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ENG 483 Creative Inquiry Team - Fall 2008

Philip Benvenuto

Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland

Major: Economics
Minor: English Literature
Individual Research Area: Hunter's business and philanthropic networks

Recollections on the JEH Project: "I really enjoyed conducting research on Hunter as a member of Dr. Thomas’ Creative Inquiry Team.  It taught me how to conduct archival research, which has allowed me to step right into my graduate studies without missing a beat.  I feel honored to be a part of a project shining light on such an influential woman who hasn’t received the attention she truly deserves."

Chelcee Coffman

Major: English
Individual Research Area: The black church and the PWA

Reflections on the JEH Project: "I wanted to research the specific churches that had an impact both on Hunter’s life and on the formation of the Phillis Wheatley Association. Specifically, I focused on the Silver Spring Baptist Church in Pendleton and St. John’s A.M.E. Church in Cleveland."

Hattie Duplechain

Hometown: Dover, Delaware
Double Major: English and Communication Studies
Individual Research Area Tthe impact of Christianity on Hunter and the PWA

Reflections on the JEH Project: "In researching religion and its influence during the early 1900s, I focused on how religious practices, which varied according to region and race, could have influenced Hunter. I hoped this would shed light on her beliefs and how they influenced the founding of the PWA."

Tristan Endsley

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
Major: English
Minor: French
Individual Research Area: Hunter's connections to African American cultural producers

Reflections on the JEH Project: "I really enjoyed the archival research we were able to do; finding correspondences between Jane Edna Hunter and many famous African American writers such as Langston Hughes, W.E.B Du Bois, and Charles Chesnutt--to name a few--was exciting.  Seeing those kinds of primary documents and peeling back the history was an amazing part of working on this project."

Virginia Kerr

Individual Research Area: White Christians, African American churches, and the PWA

Reflections on the JEH Project:

Lindsay McCullough

Major: English
Individual Research Area:
Hunter's family tree

Reflections on the JEH Project: "My research dealt with Hunter's family tree, specifically on her father’s side.  I hoped this research would give us a more detailed cultural and historical background and offer us to clues to people who might have known Hunter who are still alive today."

Julie Levans

Major: English - Writing & Publication Studies
Individual Research Area: (fall 2008) educational and employment opportunities for African American women; (spring 2009)

Reflections on the JEH Project:

Margaret "Marge" Nicholson

Hometown: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Major: English
Minor: Philosophy
Individual Research Area: the Great Migration, the Settlement movement, and the PWA

Reflections on the project: "The JEH Project was the first, yet one of the most enriching, small group Creative Inquiries I undertook at Clemson. A first reading of A Nickel and a Prayer seemed telling enough, but after hours of class discussion, extensive research, and a trip to Cleveland, my eyes were opened to the nature of literature--the small nuances, the meaningful additions (and omissions), the small and intriguing discoveries of close reading. Pillaging through boxes of fliers, personal correspondence, brochures, letters, and business expense bills was a little exhausting, but it was so enriching to our project, and well worth the effort. There's so much to discover about any author, particularly one as unique and intriguing as South Carolina's own Jane Edna Hunter. Dr. Thomas has undertaken a great project, and one that we are all eager to see through to its big debut."

Camille Nelson

Hometown: Honolulu, Hawai'i
Major: English - Writing & Publication Studies
Minor: Writing - Business & Technical Option
Individual Research Area: (fall 2008) race; (spring 2009) textual analysis of Hunter's writing and revising process

Reflections on the JEH Project: "What can I say after a year (and then some) spent delving into the fascinating and sometimes infuriating woman I've come to know as 'Jane Edna'? In the first semester, I attempted to identify and situate Hunter's views on race relations. I was interested in learning how she conformed to the dominant ideologies of early 20th century America as well as how she reconciled her departures from them. That turned out to be an elusive goal. In the second semester, I did a side-by-side comparison of the three editions of A Nickel and a Prayer. Basically, I was looking for differences in spelling, punctuation, and content. I found that having the opportunity to write proposals, do archival research, and gain valuable insight into the book publishing industry made the JEH Project a personally rewarding experience."


Elizabeth "Ellie" Peaks

Major: English

Individual Research Area:  Hunter's personal, philanthropic, and personal networks

Reflections on the JEH Project: "I wanted to construct as complete a network as possible of Hunter’s personal, professional, and philanthropic relationships. I also researched and wrote on how certain relationships transformed from professional or philanthropic to personal friendships."

Michael "Cam" Whiteside

Major: English
Individual Research Area: (fall 2008) Hunter's family tree

Reflections on the JEH Project: "My goal was to map the maternal side of Hunter's family tree, first by (hopefully) identifying  all of her 19 aunts and uncles, whether by birth/death certificates, or through living relatives.  Afterward, I intended to locate pictures which would in turn give us further information about her maternal family members."

(Graduated from Clemson University in 2009.)

Devin Slipke

Hometown: Greenville, South Carolina
Major: English
Minor: History
Individual Research Area: (spring 2009) racial markers in Hunter's family history and in her autobiographical narrative

Reflections on the JEH Project: "Well, I really enjoyed working on the project. I've always been interested in history, so researching Hunter's genealogy was right up my alley. It was quite fascinating (and occasionally frustrating) to use all the tools that are currently available for researching ancestry and family histories. The internet was a tremendous boon to my project--everything was all right there in one place. I also especially enjoyed visiting the church in Pendleton where Hunter at one time attended services and where some of her family members are buried. It was fascinating to see the headstones and experience this very tangible part of her history."

(Graduated from Clemson University in May 2009.)

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