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!
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!