Week 5

Today is day 23 of summer 2013 and we have made a lot of progress. As a whole the Crossroads team is really powering through the strike tapes. We are all committed to making the interviews available on the crossroads to freedom website. The Clean-up Krewe is particularly committed to this endeavor because this is our main obligation.

In addition to the responsibility of uploading strike interviews, we are also working on creating a key and a web of characters to make it easier for people to navigate the strike collection. Sam Bridger is the overseer of this project, while Steven Becton and I remain on the lookout for interesting interviewees to add to the character web. Steven, Sam, and I have worked well as a team so far this summer. We have delegated responsibilities to everyone’s satisfaction and the progress of our project has been impressive quite honestly.

Currently the Crossroads team is eagerly awaiting the beginning of a long 4th of July weekend, but I know we are all confident in the progress that our teams will be making next week when we return prepared to dive headfirst back into our projects for the summer!

-The Clean-up Krewe

Published in: on July 3, 2013 at 3:55 pm  Comments Off on Week 5  

An Exciting Week for Hayes Ledgers

As we come to the end of another week, I have just come to the end of another year in the Ledgers. I just finished the year 1915 in my transcription process. I feel now would be an appropriate time for a recap of the 1915 ledgers. I encountered a number of particularly interesting, noteworthy ledgers. There was a string of several children in a row that was really hard to take. One record that stuck with me was that of a 7 year old boy who was accidentally shot in the head by his brother’s shotgun. It is interesting to see how tragedies we see even today were happening all the way back in 1915. On a happier (relatively speaking) note, I found one particular phrasing of a ‘cause of death’ quite unique. Will Alexander, page number 197, was “killed by blow by ax by wife”. It sounds like the almost (if not entirely) comedic, Flannery O’Conner twist. If these two examples are any indicator to you, 1915 was quite a year.

Now only on the second day of January 1916, I have come to an obstacle that is now very familiar to me. We’ve all encountered something similar at the end of Winter Break when we can never seem to remember that it is a new year, leaving our notes and assignments with the previous year in the date. The only difference is, now instead of just at the beginning of class or at the start of an assignment, I want to write 1915 in every date box on every individual form. The truly amusing part is that whether it’s just after Winter Break or in the middle of the semester, I have now started writing the year of the Ledgers in my assignments. I must admit I turned in an English paper with the date 1917 on it. I guess I have many more adventures and mis-written dates to look forward to!

Until next time,

Published in: on June 14, 2013 at 2:16 pm  Comments Off on An Exciting Week for Hayes Ledgers  

First Week for Team VIII

Today is day 5 for the 2013 Crossroads to Freedom team. The last couple of days we have been focusing on our individual team names. The first team is working on processing the Sanitation Strike tapes. Their team name is Clean Up Krewe. The second team is working with a few students from Highland Heights. Their team name is Creative Heights. The last team is working with students from South Memphis. Their team name is The Archivists. The Archivists and Creative Heights teams will be creating lesson plans and activities that will be useful in helping the students learn more about thier communities.

Wednesday, day 3, we learned about Assest Based Community Development. We discussed the ways in which individuals within a community can identify the assests and strengths within the community. It is important to communicate with the residents living in the community because they are experts of thier lives and their community and, as such, they can provide great perspectives aboout these strenghts. After our introduction to Assest Based Community Devolopment we had lunch at Caritas and discussed more about the Binghampton community. After lunch we divided into three groups and drove or walked to our assigned section of Binghampton. We spent two hours exploring the neighborhood on foot and in car, looking for assests and strengths. One of the groups was even able to meet and talk to a few of the residents!

Thursday we learned more about processing the Sanitation Strike Tapes. We went over the process of putting the text in the transcript into TEI. Later in the day we got into our separate teams and discussed our individual projects. The overall goal for all of the teams this summer is to work on the present and empower portion of our mission statement.

We are still figuring out exactly what we will be doing for the rest of the summer. Overall we are all looking forward to a productive and exciting summer!!

Published in: on June 13, 2013 at 3:40 pm  Comments Off on First Week for Team VIII  

My Hayes Project Experience

When you sit down to a reception desk to start a normal day of work, the first thing to come to mind most certainly is not funeral home records from 1912. But that is where I found myself almost a year ago.I was sitting in front of a monitor attempting to read and transcribe cursive writing from a hundred years prior. All I could think about was how much I wished I had continued training in cursive past the 3rd grade. The first month consisted of a lot of strained eyes and persistent use of the zoom feature on the photo viewer. But the initial obstacles of cursive print aside, the Hayes project proved to be an invaluable experience.

Through transcribing the records of the historically black Hayes Funeral Home, we are gaining insight into the Black communities of Memphis dating back all the way to 1905. Specifically, we are learning factors such as where African-Americans lived, how long they lived, and what they died of. We have also come to know the insurance companies they used, the hospitals they frequented, and the jobs they held. The information all together enables us to have a detailed account of the African-American communities of Memphis in the early 1900’s.

Not only does it give us an entire basis of useful and practical factual information, but it also provides an interesting history. I have come to know that historic areas of downtown including Beale street housed black doctors’ offices. Even more interesting is coming across people who died at ages as high as the 120’s. Whether it be a particularly old person, an intriguing place of death, or a cause of death of “dropped dead”, the Hayes Ledgers have yet to disappoint. I am thrilled to continue my work with the Hayes Ledgers and make more exciting and informative discoveries in that beautifully tangled forest of penmanship.


Published in: on June 5, 2013 at 1:58 pm  Comments Off on My Hayes Project Experience  

Crossroads to Freedom Test Blog

It is Day 2 here at Rhodes of the 2013 Crossroads to Freedom Team, whoop whoop! And yep, we are all thrilled to be here!

We have already learned a bit about Memphis history, how to proofread transcripts, and timecoding. We’ve learned about various concepts like xml mark up, the crossroads mission statement, etc.

Now we have chosen our summer teams, which will consist of working with high school and middle age kids in Highland Heights or South Memphis or working with Sanitation Strike Tapes. We are currently awaiting the judgement of Dr. Bonefas to decide our fates once and for all!

Till next time….


Published in: on June 4, 2013 at 11:14 am  Comments Off on Crossroads to Freedom Test Blog