The UA Little Rock Center for Arkansas History and Culture (CAHC) welcomes Emily Summers as one of the Center’s new graduate assistants this spring. Summers just started her first semester as a Public History master’s student at UA Little Rock. While new to the Public History program, she is not new to CAHC.
Summers first started at CAHC her junior year where she worked as an undergraduate intern to create a character collection (a small web exhibit) on Florence Cotnam. As a senior, she was hired to help with the Council on Library and Information Resources’ Hidden Collections and Archives grant, where she digitized thousands of manuscripts, edited oral history videos and photographed memorabilia pertaining to desegregation in the central Arkansas school districts.
Through these experiences, Summers discovered her affinity for the archives and decided to enroll in the UA Little Rock Public History program.
Now as a graduate assistant at CAHC, Summers is gaining more archival experience by processing the Boys, Girls, Adults Community Development Center (BGACDC) collection. This collection chronicles the work of the BGACDC, a grassroots community center that provides affordable housing, recreational activities, and education services to families of Marvell, Arkansas.
Through business correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and realia, the collection illustrates the BGACDC’s efforts to empower the Marvell community. Of particular interest are its grant proposals to both local and national foundations such as the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Its extensive photograph collection also captures a variety of community-building events from Playground Day in 1986 to newsletter-writing instruction at Heifer International in 2000.
Summers anticipates that she will finish processing the BGACDC collection in the fall of 2020. Through this hands-on experience, she hopes to learn more about best archival practices and about how culture changes over time. Thanks to this opportunity as a graduate assistant at CAHC, Summers can continue to pursue the interests sparked by her internship.