My name is Lacey Hines and this summer, I am interning at the Amistad Research Center. I am a student at the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts in Natchitoches, Louisiana, and I will be entering my senior year in the fall. I found Amistad while conducting research on an ongoing personal project; I have been researching black, creole women and free people of color in Louisiana for about the past year now with the intention of writing a senior thesis on the social lives of black, creole women. While researching primary documents for a paper last year, I came across Amistad and decided to check out their website. When I found out that they were the largest independent archive specializing in the history of African Americans, I emailed the staff about possibly interning here over the summer. We felt that interning here would allow me to continue my research while gaining experience in archival work.
Since starting my internship, I have been working in the processing department. For the past two weeks I have been processing the Dixon and Franck Family papers, two collections focusing on the lives and families of Henry (Harry) B. Dixon and Charles Franck. Dixon was an African American businessman from New Orleans who owned his own land and business in the early 20th century. He was also an active member of many benevolent societies around New Orleans. Charles Frank, a German immigrant, settled with his family in Jefferson parish in the late 19th century. While at first glance the collections seemed small, I soon found that the collections were full of information concerning the daily lives of two ethnic groups in New Orleans. What I have found most interesting about the Dixon papers has been the information I have gained about the multitude of black benevolent societies. This topic is somewhat related to my research, so it has been fascinating to learn more about the social clubs and groups that middle-class African Americans participated in at the turn of the 20th century.
The Franck papers are not as extensive as the Dixon papers, but they are still interesting nonetheless. As someone who was raised in Gretna, Louisiana, which has a rich German history, the Franck family has been fascinating. Featured in the Franck files are three documents in German, one of which is a baptismal certificate dating back to 1864 in Jefferson Parish. In elementary school, we used to take historical tours of old Gretna and processing these collections has brought everything back to me. So far, I have really enjoyed working with these two collections and getting a glimpse into the lives of these two men and their families. I can’t wait to see what else I find while conducting my personal research and processing collections this summer.
Posted by Lacey Hines
Images from the Dixon and Franck Family papers. Not to be reproduced without permission.