Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Mellon Scholars Program: The Final Verdict

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.

“That which grows fast, withers as rapidly. That which grows slowly, endures.”

My mother would always tell me to walk, don’t run before I fall. My mother meant that one day I would look up and ask “where has time gone?” As you can imagine, the concrete marks will show I was not an expert in waiting. Today, I find myself asking that very question, “where has time gone?”  

Four and a half years ago, I graduated from Jack Yates Senior High in Houston, Texas, and continued to the University of Houston, where I received my Bachelor of Science in Political Science. This journey redefined my purpose in life. With a passion for law, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer before I graduated high school. Other aspirations include teaching higher education and becoming a U.S Senator. During my undergraduate career, I chose courses that allowed me to incorporate my passion for law and public policy. Minoring in African American Studies, I focused on public policy regarding race and social justice. This led to my interest in the 2015 Mellon Scholars Internship Program, where I knew I would gain experience that would enhance my studies. Undecided between graduate school and law school, I applied to the program with the hope that it would help me to figure out which was the better option for me. Whether it would be law school or graduate school, I needed to gain experience in conducting research. Participating in the program is helping me to determine what I ultimately want to accomplish and leave as my legacy.

Researching the historical collection of archives at the Library Company of Philadelphia provided many ways to follow my interests in law, public policy, and race. For my research project, I chose to research how activists from Northern states influenced anti-slavery legislation. Previously unaware of the impact the North had on the Reconstruction Amendments, I structured my research to analyze the roots of activism in 18th- and 19th-century literature and rhetoric by black reformers and abolitionists in Philadelphia.

During my journey, I have alternated between the decision of going to law school or graduate school but now realize that I have the capability to do both.

Dominique Washington                                                                 
2015 Mellon Scholars Intern

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