Student curators in Melissa Barton’s African American Literature in the Archive (ENG 221/AFAM 212) class organized miny “Pop-Up” exhibitions from the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection as a class assignment in November. An exhibion open house, where Beinecke staff and other visitors could view the exhibions and disucss them with the student curators, was hosted in a Beinecke Library classroom.
According to instructor Melissa Barton, “This seminar places African American literary texts within their archival context, examining how texts were planned, composed, revised, and received in their time. Each class meeting pairs a text or texts with archival materials from Beinecke Library, including manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, and ephemera. Students in the course gain an understanding of archival organization and how archival materials can be placed in conversation with published work by examining published and unpublished texts as well as scholarly uses of archival materials.”
The course focused on works by Lorraine Hansberry, Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, Jean Toomer, and Richard Wright.