora.

Listing Department(s): School of Library and Information Science (USC); History, Historic Preservation, Arts Management (CofC); African American Studies; Urban Studies; Political Science; Sociology; Anthropology; Women’s and Gender Studies; African Studies
Requested Number: 2 Graduate Students
Commitment: Internships begin at the start of the Fall or Spring semester and require at least 10 hours/week for 14 weeks.  Please inquire for information on Summer internships.
Schedule:

 

The interns must be available for ten hours during the workweek, Monday through Friday, during the hours of 10am to 5pm.

The weekly time commitment may be broken into shifts of 2-5 hours.

Compensation: Academic Credit / Unpaid
Goals: The Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture seeks undergraduate interns to assist in a dynamic and engaging program of collecting, transcribing, and archiving manuscript collections and oral histories. Students will gain professional training and hands-on experience in the collection of oral histories that reveal untold stories of the civil rights revolution; labor and work; gender and African American women; race and the city of Charleston; and struggles for “Black Power” in the American South.  Students will be trained in the professional standards of conducting, transcribing, preserving, and digitizing oral history interviews.  As students work with the material, they will also be encouraged to use our oral history collection to conduct their own research and student papers.
Description: Avery interns will be stationed in the Reading Room to assist the Public Historian with the transcription of oral histories already conducted.  Additionally, interns may have the opportunity to go out into the local community to conduct oral histories of their own, with the oversight and assistance of the Public Historian.

Student interns will also have the opportunity to work with the Director of Archival Services on Avery’s substantial manuscript collections.  Students will assist with reference material, exhibits and tours, archival arrangement, organization, and description.

Each intern will be expected to write at least one publishable blog post on an oral history collection or research topic related to Avery’s archival holdings.  Where possible, the Public Historian will strive for a match between student interests and oral history projects.

Enrichment: Weekly, the Public Historian will have one-on-one meetings with interns to assess the students’ experiences and to discuss the problems, possibilities, and potential richness of their work in oral history.
Evaluation: Students will have mid-term and end-of-term evaluations conducted by the Public Historian.
Feedback: Students will also have the opportunity to provide feedback to the Avery internship program through mid-term and end-of-term evaluations.
To apply or request more information, please contact Avery’s Public Historian, Dr. Robert Chase, at chasert at cofc dot edu.  Interested applicants should include a current resume and cover letter.
 

 

Robert Chase: An Introduction

The Avery Research Center is excited to welcome the newest member of our team, Robert Chase!  He began working here in September.

Dr. Robert Chase is the public historian at the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture at the College of Charleston.   Dr. Chase specializes in public history, oral history, civil rights and social justice movements, and African American history.   Born in New York City and raised in Washington, DC, Dr. Chase received his MA in history from George Mason University and his PhD in history at the University of Maryland, College Park.  He is the recipient of the University of Maryland’s E.B. and Jean Smith prize for best dissertation in political history.  Previously, Dr. Chase has held postdoctoral fellowships with Southern Methodist University, Case Western Reserve University, and Rutgers University.  His forthcoming manuscript, Civil Rights on the Cell Block: The Prisoners’ Rights Movement and the Construction of the Carceral State, 1945-1990, explores the roots of twentieth century prison growth, inmate society and the coercive relationship between keeper and kept, and the legal struggle between inmates and the state over race, prisoners’ rights, and questions of citizenship.

He is working on inventorying the oral histories that we have in our collection and developing new oral history projects.

More information about him can be found

  1. http://sas.rutgers.edu/news-a-events/feature-archive/1084-post-doctoral-and-new-faculty-fellows-enrich-research-and-teaching 

So when you see him around, say hello!

Honorable Lucille Whipper Goes Back-to-School

Welcome sign on front door of the school

On Friday, September 23, 2011, The College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center cofounder and former South Carolina House Representative, the Honorable Lucille Whipper, went back to school as a part of The HistoryMakers’ Back-to-School initiative.  The initiative aims to educate and inform the younger generations about what life was like before they were

Honorable Lucille Whipper talking to the students

born. The Honorable Whipper spoke to approximately seventy-five fifth-grade students at Springfield Elementary School in Charleston, SC. The students were very attentive, took notes, and were very engaged with Honorable Whipper.  She talked about her childhood in Charleston, her political and social activism while she was in high school, in college, in her career, and later in her life. What really got the students engaged was her discussion of segregation and the various inequalities that faced African Americans both in Charleston and on a national scale. Notably Honorable Whipper stated the struggle for Civil Rights did not just begin in the 1950s/1960s, but dates back further to the efforts to end slavery.

The Honorable Whipper did not just provide history lessons to the students, but also life lessons, such as the importance of respect for both yourself and for others, the need to love and appreciate the talents one has, and the need to give back to those who come behind you while not forgetting those who came before.

Before the presentation, the Honorable Whipper; Ms. Georgette Mayo, the Avery Research Center’s Processing Archivist; and Aaisha Haykal,

Aaisha Haykal preparing to speak

Avery’s History

Makers Fellow; were able to take a tour of the school with the Principal Ms. Blondell B. Adams.

Ms. Mayo doing introductions

The event was also an opportunity to promote the archival and historian professions to the students.  The day before Mrs. Whipper’s visit, the students viewed a brief video about the Avery Research Center.  In her introduction, Ms. Mayo discussed what an archivist does and what an archive collects.

The day would not have been possible without the support of Ms. Adams and Ms. Regina Pinckney Stephens, Springfield Elementary School’s Library Media Specialist, Ms. Fanny

Display in the library

Anthony, the library volunteer, and the student helpers, who arranged for the room and the

audio/visual technology.  Lastly, we want to thank the Honorable Lucille Whipper for taking the time out of her day to participate in the HistoryMakers initiative and the students for their avid attention.

More photos from this event can be found on Avery’s Facebook page.

 

 

 

Aaisha Haykal: An Introduction

The Avery Research Center is excited to welcome the newest member of our archives team, Aaisha Haykal!  Her profound interest in Avery’s materials and the archival profession in general have already brought a much-appreciated aura of inspiration and enthusiasm to our archives!

Aaisha Haykal

Photo by L. Barry Hetherington

 

Hello, my name is Aaisha Haykal, and I have been placed at the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture for the next nine months as a part of an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant initiative that aims to diversify the archival profession. While at Avery I will be processing archival collections and maintaining the Avery blog, as well as re-imagining and updating Avery’s social media presence. One of the goals that I hope to achieve during my time here is to make connections with local African American community organizations to talk with them about the importance of keeping records and possibly donating their records to an institution like Avery. If you know of any organization(s) that need(s) assistance in this area please contact me at haykalan at cofc dot com.

Below is an excerpt from my fellowship application about why I chose Avery and the value that both the collections and the institution has to the community.

I am interested in the Avery Research Center because of its emphasis on preserving the documents that detail the life and organizations of the Black Charleston community and beyond; one can obtain an authentic feel of this history in the city not just in the past, but also in its present state. Furthermore, the exhibits and lectures at the center note that the institution is actively connecting the past and the present, which I find necessary in order to maintain relevancy and to make an impact. From the center’s blog posts I can see that they have recognized the need to open the archive up to the public and I want to continue this endeavor by creating online exhibits and having lectures and workshops that would further increase access to the archival resources. Moreover, to continue the legacy of community advocacy of the center I would be an advocate for community members to preserve their own materials for their personal empowerment and history; the archive and the archivist would be seen as a resource and advisor in this process.

Thus, from this small part of my application one can see that I fully believe in the fact that communities have to be in control of telling their own stories and histories because otherwise what is remembered can be the product of other people’s imaginations. I will be expanding on what I mean about this in my upcoming blog posts, so if you are interested and want to learn more, please come back!

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