Managing History-An Introduction

I am a first year Ph.D student in the history department at Temple University. My areas of interest are in late 20th century urban history, race and incarceration. I am also interested in public history with an emphasis on Oral History methodology. I am relatively new to the field of public history, as I got my first introduction to the field as a MA student in history at the University of South Carolina. I had an opportunity to take a class focused on interpretations of “difficult history.” As part of this class I helped design an exhibit to accompany the Guantanamo Public Memory Project on Cuban American immigrants to South Carolina. This exhibit, “Creating Culture: From Cuba to the Palmetto State” was heavily based on oral history interviews in an effort to focus on the lived experiences of Cuban American immigrants living in South Carolina. My other work has been much more traditionally academic in nature, but has incorporated Oral History Methodology. My M.A. thesis entitled “They Held Their Fists Up: The Myth of the Violent Black Panther and the Making of the Angola 3” used oral histories with formerly incarcerated Black Panthers. In this work I argued that popular misconceptions of the Black Panther Party as violent allowed Louisiana State Penitentiary officials to falsely accuse the Angola 3, leaders of the only prison based chapter of the Black Panther Party, of murder. I also argued that members of the Angola 3 and the New Orleans Black Panther Party have helped redefine the image of the Black Panther Party through art, literature, poetry and political activism.

My first article, entitled “Not a Myth: Quakers and Racial Justice” was published in the March 2015 issue of Quaker Studies. In it I used the Institute for Colored Youth, a Quaker founded school for African Americans in 19th century Philadelphia, to show Quaker efforts at early civil rights activism.

I am looking forward to Managing History because I am anxious to get a broader background in public history techniques and to learn ways public history has been incorporated in the study of cities. I am also looking forward to our work with the Powel House and the opportunity to design and research a guided tour. Since my only work with museums has involved exhibition design, I am excited about the development of a guided tour. I am also interested in learning to use GIS technology in developing the guided tour of the neighborhood.