In recognition of their commitment to the preservation movement, three Morgan State University doctoral students were selected as Diversity Fellows by the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). The recipients — Iris Leigh Barnes, Charles Chavis Jr. and Teisha Dupree Wilson — are all students in the University’s Department of History and Geography, in the College of Liberal Arts, and are members of the History, African-American and Museum Studies Graduate Council (HAFRAM GC).
The three were among only 36 graduate students and preservation professionals from across the United States who were selected as Fellows. They were chosen based on a number of criteria, including: a desire to increase diversity in the preservation field, their current involvement in preservation organizations and/or academic programs and their commitment to remain actively engaged with National Trust programs and the preservation movement.
Chavis is a Doctoral Research Fellow at the Robert M. Bell Center for Civil Rights in Education and a 2015 Lord Baltimore Fellow at the Maryland Historical Society. Wilson is a recipient of the Alberta Green Scholastic Achievement Award and is a curatorial intern at the Smithsonian’s NMAAHC, where she assists with historical research and planning for the museum’s fall 2016 opening. Barnes was recently appointed as curator of the Morgan-owned Lillie Carroll Jackson Museum. She also was honored with the 2015 Maryland Preservation Award for Excellence in Public Programming and Exhibitions from the Maryland Historical Trust.
As a Diversity Fellow, each student was afforded the opportunity to participate in the Diversity Scholarship Program — an initiative that supports both community leaders new to preservation and emerging preservation professionals — and attend the 2015 PastForward, National Preservation Conference in Washington, D.C., this past November. Participants received financial assistance for their registration and lodging. To date, more than 2,100 individuals have taken part in the program and have helped enrich the overall preservation movement by contributing a wide range of perspectives at the conference and in the field.
The nomination of Barnes, Chavis and Wilson for the fellowship was backed by faculty in their department, including Annette Palmer, Ph.D., department chair; Jeremiah Dibua, Ph.D., coordinator of graduate programs in History and African-American Studies; and David Taft Terry, Ph.D., coordinator of the Museum Studies and Historical Preservation Program. Morgan is one of only two HBCUs in the nation to grant doctoral degrees in the discipline of history.
Other students interested in the field of preservation are encouraged to apply for the NTHP diversity fellowship to represent Morgan in 2016. For more information, visit http://pastforwardconference.org/scholarships.