» Student Profile: Marshal McGee

April 23, 2024
Staff News, News & Notes, History News

In the coming weeks, we will be featuring profiles of student employees and interns. This post is written by Marshal McGee, a first-year Master’s student in Public History at the College of Charleston.

Soon after moving to Charleston to begin the Public History graduate program at the College of Charleston, I needed a job. In a city like Charleston, this is often easier said than done. After several weeks of searching, the College’s career center pointed me toward the Avery Research Center for African American Culture and History, suggesting that I apply there, given my pursuit of a degree in history. I could not have been happier or asked for a better work environment for such a chance encounter. From my first day on the job, my coworkers and supervisors have been nothing short of welcoming, encouraging, and supportive as I navigate the challenges of starting a new degree program with a new job in an unfamiliar town.  

My responsibilities at Avery have included various duties, including helping visiting researchers and scholars such as the illustrious and endlessly engaging Dr. Milicent Brown with utilizing the archives. I also assist with to setting up for events hosted at Avery, such as when the White House Secretary of Education came to meet with many of the local Black church and community leaders to discuss making education and educational resources more accessible and inclusive to a greater number of people.  

That said, I am primarily responsible for editing, transcribing, and creating metadata for the Documenting the Arc oral history project. Documenting the Arc interviews chronicle the experiences of local activists, organizers, and community members around the Walter Scott shooting and massacre at Mother Emanuel in 2015 to through the George Floyd uprisings of 2020. This project is especially important to me, and I am fortunate to be a part of making stories about a politically active time in Charleston’s recent history accessible to the public. Typically, historians and archivists work with material well before their time that has already been documented, researched, and written about. It is less common to work with “fresh” material. The Documenting the Arc oral histories add to the long, varied history of Charleston and the African American experience.  

Working with the knowledgeable staff at Avery, such as the executive director Dr. Tamara Bulter, as well as Erica Veal, Aaisha Haykal, Daron Lee Calhoun, II, Georgette Mayo, and others, I have become a better historian, archivist, and student. I have learned firsthand about the richness of African American culture and how it is an inextricable part of the history of Charleston, South Carolina. While my academic focus is centered on the dual topics of Hellenic Egypt and Indigenous American history of the Southwest, I have grown as a historian while and know that I will continue to develop professionally during the rest of my time at this historic institution. 

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