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Spencer Research Library welcomed 2018 Alyce Hunley Whayne Visiting Researchers Travel Award winners

Monday, August 20, 2018

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Libraries recently hosted the recipients of the third annual Alyce Hunley Whayne Visiting Researchers Travel Award. Brandy Thomas Wells, Crystal Sanders and Brent Campney were selected for their research efforts surrounding the African-American experience in the Kansas region.

“It’s always an honor to support scholars from across the country who are pursuing such important work,” said Beth Whittaker, associate dean of distinctive collections and director of Kenneth Spencer Research Library. “Our three recipients this year truly highlighted the range and breadth of research emerging from the African-American experience collection.”

Brandy Thomas Wells, assistant professor of history at Augusta University, is a historian with specialization in United States, African-American, modern African diaspora and women’s histories. Wells used the collections at Spencer Research Library to conduct research for her new manuscript, which analyzes African-American women’s internationalism from the 1890s through the 1960s. 

Crystal Sanders, associate professor of history and African-American studies at Pennsylvania State University, is the author of “A Chance for Change: Head Start and Mississippi’s Black Freedom Struggle.” Sanders explored sources in support of her upcoming book on the out-of-state tuition grant programs that 17 states instituted between 1921 and 1948 to prevent African-American students from attending public universities. 

Brent Campney, associate professor of history at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, is the author of “This Is Not Dixie: Racist Violence in Kansas, 1861-1927.” Campney collected data for a study on the black freedom struggle in Kansas from World War II until the 1970s, and he conducted research for his second monograph, “The Peculiar Climate of This Region: Racism, Repression, and Resistance in the Midwest.”

The Alyce Hunley Whayne Visiting Researchers Travel Award extends travel funds to any external 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 provided aid to Wells, Sanders and Campney in utilizing the library’s collections for their ongoing research.

Each recipient was able to spend one week in Spencer, which concluded with public presentations that detailed 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 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 researchers and hear about their fascinating research.”

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