Sunday, 5 August 2012

Week 9: Don't count me out just yet

This week at the HistoryMakers, we worked on a Night with John Rogers and visited the National Archives on 75th and Pulaski. Our history lecture with Dr. Reed revolved around Conservative America and the black resistance from 1965 to 1980. The archives lecture with Dr. Salvatore focused on professional development and networking.

On Saturday, Skyla and I joined Julieanna at the office for a review of all of the special collections that we had processed. Skyla and I were very excited to start in on the files for “A Night with John Rogers”. John Rogers is the founder and CEO of Ariel Capital Investments. His mother was a lawyer who was very active politics and his father was a Tuskegee Airman. He was raised in Chicago’s Hyde Park, where he attended the University of Chicago’s Lab School for high school. Rogers attended Princeton University where he played basketball and became friends with Craig and Michelle Robinson. After graduating from college, Rogers worked as a stock broker for a firm in Chicago until he broke off and started his own company when he was just 24 years old.  Rogers’ slow and steady approach to investing led to the enormous success of Ariel Investment Company, at the time of the interview, their assets exceeded 800 million dollars. Aside from his success as a businessman, Rogers is also a philanthropist with an emphasis on education. Rogers founded a charter school in Chicago. He was interviewed by his friends, Fred Thompson, the COO of McDonalds and Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education. Overall the program shed light on an important figure in modern Chicago history and a consistent supporter of the HistoryMakers. On account of Rogers' status as a hometown hero and his connection to many other wealthy companies, the program garnered a lot of money for the HistoryMakers and a lot of documents for the fellows. At nine boxes, our last collection was also our largest.

Although it may be hard to believe, a Saturday at the office does not have to be a complete drag. Skyla and I arrived around 9:00 and did not leave until 6:30. In the beginning it did not look too good for the special collections rock stars. Julieanna’s pass through the first box resulted in comments of “not in alpha/date order”, and “take the staples out”. We set our Eartha Kitt boxes on the table, and went about making the corrections. Julieanna hovered around helping Zhu and Brad with their projects, and made herself available for our questions. Skyla and I listened to music and asked each other questions in the style of Leon Dash. I believe that our positive attitudes permeated the office, because Julieanna bought us lunch from Jason’s Deli and took time to pick our brains about the tours, guest lecturers, work load, and professional development that have transpired throughout the summer. I believe that our chatter slowed us down because we only finished one collection, six boxes, in the day. We still have to create the folder lists and make the EAD finding aids, but we can move forward confidently with the approval of Julieanna. We have a goal of making the adjustments to the Valerie Simpson and Dionne Warwick collections, as well as the digital creations before we leave for SAA on Wednesday. I don’t think that our day of weekend work could have come at a better time. I feel like I have a better idea of where Julieanna is coming from and what she wants most from us as a result of this fellowship. I am looking forward traveling to San Diego with my friendly, cheerful and dedicated processing partner, Skyla Hearn and our high powered advocate, Julieanna Richardson.               

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