When I look at this photo I can’t help but get misty eyed.
I attended a Montessori elementary school, so I had the same teacher for three years. This lady was one of them. When I was being bullied she protected me. She welcomed me into her home as a little girl along with some of my closest friends in order to soak up more knowledge after school.
It’s been years since I ran into Mrs. Elwell. I was a vendor at a natural hair event. It was my first time showcasing my new book to the public. Mrs. Elwell walked into the room, and this moment happened. She had no idea that I had written, and published a children’s book. She was overcome with joy that she began to cry. Tears of joy. We laughed, reminisced, and celebrated life in this moment.
I’m #SteeleThankful for the same joy that I experienced as the little girl learning in her safe space, and the joy of sharing this special moment with one of my favorite teachers.
What are you #SteeleThankful for?
Day 6 – “Experience” #SteeleThankful (30 days of Thanks)
Once upon a time I worked at a slave plantation. Sure did.
I was a docent (tour guide) while in grad school. From an early age I was constantly looking for a good story. A plot twist, the unpredictable outcome, a strong protagonist, the whole nine yards.
I went to visit Historic Stagville with a group of classmates in the fall of 2010. I began thinking I’m going to need some experience so I checked on internships. I interviewed and was offered a position as a Graduate Research Intern/Docent. The docent position is what scared me. The introvert side of me thought, “I have to exercise public speaking, answer questions, and make sure the information I’m telling them is correct.” PRESSURE!
The interns were assigned a research project, and what project did I choose? Researching burial rituals on the slave plantation by reading through the Bennehen/Cameron family papers (the original owners of the plantation). EASY…or so I thought. Try reading 19th century handwriting.
The experience taught me to #DoItAfraid **In my Christine from momsncharge.com voice.” When it was my time to take a tour out, all of my fear was out of the door because I had to provide an experience for them. The tour began with the home, hopped in our cars and drove down the road to the slave quarters and Great Barn (erected in the 1850/1860 and still standing).
The research experience was invaluable, and led to another amazing project in the fall of 2011. I’m #SteeleThankful for this experience. I was able to interpret the stories of the families that were enslaved on this plantation. The only black girl that semester giving tours at a slave plantation. Imagine that? What are you #SteeleThankful for?
Today, kicks off National Archives Month. October is full of awareness and I’m happy to be apart of it all.
On Twitter you still have time to participate in #AskanArchivist where some of my fellow Archivist are answering questions live about their institution’s collections and exciting events for the month. Don’t miss it. Since it’s throwback Thursday I’m reminiscing about my time as an archives intern in Virginia!
The three interns stuffed in the backseat exploring the beautiful world of archives.
On my last scope I briefly talked about “mourning stationary.” The black border around this letter written in 1899 symbolizes a phase of grief. If the border was thicker it meant that the loss of a loved one just happened. The border helps the receiver of the letter know the emotional state the writer. Wonder why we don’t do that today…
Original Document can be found at the American War Museum archives. Formerly the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, VA.