The University of Kansas Libraries are pleased to announce the recipients of the second annual Alyce Hunley Whayne Visiting Researchers Travel Award. Dr. Zeb Baker, Jeffery Williams and Paul Fowler III were selected for their research efforts surrounding the African American experience in the Kansas region.
“It’s so exciting to be able to support scholars from across the country who are pursuing such important work,” said Beth Whittaker, assistant dean of distinctive collections and director of the Kenneth Spencer Research Library. “Each year, our pool of applicants expands, and our three 2017 recipients highlight the range and breadth of research emerging from the African American experience collection.”
Zeb Baker, senior associate director of the university’s honor program at Miami University in Ohio, will explore research for his book manuscript, “Playing the Game of Segregation: Race and college football in the postwar Midwest.” The book examines the Black athlete experience at Midwestern universities and investigates the growth in Black participation in KU athletics in the mid-20th century.
Jeffery Williams, a doctoral student in history at the University of South Carolina, plans to use Spencer materials to write a history of Topeka in the years before and after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. Williams will examine the papers of attorney Charles Scott and the Douglas County criminal and civil court records to document the legal struggles surrounding these events.
Paul Fowler III, a doctoral student in Afro-American studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, will examine archival materials centering on the Congress of Racial Equality in the city of Lawrence extending from the 1940s through the 1960s. His dissertation project will explore various Civil Rights organizations in the Midwest during this period.
The Alyce Hunley Whayne Visiting Researchers Travel Award extends travel funds to any faculty member, undergraduate, graduate student or independent researcher who is undertaking a research project on the African American experience in Kansas using materials in the Kenneth Spencer Research Library. The library holds significant collections on the African American experience, including personal and family papers and organizational records, providing a valuable repository for primary sources. The travel assistance will aid Baker, Williams and Fowler in utilizing Spencer’s collections for their ongoing research.
Each recipient will spend one week in Spencer, concluding with a public presentation that details their work.
The award was made possible by a generous gift from Sandra Gautt in honor of her late mother, Alyce Hunley Whayne. Gautt has also donated family papers to the Kansas Collection in the Spencer Research Library.
“We are continuously grateful for Sandra’s generosity, allowing us an expanded collection for scholars to access,” said Kevin L. Smith, dean of KU Libraries. “KU Libraries are delighted to host these three researchers, and we look forward to their on-campus presentations and to the finished research.”
The University of Kansas Libraries make up the largest library system in Kansas. KU Libraries have more than 4.2 million print volumes in seven campus facilities, including a state-of-the-art offsite storage facility. The Libraries have extensive international holdings, including notable collections in Slavic, Latin America and East Asian studies. The Kenneth Spencer Research Library is recognized worldwide for its rare book, manuscript, and archival holdings in history, literature and natural history.