My initial plan for life was to become a Clinical Psychologist. I loved to help people work through their problems. The only thing was, I was not a fan of the multiple schools of thought that Psychology brought on, and likewise, they weren’t fans of my work either. But I had a nifty minor in History that I loved and so I managed to graduate with a B.A. in Psychology (I’m no quitter!) and held that minor in History from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2004.
I had an awesome history teacher who told me I should really think about getting a Masters in History. I chewed it over, thought about what I wanted to do with something like that, and then thought about what I would research. I loved US Southern history, especially the plights of the plantation mistress, the slave and the yeomen farmer. But I knew there would have to be a focus. So I applied for, and was admitted to the Graduate School at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte and began my Public History work.
While working on a project for a digital history class, I realized that there weren’t a lot of sources out there for someone to learn about slave life. Most information would be found in books or at living history sites that actually interpreted slavery. Unless you were knowledgeable about sites like that in your area, you tended to look directly at Colonial Williamsburg. So I thought about what it would be like to study how slavery is being interpreted around the country and how what visitors are gleaning from these historic sites. Thus my thesis “Presenting Slave Life at Living History Sites and Historic Latta Plantation” (completed, defended and graduated 2008) was born.
But, I couldn’t stop there. I had to get into the field and really see what it’s like to interpret slavery and get that public reaction. My career path became clear. I wanted to build programming around an historic sites slave past and help elevate the interpretation of slave life. I had the opportunity to work at Historic Brattonsville in McConnells, South Carolina and so I spend some time blogging about my experiences.
These days I am consulting with historic sites on best practices on how to tell the story of enslaved men, women and children through programming, exhibit and educational materials. I am also an educator who develops school programs, public programs and special events for three awesome historic houses!
Please check the ‘Profile‘ page to see what I have done and been involved with.