Monday, February 27, 2012

Interns Assist Center in Increasing Access to Archival Collections

Interns Sara Green and Jayla Jones
organizing archival collections in
Amistad's Reading Room.
The February issue of Amistad's quarterly newsletter acknowledges the contributions of donors from the previous year. The 2012 edition will also feature an article on the volunteers and interns who continue to donate their time in order to assist the Center with projects and service to Amistad's constituents. As a preview, we'd like to highlight Amistad's recent interns, Sara Green of Bennington College and Jayla Jones of Xavier University of Louisiana. Both are contributing 100 volunteer hours as part of their internships and have already assisted the Center in providing greater access to its collections.

Sara Green, a junior at Bennington College in Vermont, recently completed her Field Work Term in New Orleans, during which she spent part of her term at Amistad. At Bennington, Sara's work centers around Black consciousness -- its definition, implications, and applications -- and she is pursuing this interest through a combination of work including identity and performance politics. Focusing on dance and African American Studies, Sara assisted with the processing of several small collections that center around dance and performance. Her initial collection, the Elma Moore Booker papers, documents the first African American woman to own a dance studio in New Orleans. Sara also processed a number of collections related to Mardi Gras Indians, including the Maurice Martinez papers and the Guardians of the Flame collection. All three collections now have full finding aids in the Center's finding aid database, and a finding aid for the papers of New Orleans-based photographer Christopher West, who has chronicled the Mardi Gras Indian tradition in his work, will soon be available. Thanks to Sara's help, the papers of sisters and actresses Fredi Washington and Isabel Washington Powell will also be online in the near future.

Jayla Jones is a junior at Xavier University of Louisiana, majoring in Biology Pre-Med, with a minor in History. Jayla is combining her interests in both fields by processing the records of the Auxiliary of the National Medical Association. The Auxiliary was founded in August 1936 as the Women's Auxiliary of the National Medical Association with the purpose of encouraging "a better relationship between families of men in the allied sciences as well as render service to their communities." The Auxiliary grew substantially over the years and, in 1975, restructured to allow spouses of female physicians. Jayla's work at Amistad is centered on organizing the 11 linear feet of records of the Auxiliary, which date from approximately 1937-1997. Thanks to her assistance, the Center will be able to make the collection available to members of the Auxiliary when they visit New Orleans for their annual meeting during the summer of 2012.

Both Sara and Jayla have contributed greatly to Amistad's efforts while gaining insight into the archival profession, which represents the Center's efforts to provide mutually beneficial opportunities for interns and volunteers by structuring focused projects that provide valuable experience and contribute to the Center's overall mission.