eBio Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships 2009


African-American Studies

#1. From Selma To? The seventh edition of “Who’s Who’s in Colored America” was published in 1950. It was the earliest stages of the Civil Rights movement and many of these accomplished African-Americans went on to leadership positions of the large Civil Rights organizations that later emerged. The volume includes extensive genealogical information as well as biographical information.

The first research objective is to uncover the remainder of the biographical details of the subjects' lives post 1950. The second objective is to identify their descendants today, including their extensive biographical details (e.g. education, occupation etc.). Each link in the family tree of descendants must be documented with a physical record (e.g. birth record, marriage announcement, obituary, etc.) and any biographical details picked up along the way. Every effort must be made to capture all descendants, especially those who live ordinary lives with little documentation on their biographical details.

We know what the work of these people did for the country. The question that we are attempting to answer is what it did for their own descendants? Alternatively, the research fellow may want to use the Fifth edition published in 1938-1940 or the second edition published in 1928-1929.

A premium is placed on the use of archival material that is not currently available in digital form. Identifying that material in the African American community and devising a method to make it accessible in a digital format is one of the major objectives of this work.

#2. Your own Topic. Pick an area of your own interest that illustrates some of the issues described above, including:

  • Picking a meaningful census of some group of African Americans prior to 1950

  • Identifying archival sources that relates to the census

  • Remotely gather the archival material.

  • Making the archival material more accessible through digitization at the lowest cost.

  • Making digitized archival material more accessible with better metadata.

  • Track the genealogy of the census – both forwards and backwards.


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