Last Monday, Professor Ralina Joseph and her Black Cultural Studies class participated in a Day of Service at the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM). Marking the inauguration of President Obama’s second term and the celebration of MLK Day, the museum welcomed their help as they administered surveys, took photos with a cutout of Barack Obama, and assisted at the coat check, gift shop, exhibits and snack table.
Although they are required to write a paper about their experience that day, senior Communication major Rachel Donahue said, “I thought the day of service was a great experience. I loved seeing how many people brought their kids out to learn about black history in Washington.”
Donahue helped greet and invite visitors into the “Book of the Bound” exhibit, where there were interactive opportunities, such as writing a letter that was added to a chain of messages. “I really enjoyed it and loved looking at the beautiful artwork and seeing how people responded,” she said. “It was great seeing how many people contributed to [the chain of letters] and to hear their comments about the work.”
Last year, Professor Joseph received a Certificate in Public Scholarship (CPS) course development grant from the Simpson Center allowing for the partnership and sustained experience with NAAM. Check out COM 489 if you’re interested in learning more about how images of blackness have been reconstructed; a class that Professor Joseph said is “also very much invested in communities.”