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About the Project

Editing the Eartha M.M. White Collection is a collaboration between the Africana Studies Program, the Digital Humanities Institute (DHI), and the Thomas G. Carpenter Library at the University of North Florida (UNF). The project publishes personal correspondence and other documents, held in UNF's Special Collections, related to the life and work of Eartha M.M. White (1876–1974), founder of the Clara White Mission and a leader of Jacksonville’s African American community. Editing the Eartha M.M. White Collection is a pedagogically focused endeavor that engages UNF students, faculty, and staff as archival researchers and digital editors. 

The project began in Summer 2016 within the experimental course DIG3990 Introduction to Electronic Textual Editing, co-taught by Dr. Clayton McCarl of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and Dr. Aisha Johnson-Jones, at that time the head of Special Collections and University Archives. That initial phase of the project is documented in the article “Editing the Eartha M.M. White Collection: An Experiment in Engaging Students in Archival Research and Editorial Practice,” published in The Journal of Academic Librarianship

workshop series in the spring of 2018, led by student intern Susan Williams, continued the work started in the summer of 2016.

In Spring 2020, student project leader Lyn Hemmingway initiated a weekly open workshop series and expanded the contributor base through use of social media, by speaking with classes, and through the support of organizations including the UNF Black Students Union and the UNF African American Faculty Staff Association. Hemmingway also created the project's Omeka website to better organize and display the editions and their metadata and wrote and published the website's first exhibit, "Eartha White and the Creation of Black Historical Memory in Florida."

In Summer 2020, K. Anagnostou created the project's second exhibit, "The Role of the Church in Public and Private Life," as part of the course DIG3152 Introduction to Electronic Textual Editing.

Hemmingway continued as student leader of the project in Spring 2021, leading a series of virtual workshops and creating the website's third exhibit, “'Not For Ourselves, But For Others': African American Women Organizing and Leading in Jacksonville, Florida, and the United States." 

In 2023, Hemmingway and McCarl published in The Public Historian an article about their collaborations titled "Digital Editing Workshops for Building Campus Public History Communities and Developing Student Leaders."

Computer Science major Janaya Ferrer became the student leader of the project for Spring 2023 as a DHI student fellow. Ferrer organized and led the open workshop series and helped to coordinate the project's first community transcription workshop, held at the Jessie Ball duPont Center in March as part of the Justice Sessions. Ferrer also received the Judith Beale Scholarship to present on her work at the 2023 conference of the Society of Florida Archivists.

In Summer 2023, students in DIG4152 Digital Editing and Digital Archives edited over seventy documents from the collection. 

In Fall 2023, Ferrer helped to lead two more public transcription workshops, the first at the annual conference of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, held in Jacksonville in September, and as part of a birthday celebration for Eartha M.M. White celebrated at Eartha's Farm & Market in November.

In the spring of 2024, information science major Maya Blackin served as student leader of the project, operating an open workshop series that took place in the commons area on the first floor of the Thomas G. Carpenter Library.

In Summer 2024, students in DIG4152/HIS5934 Digital Editing and Digital Archives are contributing to the project.