I have changed the organization of my paper countless times. Well, no. Actually 8 times. It still isn’t exactly right. The problem with organizing the paper arises from all the different yet related topics that I explore in the paper. Originally I had wanted to write about the experiences of the first African American students who had enrolled at the College of William and Mary. However, their experiences were influenced by the College’s policies as well as the openness of the student body and faculty to integration. I have found a lot of information on these topics and I included them in my paper. It is just difficult to make the paper sound like one seamless work rather than a series of different papers mashed together. I don’t know if I need to just continue to work on the organization or if I should narrow the focus of my paper. I have submitted the paper to my faculty adviser for suggestions and I will continue to edit it.
I have finally been to Special Collections. It was extremely helpful. When searching through newspaper archives I could not find records on some individuals. Fortunately, I found detailed records of them in the library. However what often occurs when uncovering information is that one discovers that there is still much one does not know. For every answer found ten more questions arise. However by continuing my search I have found answers to the new questions. All it takes is diligence and determination.
I have spent a whole lot of time looking through newspaper articles. I’m glad that a lot of historical newspaper databases are available online and that I can search for key words to find the articles pertinent to my research. However, some of the search engines are not that helpful and give me results that are completely irrelevant. Despite the wonderful invention of the search engine, I still have to spend time sifting through articles to see what I can include in my notes.
Before coming to Williamsburg to complete my research, I did research online because I did not have access to Swem’s Special Collections. The list of databases that Swem lists online was particularly useful. The newspaper archives contained a lot of the information that I needed.
Through my research I hope to compile more information on the first African American students who attended the College of William and Mary. I had noticed that on the Special Collection Research Center Wiki website there was some information regarding these students, but the information given was not as detailed as it could be. One female student who was admitted in 1955 was not even mentioned by name. I hope to find out more information about these individuals and their experience at the College. I would like to discover the circumstances of their admittance and how they adapted to-what I assume to be- a less than receptive environment. I am also curious as to what activities these students were involved in and their level of academic achievement.