Summer Centered: Jasmine Reed '22 Illuminates an Overlooked History
The anthropology major is giving a voice to unheard histories as an intern for the BlackQuakerProject.
This summer, Jasmine Reed ’22 is discovering how history is made. Supported by the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship’s Self-Designed Internship grant, the anthropology major is delving into the archives as a research assistant for the BlackQuakerProject.
Reed’s research is organized around the research and career of Harold D. Weaver '56, the project’s head and a prolific figure in Africana studies. In particular, Reed is focused on recounting Weaver’s relationship to the Quaker movement and highlighting a history of the intersection of black and Quaker identities. To accomplish this, she’s collected to several archives from the Massachusetts and Philadelphia areas, while the bulk of her work is centered at Pendle Hill’s extensive Quaker collection, 10 miles from campus.
“Currently, we’re looking at the next project as starting a Quakers of Color World Archive,” said Reed. “[Weaver] and a few other Quaker archivists from both UMass Amherst and Haverford are creating a film interview project to share the stories of Friends of Color from the U.S.A., Africa, and the Middle East.”
In her consultation of Pendle Hill’s Quaker archives, Reed has spotlighted a traditionally omitted section of Quaker history: the lives of Quakers of Color around the globe who comprise a majority of the religion’s membership.
“Though nearly half of the entire population of Quakers resides in Kenya, the mainstream understanding of Quakerism is fairly whitewashed,” Reed stated. “I think it's really important that we change this narrative of limited representation and make sure more Black and Brown voices are heard across all platforms.”
The rising sophomore’s restoration of these forgotten stories furthers a dedication to exposing a more accurate history that was initiated by her academics. Prior to her research assistantship, she already planned to concentrate in Africana studies, and now she’s only more eager to continue down the same path.
“I’ve found myself deeply interested in the diasporic influences on modern-day culture and how the world has responded to colonization over the centuries,” she said. “In attempting to understand this a bit better, I feel as though this internship really stood out to me.”
Reed’s role in the BlackQuakerProject positions her close to the forefront of the movement of renovating history to encompass traditionally omitted narratives. Through her interactions with notable individuals in academia and the wealth of information in the archives, her experience promises to be packed with learning.
“Though my job is really demanding and stressful at times, it has been really fulfilling knowing that I am working on such an important project with so many incredible figures,” she said. “I feel really grateful.”
“Summer Centered” is a series exploring our students’ Center-funded summer work.