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.
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.