me in the Land of Lincoln

me in the Land of Lincoln
my alleged work face

my work desk

my work desk
my junky work desk where I do my research at the office

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Week 8

2 months. it seems like I have been here for quite a while. Just one more week and then off to DC and then back home. Back to the things I was doing before I came here to Springfield. Here's the blog.

Monday - In the wee hours of the morning, I FINALLY finished my manuscript. I took a nap and got up for work. I read it to make sure that everything made sense. I know I was up late typing and some things may have been out of place. The work came to 15 pages. Very few footnotes. So a majority of it was actual writing. Now, I have to put that same type of work into my senior seminar for the fall semester. Now I know that type of work can be done. Maybe I can take some of this info and use it for my senior seminar. After printing copies, I made it a point to personally deliver copies to historians and researchers that ave helped me with my project this far. It was nasty and humid. Not to mention, I felt like I was a girl scout delivering cookies wearing khaki and white. Of course. I had to add a bit of flair with a scarf. Ok, maybe I wasn't a girl scout. A diva esque troop mom. Coincidentally, Josh had the same color scheme in mind when he got dressed that morning. It was funny. I think we've been hanging together too long. We were coordinated. Kinda scary. Anyhow, I delivered all copies of manuscripts. By the time I finished, it was time to go home. Josh and I went to walmart. I needed crazy glue to fix my faithful laptop bag. We came home to watch the show, "History Detectives." The top story was to find out if someone had a document actually signed by Abraham Lincoln. Nerd, I know. This Lincoln thing sticks with you. Once you start researching, you keep finding things. The woman found out that the document was fake. However, the person that signed the sheet music was a guard of Lincoln. The schemers had him sign the document in his older years. Then, they forged Lincoln's signature. That was just mean! The things people do to change history. Which is why I appreciate my job. I take only the facts, and present them for others to see, or tell a different side of the story. After that, Josh went home. I settled in and prepared myself for the next day.

Tuesday - With the weight of the manuscript lifted for a moment, I started to work on the site bulletin. This is a snapshot of my work that the public can get their hands on. When someone comes to the park, they can get a pamphlet that tells about a certain thing or event. Of course, mine will cover the story of the hired girl and the hired help that worked at the Lincoln home in Springfield, Illinois. The fact that my research is going into this is mind boggling. I consider myself just a researcher. I just want to find the information. Not present or profit from it. I'll let someone else do all of that. Which has gotten me to thinking of a business venture as a historical research consultant. I will have to see how that pans out. Created an outline, tried to pick out info that the public would want to know and still keep it historically interesting. Went home, settled in, and prepared myself for the next day.

Wednesday - Midweek. yay. Came in and worked on the site bulletin. Decided since it was the middle of the week, I'd work until the middle of the day. I left the office. Went home and actually watched a soap opera. Something I haven't done in years. It reminded me of times I spent with my grandmother, Pearl, or Dear, as I called her. I think she'd be proud of me. There are times when I accidentally dial her number. Just so I can hear her voice and I can tell her about my work here. I can hear her say, "very good." and we would talk about when I was coming home. I also know that my great grandmother, Naomi, or Maw Maw, as I called her would listen to everything I said about my project and asked me if I have read all of the materials that could help me with my work. These women instilled confidence and a love for knowledge into me at a very early age. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity, actually, the privilege to be in the presence of these women before they left this earth. Ok, enough sappiness. I am always crying about something in each week of my blog. I have to stop that. Went to the lecture. The topic was about equality struggles in African American history. Dr. Kemayo talked about how Frank McWhorter, the first African American who founded the town of New Philadelphia, Illinois was a visionary. He brought up the point that he paid for his wife's freedom first. He also freed himself and 16 of his family members which cost him $14000. Of course, the interesting young man was at the lecture. We were texting throughout the lectures points that we discussed since the last lecture. I wondered if the lecturer tapped our conversations. Dr. Kemayo gave me thee advice that I have to see myself as an academic colleague when I get to graduate school. Also, he suggested to find a school that is supportive. Some professors make it a point to diminish the morale of graduate students. After the lecture, Josh and I grabbed dinner. The interesting young man wanted to know if I was going to watch the CNN special, "Black in America." That was an obvious one. He came over with roses. I thought was very sweet of him to do, but a bit much just to watch tv. Anyhow, watched the show and discussion ensued and was enlightening as usual. Sent him home, settled in and prepared for the next day.

Thursday - My PR guy managed to get me to meet with two interesting individuals. My first meeting was with John Crisp. He is at the Harriet Tubman Susan B. Anthony Center. I learned a lot. He brought me into this room that was a tribute to African American history. There were photos of local and national African Americans. I thought that very interesting. He also had inventions by African Americans. There were some that I knew. There were some that i didn't know. We talked about my project. He talked about how it was interesting that I was in Springfield for two months and no one in the African American community knew I was here. A part of me thought the same thing. Yet another part of me thought, " I am here to do academic research work." This issue divides me occasionally. As a historian, I have to be unbiased. But I can't simply put down my race and gender. These things define me also. I am sure as I grow professionally, I will get over this small issue. I hope that Camesha Scruggs can simply provide information in an unbiased manner. I also met Idris Qadeem. He has a bookstore that I would consider to be Pan-African. The books covers various topics in the African diaspora. We also discussed my project. We talked of how I am changing the face of historical research. I love African American history, but I have to be able to work outside of that area. I know that I will not lose my identity and legacy of my ancestors as I move ahead in my academic career. These wonderful men took me to lunch. We went to a restaurant called Gateway to India. Lunch was great. Afterwards, they gave me a driving tour of the African American side of town. They told me stories of how they would play in open fields, storefront of black businesses. I truly enjoyed myself. That was kind of my Lincoln Home break. I finally left their company in enough time to return the G ride and go home. I settled in, enjoyed my evening, and prepared myself for the next day.

Friday - I came into my office with the expectation of receiving manuscripts and making modifications. I get a call from Dick Hart. He asked me to meet with a group of kids he was working with. He asked me to talk to them about my project and "inspire them." I thought I was only supposed to do research, write a manuscript, and go back home. So much for that. Today was a casual Texas Southern t-shirt and jeans kind of day. I met the group. I took a public tour for the first time since I have been in the park. It was interesting to watch the rangers do their job and how the public took in the information they were receiving. It made me think that my research work will be given to thousands of people from everywhere in the form of this tour. Mind boggling. We finished the tour and walked back to their summer work site. We talked about what their goals and aspirations are. I realized that even as an aspiring historian, I still have to reach back into whatever community I am in and contribute. I made it back to my office and took a break before picking up my manuscripts. I got all of them back. 15 pages multiplied times 7. I don't do math. That was a lot of paper. Each one made very good points for me to consider and modify. I appreciate their input and assistance. I finally left the office and went home. Settled in and prepared myself to enjoy my weekend.

Saturday - I spent the day with new found girlfriends in Springfield. Nikia, Ebony, and I went to the nail salon. I DESPERATELY needed a pedicure. I refused to be talked about because my feet look a moving mess. We went to an Asian bistro restaurant. The food was great. Afterwards, we went to see the movie, Sex in the City. I enjoyed my day with the girls. I made it home close to midnight and settled in and went to bed.

Sunday - Another worship service. Today was youth Sunday. The sermon was more like a panel or summit. An interesting format. The discussion was for youth to be an example. Don't let your youth be a deterrent to the job you have as a Christian. That same message can be applied to any Christian. Don't let your (age, race, sex, hindrance, etc.) get in the way of the work that has to be done. I know, I'm not supposed to be preaching. But, it touched me personally. I came home and did a little editing to my manuscript and started looking at what can be sent ahead of me as I get ready to work my last full week at the Lincoln Home.

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