An Introduction of Adam Sparks

Hello, I’m Adam Sparks.  I was born in November 9th 1988.  I was raised up in a traditional socially and politically conservative family, as the only child.  I moved a lot as a child living in Southwest Texas, Ohio, Oklahoma, and then Texas A&M University – Commerce in Northeast Texas.   I saw racism in Ohio as well as Oklahoma and Texas.  Witnessing minor smirks and glances to verbal judgment, I saw racism through the eyes of a white child.  My mother and father taught me the values of equality, and that judging someone is immoral and sinful, no matter what their background or race was.

Though it wasn’t until I went to high school in Hugo Oklahoma that I was able to see the benefits of a fully integrated institution.  Having gone to mostly white schools my entire life, Hugo offered an experience of living in a 50/50 mixed school.  With the desegregated social inner workings of the school, I was able to socialize with people who did not share my white background.  From their on, I fully knew that there was no difference between a white man and a black man.  I knew that society told us we were different, and that it was society that caused a divide.

Even in 2012, racism and prejudice has taken a meaning in American society.  I have witnessed racism against Hispanics, Blacks, and Whites.  Equality based upon race is not just an institutional issue; however, it is a societal issue.  The categorizing of someone based on their skin, no matter what their skin color, is racism and divides into a heterogeneous American identity.  Yet it’s roots come from an even darker moment in our Nation’s history.  It is through this project that I hope we can explore a localized moment in American history, and portray how the foolishness of one sector of the population ruthlessly hindered another.

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Dixie On Our Mind

Hey, This is Adam Sparks.  The linked video is working portion of our much larger video “Still Searching.”  Here we decided to ad the bed music “Dixie.”  The song sets a tone of a time in which the south was deemed sweet and innocent.  It contrasts with the evils of slavery.  This song puts the audience in the time, and the joyous celebration.  While at the end the twist comes to haunt those very celebrators.  Click on the link below to see the video. 

Introduction to Sunchai

Hi ! My name is Sunchai Hamcumpai. (Let’s think about the Sunshine who likes to eat ham that comes with pie.) I am a doctoral student at the Department of Literature and Language, Texas A&M University-Commerce since 2009. I have been working with CLiC to preserve local African American history through oral history interviews, which has led to my dissertation project where I am working to explore the potential for teaching  English to the foreign students through the use of oral history interviews.

Research interest

  • digital literacy
  • teaching ESL
  • digital collection
  • local history
  • video production

Sunchai Hamcumpai

Acquisition of the Ivory Moore Papers

Shannon Carter (left) and Andrea Weddle (right), speaking with Ivory Moore, on first day of formally acquiring his papers (at last!). Photo: Kelly Dent

Traditionally, the collections in the archives were donated by families who were prominent within a community and had the means as well as the education to place them there. These personal collections have been gifted by wealthy patrons who wanted to preserve their legacy by donating it to a library or, it was collected by archivists who had a specific purpose or project in mind. For example, Dr. Jim Conrad of Texas A&M University-Commerce, spent decades collecting the oral histories of local citizens. He was interested in preserving the small intimate stories of men and women who survived the Great Depression as well as the rich and exciting stories of soldiers who fought in Korea, WWII and Vietnam. Other collections are based on famous people like Ruby Allmond or Jenna Yeager. However, what has been missing are the artifacts from those who are less educated or lack the prominence and wealth of those whose histories have traditionally landed in the archives.

It is for this reason that we chose to collect the papers of Ivory Moore, the activist from Commerce Texas who helped bring equality and progress to the Black community in this rural East Texas town. Mr. Moore was a community leader who was once the Mayor of Commerce and who was a leader of the Norris Community Club. Archivists from the TAMU library and Kelly Dent, a graduate student who is working with Dr. Shannon Carter on the Remixing Rural Texas project spent several days collecting Mr. Moore’s papers.

The process of collecting the acquisition was complicated by a number of factors but we are excited to have it. I spent two days last week processing his collection and was very excited to find some key documents including at least two federal grants that Mr. Moore won for the development of the poorest areas of Commerce where the black population resided. As recent as the 1970’s, parts of this community lacked proper sewer and plumbing utilities and there were homes that still used out houses.

Additional material included in the collection are photographs of Mr. Moore and his family as well as many photos of the Norris Community Club. Over the next few weeks we will continue to process this acquisition and begin scanning major artifacts for the digital collection.

Hi

I’m Kelly, and I’m the organizer of the group. My job title is Graduate Assistant-Research, and I do focus on research, but I take on so much more. 

I’m currently pursuing an MA in Political Science, with an emphasis on electoral participation, race & politics, gender & politics, and religion & politics, with the intent to obtain a Ph.D. in Political Science. Hopefully, I’ve got one year until my thesis is complete and until I head off to my doctoral program, but I’m enjoying learning about DH in the meantime. One thing I’ve noticed is that once a student gets into the third year of undergraduate studies, he or she becomes so specialized that other fields and disciplines fall by the wayside. My work with the project is pulling me back into other disciplines because DH is so interdisciplinary in its scope. 

As the child of a former military man, I was raised with a lot of structure, and — don’t tell my father, but — I have found that I thrive on it. As a result, I require (and impose) structure in every aspect of my life — including this project. To help with the project, I have developed a storyboard template that allows users to see every aspect of what Popcorn will look like before its loaded. I’ve also assumed responsibility for consolidating the input from other team members into a unified storyboard to assist the techies in their Popcorn wizardry. 

In terms of research, much of my personal research is on African American political participation and black cultural streams. Since the project focuses largely on the output — oral, written, visual — from a local black community, my research dovetails neatly with my job. I get to do lots of really fun things, like Census research, and voter turnout research — stuff I’m sure is pretty boring to most folks but really fascinates me.

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I also get the opportunity to talk with lesser known activists in the local Civil Rights Movement. It’s important to remember that Martin Luther King and Malcolm X never came to Texas — and even if they had, this particular sleepy college town would not have been their destination. So the question is how did the Movement play out here? There were no marches, or riots, in Commerce. But just as blacks across the South were demanding a recognition of, and a respect for, their rights, so were blacks in Commerce determined to end the racial caste system that had plagued America since the first blacks arrived in 1619. Our research and project works to uncover, discover, and recover the protest and progress of black Commerce residents, because just as the Great Generation of World War II veterans are dying daily, so, too, are the members of the Norris Community Club. Just as America had to honor its veterans before it was too late, so, too, does Remixing Rural Texas have to record our activists before their passing. Hopefully my work helps us in our efforts.

Introduction

Remixing Rural Texas is an innovative and exciting project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and led by Shannon Carter, PhD from Texas A&M University – Commerce. With a team that includes graduate students from Political Science, English and RTV, we are a diverse group who come at this project with a vast amount of experience and multiple perspectives.

I completed my MA in English and a certificate in Film Studies on May 12, 2012 and began working towards my PhD in June. I have a BFA in Art History from the University of North Texas and much of my graduate work has been focused on Film Aesthetics with a deep concentration on the work of film director Terrence Malick.

I was invited to work on this project after completing a graduate course in New Media with Dr. Carter in the Spring of 2011. My final project for that course was a re-mix video that included art, film and archival materials.  As an art historian, I also worked on a large project in the archives of TAMU where I catalogued the Oral History Collection. Because of my background in art, experience in the archives, and work with Dr. Carter in New Media, my role in this project is focused on the aesthetics of the project as well as deep research in the archives.

Using the archives, both local and national, I search for visual material relevant to each narrative. Further, I am archiving the Ivory Moore Collection that was donated to TAMU in the Spring of 2012. My experience with New Media and Re-mix Culture has given me a deeper understanding of the work that we are creating.

Further, working on this project has given me a deep understanding of Critical Race Theory and its goals. I continue to be inspired by the work of Dr. Carter and other scholars who stand for the transformation of race, racism and the power of media.

Jennifer Jones