"My thesis was inspired by a 4-year collection of interviews from the Mississippi Delta conducted by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program where I work. It is important to conduct interviews face-to-face, and I applied to the Scholars program to receive the support I needed to make the return trip to Mississippi. My primary goal in writing my thesis is to show others how legislation throughout our recent history still impacts economic circumstances for people today."
I am a history major, and I have been involved with the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program since Summer of 2009. My research interests include rural poverty, labor issues, race, and the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
Academic and Other Awards
- University Scholars Program Scholarship (2011-2012)
- Florida Bright Futures (2008-2012)
- J.M. Rubin Foundation (2008-2012)
- Daniel Koleos Undergraduate Research Award (2011)
- Red Cross Gators
- Phi Alpha Theta
- Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
I am a board member for a foundation that promotes fire safety education to students studying abroad. The foundation was started when my best friend lost her life in an apartment fire in Paris while studying abroad. Often students make their new homes abroad in buildings that are not equipped to save lives in the event of a fire. We distribute fire safety kits to students including a fire ladder, extinguisher, and smoke detector, and we promote a general fire safety curriculum. FireSafetyFoundation.org.
Hobbies and Interests
- Baking, cooking, running, biking, painting, and sewing.
The Mule Train: Lessons Learned in the Twilight of the Civil Rights Movement
My research compares how different civil rights groups addressed rural poverty in Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement, and the consequences of these responses to community development. My paper will survey legislation since the New Deal and how it impacted poverty in the United States, culminating in the Poor People's Campaign (PPC) of 1968. Originally proposed by Marian Wright Edelman and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., no single anti-poverty effort before or since has reached the level of ambition found in the PPC. Through oral history interviews, I will highlight the individuals that found a voice in the PPC, who stand as proof of this comprehensive anti-poverty effort that fell apart in the midst of political chaos in 1968. I will also address the outside pressures that caused the PPC to collapse, as well as what other civil rights groups did to insulate themselves from such pressures. This final phase of Martin Luther King's legacy crossed racial and geographic boundaries, and equipped people with the resources to become the leaders and advocates of their own communities for years to come. Indeed, the continuing social activism of individuals recently interviewed by the UF Oral History Program demonstrates that an intricate web of community organizers trained in the 1960s still exists in the Mississippi Delta and other parts of the country. It is important to revisit and understand the Poor Peoples’ Campaign to recognize the efforts of its countless foot soldiers, to separate its shortcomings from its triumphs, and to use these lessons to reexamine the issue of contemporary rural poverty and work toward a permanent solution.