Wilkes University Preserves Black History Through Transcribe-a-Thon on Feb. 18

by Web Services

Members of the  Wilkes University community will take an active role in preserving black history when they participate in a nationwide transcribe-a-thon on Tuesday, Feb. 18 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event, which honors both Frederick Douglass Day and Black History Month, will take place in Breiseth Hall, room 108.

Attendees will transcribe and digitize the papers of black feminist activist Anna Julia Cooper through an online platform hosted by Douglass Day organizers. Cooper, who was born into slavery, earned a Ph.D in history at the University of Paris-Sorbonne and went on to become one of the most prominent African-American scholars in U.S. history. She is often referred to as “the mother of Black Feminism.”

Although famed abolitionist and black activist Frederick Douglass was born a slave and therefore did not know his true birthdate, he celebrated every year on Feb. 14. Today, Feb. 14 is celebrated as Douglass Day. Wilkes University will be celebrating Douglass through transcription of Cooper’s paperwork on Feb. 18. 

Assistant history professors Dr. Amy Sopak-Joseph and Dr. Jon Kuiken are leading the efforts. All students, faculty, staff and community members are welcome to attend. The Division of Global Cultures and the Office of Diversity Initiatives will be co-sponsoring the event. 

“As a historian of early U.S. history, I decided that we should host a transcribe-a-thon event here to both mark Black History Month and to get students engaged in doing real history,” said Sopak-Joseph. 

Colleges across the country, including nearby Penn-State, Temple, Villanova, and Carnegie-Mellon, will be participating in the transcribe-a-thon. More information about the nationwide event can be found at douglassday.org. 

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