In a series of occasional blog posts, participants in our Mellon Scholars Internship and Workshop programs will introduce themselves, discuss their experiences at the Library Company, and share their goals for pursuing careers in the field of early African American history. This program is generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Writing about myself is often one of the most difficult things to do. I mean, I could tell you my name is Sherri Cummings, I am a "native New Yorker," and I majored in Africana studies, history, and literature at Brooklyn College. I could also tell you that before my professor encouraged me to apply to the Mellon Scholars internship program at the Library Company of Philadelphia I had never heard of the institution ... and yet, I am here.
I am here because of my fascination with Atlantic world history, from the 17th century to the 19th century, and its relationship with the African Diaspora. My love for literature, especially from these time periods, and my profound interest in the history of Africa and her children in Europe and the Americas were the sparks that ignited my scholarly journey. For my graduate studies, I intend to explore the ways the events transpiring in the Atlantic world, from the 17th to the 19th centuries, affected the descendants of Africans in the United States, the Caribbean, and Europe. I would also like to explore women's narratives within this context because women's narratives are so often overlooked.
|Y. J. Grice. "To Miss Martina," from the Martina Dickerson|
Friendship Album (circa 1840-1846).
This leads me to my independent research project here at the Library Company. I have chosen to examine the effects of the Saint Domingue (Haiti) Revolution on the City of Brotherly Love, paying close attention to the response of the African American community as they sought to define their space in the capital of the new republic. In doing so, I hope to place black Philadelphians in a transnational context actively reacting to occurrences in the 18th- and 19th- century Atlantic world that would ultimately shape the fight for liberty, equality, and the abolishment of slavery in Pennsylvania.
|Frontispiece from Saint-Domingue, ou Histoire de ses Revolutions (Paris, 1815). Hand-colored engraving.|
Mellon Scholars Intern, Summer 2014