My name is Nika and I’m a graduate student in Museum Studies at Southern University at New Orleans. For the past seven months, I have worked as an intern here at the Amistad Research Center in the processing department. When I first started interning here, I spent most of my time writing biographical notes and inputting data into Archon, the searchable archival database. I found it to be interesting because I would get the chance to research a historical figure or organization.
One of the first collections I entered was the Frank Smith Horne papers. I’d never heard of him until I started at the Amistad Research Center. Horne was an optometrist, poet, writer, college administrator, and government official. It amazed me at how much this man accomplished in his life. Who would have ever thought that an optometrist could become a government official? I would attribute this career change to the times. During the early 20th century, there was a move to end discrimination against minorities in the United States. This would have been one of the primary reasons for Horne to make a shift toward working with the National Committee against Discrimination in Housing and other federal agencies that contributed to the fight against discrimination.
Most recently, I was asked to arrange the newspaper clippings from the James Egert Allen Papers. At first glance, this task seemed like it would take a day or two of work. But, the day or two turned into taking two weeks! First, I organized the clippings chronologically. Then, I photocopied each article onto acid free paper.