The JEC Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant tasks the archives with developing and promoting, in collaboration with partners, digitized archival resources related to and supporting research and teaching in justice, equality, and community beginning with the issue of race and religion at Davidson and in our region.
A more publicly available and promoted archives will inspire transdisciplinary coursework in the humanities through the use of archival materials, promote avenues for increased original student research in the humanities, and enable Davidson to develop reciprocal relationships with community partners—all in support of increased dialogue around issues of justice, equality, and community in the curriculum and the community.
In order to more effectively engage our audiences and build a stronger collection, we have selected a thematic focus for each year. For the academic year 2017 – 2018, we focused on 19th century Davidson. Working with partners like DigitalNC and H.F. Group, we identified and digitized thousands of items related to this theme. These materials are available through Davidson College’s research guides – a centralized platform familiar to our students and faculty, while also being accessible to the general public.
These materials have been incorporated into a variety of courses, including Introduction to Africana Studies (AFR 101), Environmental History (ENV 256), Slavery and Africa (HIS 366), WRI 101, the Humanities Program (HUM 103, 104), US Latinx History (HIS 259), Women and Slavery in the Black Atlantic (AFR 329), and Origins of the American South (HIS 242).
We have also used archival records to support the following outreach events:
- A collaborative program with the Davidson Public Library for Black History Month.
- A panel discussion by Reeves Temple AME Zion Church about the historic Lingle Hut.
- Presentations to the Eastern Lincoln County Historical Society on local history.
- “Tips & Treats” programs with the Registrar’s Office and campus Administrative Assistants about campus history and archival practices.
- An EAT Lunch on ethical oral history practice and resources led in conjunction with T&I through our joint Center for Teaching and Learning working group on Oral History at Davidson.
- Providing research assistance and debriefing spaces for the entirely student-led and organized Davidson Disorientation tour.
We continually listen to our community and student partners for more responsive programming ideas, as well as learning about the ways we can support and document existing initiatives.
We have built on these efforts throughout the 2018 – 2019 academic year by highlighting and expanding our records related to alumni and student activism through support for course-based oral history projects, the on-going digitization of our existing oral history collections, and more targeted student outreach.
For example, Archives and Special Collections staff have supported the student-led, Spring 2019 independent study course, “Jews and Jewishness at Davidson,” while also establishing the JEC Student and Alumni Advisory Council.
The JEC Advisory Council, composed of Davidson College students and recent alumni and led by the JEC Project Archivist, Jessica Cottle, was created to document and publicize the ways in which students have engaged with and responded to historical and contemporary manifestations of injustice and inequality in Davidson and the surrounding area.
Supported by the archival portion of the JEC Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, we are working to synthesize information from academic, administrative, and social spheres for a better understanding of campus culture and greater acknowledgment of student work. The ultimate goal of this project is to address gaps between student needs and institutional responses, empower students to better leverage archival resources, and to promote dialogue around increased accountability for supporting student-led projects.
To learn more about the JEC Student and Alumni Advisory Council, visit our sub-page, here. You can also find this page under the “Justice, Equality, Community Projects” tab.
These efforts all work to shine light on Davidson’s historical and current engagement with issues related to “justice, equality, and community.”
If you have any questions about our projects or if you would like to get involved, please contact our JEC Project Archivist, Jessica Cottle.
Justice, Equality and Community Project Archivist
As the JEC Project Archivist, I work with faculty, staff, students, and community groups to develop new archival resources and programming centered on issues of justice and equality. I am particularly interested in the gaps in the archival record as related to displaced populations, race relations, and social justice.