WEEK 1: Plan
Gather information through secondary sources of why this research is so important
Discovered how this project should not be focused on the obstacles of Black students on campus but also the successes of Black students. Project should aim to focus on both.
Gathered information about the history of the archive and what a project like this does for the Black community and the archival community at large.
Started collecting and gathering the names and addresses of Black Barnard students who have graduated from the classes of 1929-1960
To the left: Page 189 of Barnard College Mortarboard 1928. Note: Zora Neale Hurston does not appear in the mortarboard.
WEEK 1: Findings
Many scholars write on the identity of Black women in the archives. In This [Black] Woman's Work: Exploring Archival Projects that Embrace the Identity of the Memory Worker, researchers write that there is a certain way to dignify the way that Black women should have their lives remembered.
Bergis Jules writes on the failure of preserving the legacies of marginalized people in the archives. These findings of scholars are very important because this research will help give me a blueprint on how I collect data.
Since it is difficult to tell who was Black from the mortarboards (and highly unethical), I went through a lot of transfer documentation from different Historically Black Colleges & Universities. I realized that Zora was a transfer student from Howard, thus there had to be other Black students coming from Historically Black Colleges & Universities. I printed a list of all HBCUs and scanned through the transfer index cards and gathered the names of students who transferred from HBCUs. This helped me gather more names of Black students who attended Barnard.
To the right: Theaster Gates and artists at the Dorchester Project via https://medium.com/on-archivy/confronting-our-failure-of-care-around-the-legacies-of-marginalized-people-in-the-archives-dc4180397280
WEEK 2: Limitations
The process of going through the mortarboards has presented ethical dilemmas and limitations. Information must be cross-referenced. Defining Blackness may not be a desired but may be necessary in identifying students.
By retrieving information through the mortarboards, information on majors and home addresses are not collected each year, and I will have gaps in my data. I will be challenged in creating a comprehensive map.
Photo to the left: A page from Soul Sister, March-April 1992. Eno Jackson recounts the limitations of her time at Barnard.
WEEK 3: Plan
Finish collecting names from the mortarboards of all Black students for the spreadsheet.
Cross reference names collected from the mortarboard with information built upon by other researchers (i.e. Prof. McCaughey). Find consistencies and inconsistencies and explore the inconsistencies in depth.
Start putting together photos, letters, articles, and pictures of Black student life at Barnard on a Pinterest board. Through Pinterest, people have the ability to easily access the photographs and artifacts. (Find link to Black @ Barnard Pinterest in Week 3: Findings)
Week 4: Plan
Continued cross-referencing names gathered from the mortarboard.
Interviewed past researchers who have researched this topic to see if they have any information.
Start building timeline. Document events that took place in history that affected the world, American life, Black life, and student life (and find the intersections of this data).
WEEK 4: Findings
Many early Black Barnard students documented their addresses. But many Black alums did not report an address post-1990. From 1976 to 1991, there was an increase of alums omitting address.
I've been able to cross-reference many names with addresses from the mortarboards. Since United States' history was so segregated and laws of Jim Crow persisted from the end of the 19th century into the mid 20th-century, I have been able to place-map students to historically Black neighborhood.
WEEK 6: Limitations
Timelines are extremely biased. Timelines are curated, thus the curator is responsible for crafting a timeline with information they believe is crucial for understanding a subject matter. I must be cognizant of what I am inputting and omitting from the timeline. I also need to understand how each event relates to the each other to understand the challenges and successes of Black students on campus.
Given that I have to be very conscious of how the timeline is curated, I often get distracted by how much time I spend on analyzing different events. Since time is a limitation for this project, I need to cognizant of how much time I spend on each event.
Week 6: Findings
I decided to curate my timeline with a focus on the 1960s and the events on campus. It is impossible to gather all the events I would like to add, so I want to stay focus on adding events that may have affected student life on campus for Black students.
I realized that I would like to use Scalar to create a website that could be accessible to the student body, faculty/staff, and general public. Scalar will be a great medium for me display embedded maps, timelines, and graphs that help portray information.
Week 7: Findings
I have found more information about the historical legacies of the Barnard/Spelman exchange program. This program was started to help white students at Barnard understand segregation. To understand this racist historical process, Barnard students traveled to the South.
I established 7 different categories of how to classify events: U.S. History, Black History, Cultural History, Institutional History, NYC History, Barnard History, and World History. Events in U.S. History. See Scalar Project in the near future for how I categorized each event.