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Lecture Examines Oral History, Rural Motherhood and Civil Rights

 Walker Pamela ID19 History 00668


On December 1, 2018, Pamela Walker will give a lecture entitled "Down in the Delta: Oral Histories from a Hallowed Home." Walker is the first recipient of the John W. Chambers Oral History Graduate Student Fellowship, which will be awarded annually to a graduate student to foster the use of oral history and scholarship. The lecture will begin at 12 pm in Room 6051 of Rutgers Academic Building, West Wing.

This past summer, Walker traveled to the Mississippi Delta and interviewed black women as a part of her examination of rural motherhood, activism, poverty and political consciousness in 1960s era social movements. In the lecture, Walker will share about her experiences of finding women to interview, conducting the interviews, and studying what insights the oral histories reveal about everyday women participating in the civil rights movement.

Pamela Walker is a four-year doctoral candidate at Rutgers University specializing in African American history and women and gender history. She received a B.A. in history from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and M.A. in history from the University of New Orleans. In 2016, she co-authored an article in Scarlet and Black Volume 1: Slavery and Dispossession in Rutgers History entitled “‘and I a Poor Slave Yet’: The Precarity of Black Life in New Brunswick, 1766-1835.” In 2017-2018, Walker was a graduate fellow in the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis Seminar on Black Bodies.

Walker's oral history interviews are a part of her doctoral research into the Mississippi Box Project, a grassroots person-to-person antipoverty program founded in 1962. In her dissertation "'Everyone Must Think We Really Need Freedom': Black and White Mothers, the Mississippi Box Project and the Civil Rights Movement," Walker is examining the ways in which rural black women from the South and rural white women from the Northeast imagined themselves as participants in the struggle for equality.

Through her research, which includes reading letter correspondence between southern and northern women, Walker contends that the Box Project provides a microcosm through which to explore the relationship between gender, race and political engagement in America during the 1960s.

The Chambers Oral History Graduate Student Fellowship Lecture is presented by the SAS Executive Dean's Office, Department of History, Rutgers Oral History Archives and its affiliate alumni organization, the Rutgers Living History Society. Admission is free, and lunch will be served following the lecture. Please RSVP to





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