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Improvising During a Pandemic: Bring the Archives and the life of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune to Life
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Improvising During a Pandemic: Bring the Archives and the life of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune to Life
2021 Regional Conference
July 29, 2021

Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 and the ensuing pandemic, individuals and institutions were forced to make sense of their new realities. The Mary McLeod Bethune Home, on the campus of Bethune-Cookman University, serves as a museum that is dedicated to preserving the life of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune. The museum had to close its doors to the public and commit to virtual programming to engage the community. With the help of staff from Bethune Cookman University’s Carl S. Swisher Library, the library and Home launched the #100DaysofBethune campaign that ran from August 17, 2020, through February 25, 2021. Staff organized a campaign using documents from the Archives, housed in the library, to highlight the legacy of Dr. Bethune, her continued relevance and historical significance to the nation and beyond. Staff also created The Lady’s Letters and Famous Figures, two digital promotions that focus on correspondence between Mary McLeod Bethune and other historically relevant figures to showcase her wide network of influential acquaintances across the world and involvement in state, national and word affairs.

Presenters: Clarissa West-White, Brandon Nightingale, Tasha Youmans and Ebony Sampson

Dr. Clarissa West-White is a Reference Librarian & Instructor at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida. She has degrees in Creative Writing, Curriculum & Instruction English Education and Information from Florida State University. Dr. West-White has experience as a middle and high school English teacher, program coordinator, adult literacy director, university English department chair, and assistant professor and adjunct at a number of public and private universities in the state of Florida and online. Her areas of research are as vast as her experiences, but focus primarily on the intersections of African Americans’ educational attainment and use of information and technology.

Brandon Nightingale was born and raised in Jacksonville Florida. He earned his B.A. in History with a minor in Writing & Rhetoric from the University of Central Florida (UCF) in 2016. Brandon went on to earn his M.A. in History in 2019 from UCF where his thesis focused on the CME Church in the Civil Rights Movement. Brandon recently graduated from Florida State University with his M.S. degree in Information. Mr. Nightingale is currently the Archival Coordinator and adjunct professor of African American History at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida. Brandon recently signed on as a public history contractor with the National Parks Service as a part of the project “Connecting African American History to Cumberland Island.”

Ebony Sampson-Hilbert is the Coordinator of the Mary McLeod Bethune Home, located on the campus of Bethune-Cookman University. She earned his B.A. in Criminal Justice from American Military University, and she recently received her M.A. in Business with a minor in Organizational Leadership from Johnson Wales University. Mrs. Sampson-Hilbert has a little over 12 years of experience working in the Miami Dade County Public School system, and 6 years of experience working for Bethune-Cookman University.




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