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Behind the Scenes – Page 2

Guest Blogger: Jonathan Swann C’19, “The life and legacy of Charlie Slagle”

Jonathan Swann was a psychology major at Davidson, graduating in the class of 2019. At Davidson, he wrote for the Davidsonian, was a member of the Student Government Association, and was involved in College Democrats. Originally from Maryland, he currently lives in Central Florida working at a boarding school. 

Each week during the month of March, Swann will offer a post analyzing different aspects of Davidson College’s hosting of the 1992-1994 Men’s Soccer Championship and the ways in which “Distinctly Davidson” impacted the event. 

In this first part of the four-part series chronicling the untold story of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship at Davidson College, I’ll be focusing on the legacy of Davidson grad Charlie Slagle, who was the brainchild for the championship at Davidson. He passed away unexpectedly in July 2019 at the age of 67.[1]

Ironically, Charlie Slagle’s first sport was football, not soccer.[2] Slagle played one year of football at Davidson before switching to soccer and playing goalkeeper for the Wildcats.[3] After that, Slagle never left the soccer community.

At the time of his death, Slagle had been working for the Richmond Kickers, the United Soccer League team.[4] From Davidson to the Richmond Kickers, Slagle left an indelible mark on soccer in the United States.[5]

Five years after Slagle finished his playing career at Davidson, he returned to coach men’s soccer (in addition to baseball, golf, and women’s basketball!), leading the Wildcats to three Southern Conference titles and two conference tournament titles, including the remarkable 1992 underdog run to the NCAA Men’s Soccer Semifinals.[6]

Article in the Charlotte Observer from August 1992 on Slagle’s vision for the championship. From the Davidson College Archives

Slagle’s marketing prowess and relentless soccer evangelism proved highly consequential as he brought the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship to Davidson and then to Cary, North Carolina, which remains the championship’s primary hosting site.[7] Slagle realized that with the right formula, the NCAA Men’s soccer championship could thrive.[8] That formula included strong community support, a more intimate stadium meant for soccer, and passionate administrative staff who were familiar with the NCAA and the logistics of hosting a championship.[9]

Charlie Slagle gives his speech at the banquet in Baker Sports Complex during the championship. Picture from NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship Photo Album held by the Davidson College Athletic Ticket Office

To me, Slagle epitomized how Davidson College graduates can develop disciplined and creative minds for lives of leadership and service.[10] Throughout his life and soccer career, Slagle fervently believed soccer could bring people together, led teams and organizations with empathy and devotion, and took on countless responsibilities to help events run smoothly.[11] I hope that these blog posts on the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship and my soon-to-be published article will shine a light on the vision Slagle had for the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship at Davidson.[12] Slagle told me when we chatted on the phone in April 2019 that he believed the underdog run in 1992 has outshone the unprecedented success of hosting.[13] The untold story of the hosting at Davidson should highlight one part of the remarkable legacy of Charlie Slagle.

Picture of Slagle with his family from a feature in Davidson Campus Chronicle from 1992. From the Davidson College Archives.

Charlie Slagle honored at Davidson College in fall of 2017 celebrating the 25th anniversary of the 1992 team.
Picture from the Davidson College website.

[1] Giglio , Joe. “The Triangle Soccer Community Mourns the Passing of Charlie Slagle.” News and Observer , July 3, 2019. https://www.newsobserver.com/sports/article232271397.html.

[2] Giglio , Joe. “The Triangle Soccer Community Mourns the Passing of Charlie Slagle.” News and Observer , July 3, 2019. https://www.newsobserver.com/sports/article232271397.html. Fox , John. “Fast Talking CV Grad Gets Kick at N.C School.” Press and Sun Bulletin. November 12, 1992.

[3] Giglio , Joe. “The Triangle Soccer Community Mourns the Passing of Charlie Slagle.” News and Observer , July 3, 2019. https://www.newsobserver.com/sports/article232271397.html. Fox , John. “Fast Talking CV Grad Gets Kick at N.C School.” Press and Sun Bulletin. November 12, 1992.

[4] Scott, David. “A Force of Nature:’ Former Davidson College Men’s Soccer Coach Charlie Slagle Dies.” Charlotte Observer , July 3, 2019. https://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/college/article232225097.html.

[5]  Giglio , Joe. “The Triangle Soccer Community Mourns the Passing of Charlie Slagle.” News and Observer , July 3, 2019. https://www.newsobserver.com/sports/article232271397.html. Fox , John. “Fast Talking CV Grad Gets Kick at N.C School.” Press and Sun Bulletin. November 12, 1992.

[6] Giglio , Joe. “The Triangle Soccer Community Mourns the Passing of Charlie Slagle.” News and Observer , July 3, 2019.

[7] Lynn Berling-Manuel. Phone interview with the author. July 2019. Trevor Gorman. Phone interview with the author. May 2019; Pat Millen. In-person interview with the author. November 2018. “DI Men’s Soccer Championship History” (NCAA, December 15, 2019), https://www.ncaa.com/history/soccer-men/d1.

[8] Charlie Slagle. Phone Interview with author. April 2019. Sorensen, Tom. “Selling Soccer-Slagle’s Goal Has All Signs Leading to Davidson.” Charlotte Observer, August 31, 1992.

[9] Peter Brewington, “Big Switch for Final Four: Amenities Gained, Atmosphere Lost at Ericsson,” USA Today, December 10, 1999; David Woods, “This Stage Is Just Too Large for College Soccer’s Top Act,” Indianapolis Star, December 13, 1999.; Jerry Lindquist, “Division 1 Soccer Tournament Leaves Sponsor Seeing Red,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 24, 1999; Alex Yannis, “Attendance Is Low for Division I Final,” The New York Times, December 14, 1999. [9]  Giglio , Joe. “The Triangle Soccer Community Mourns the Passing of Charlie Slagle.” News and Observer , July 3, 2019. https://www.newsobserver.com/sports/article232271397.html.

[10] Davidson College Statement of Purpose.  https://www.davidson.edu/about/statement-purpose

[11] Giglio , Joe. “The Triangle Soccer Community Mourns the Passing of Charlie Slagle.” News and Observer , July 3, 2019. https://www.newsobserver.com/sports/article232271397.html. Fox , John. “Fast Talking CV Grad Gets Kick at N.C School.” Press and Sun Bulletin. November 12, 1992.

Lynn Berling-Manuel. Phone interview with the author. July 2019.

[12] Pat Millen. In-person interview with the author. November 2018. Charlie Slagle, Phone Interview with the author, April 2019.

[13] Charlie Slagle. Interview with the author. July 2019.

Welcome to the E.H. Little Library, Ashley!

Ashley Mills and the Davidson Public Library sculpture

1. You’re just beginning to get to know the E.H. Little Library – what’s your background and how has it contributed to your work in the library?  Please tell us about your current educational endeavor as well.

My background is varied. I grew up on a barrier island in Florida, so I’ve worked in several areas of the hospitality industry. I was originally an Art major at the University of Florida, ultimately graduated with a degree in Sociology and Education, and took a lot of history classes on the side. I taught Middle School Social Studies (and substitute taught at all grade levels), spent several years focused on my children as a stay-at-home mom, passed my licenses to work in Financial Advising, and later moved into Underwriting Case Management. When I had the opportunity to change careers and go back to school, I put a lot of thought into the aspects that I’ve truly loved about jobs, and researched career paths that related to my personality types, and when it hit me – Library Science – it felt like one of those facepalm moments. “Of course! Why did it take me so long to get here?” I’ve always been an avid reader (picture the kid who walked the halls with a book held in front of her face), but apart from that, I love planning, organizing, research, learning new things, and helping people. I feel like all of these are supported and encouraged in libraries. I am currently in my second semester of a Master of Library Science degree, through East Carolina University’s remote program, and every class I take is further evidence that I love this field. 

2. What about the Acquisitions & Collections Specialist position interested you?

In general, this position interested me because it is both very detail orientated and involves a lot of searching and organization, which is right up my alley. I get to satisfy my curiosity by perusing the books that come across my desk on subjects I might not have sought out on my own. I was also interested in it for the opportunity it gave me to gain quality library experience – with the library systems integration, cataloging, inventory projects and hopefully eventually what will probably be a giant project of prepping and storing the collection during a massive library remodel – I look at it all as an opportunity to grow! My husband told me the other day, “I’ve never met anyone who was more perfectly matched to their job than you.” I look forward to professional development opportunities and learning more about the “real world aspects” of the different areas that librarians can specialize in, as I work towards my own degree.

3. Are there any projects you’re particularly passionate about introducing to Davidson? I would love to be involved in some type of diversity audit of our collection. I think we’ll need to get through a few other types of inventory and conversion projects first, so we have a better starting point, but something to consider down the road. Prior to my arrival the Collections Strategies team had already discussed identifying local and BIPOC owned bookstores we could divert some purchases to instead of our larger vendors, and I’m currently researching and compiling a list to move forward with that, in addition to playing with some ideas to get our Main Street Books Browsing collection rotating more regularly.  I also think it would be fun to work with other teams to cultivate, purchase and then highlight in the lobby “mini collections” for students that center around current news issues or social trends; “adulting,” mental health, developing study skills, or even around some of the most popular subjects of classes taught here at Davidson.

4. You haven’t been here long yet, but what has been your most memorable or surprising experience at Davidson thus far?

My most surprising experience has been how peaceful it is here – my days fly by, and I go home content and mentally ready to be knocked over by my (very large) puppy and cornered by my 3 chatterbox kids the second I walk in the door. Although Covid/Omicron meant my first few weeks were a little different than planned – with most of the faculty/staff unexpectedly working remotely – as I slowly meet everyone I am so pleased by the welcoming atmosphere and overall Library vibe.

5. What are three things you want Davidson’s community to know about you?

I’m going to answer this question with some ice-breaker game type facts:

  1. I love being involved in my “Women’s Adventure Club” – we’ve experienced yoga sessions with Llamas, navigating white water rapids after our guide was thrown out, hiking, archery, a “U-Pick” wildflower farm, game show nights, crafts, winery 5ks…anything that gets us out there and having fun together.
  2. I’m a huge believer that anyone can connect, and age is just a number – so it doesn’t matter if you are a student worker, or think you have totally different interests than me, or are soon to retire – I would love to meet you or lend a helping hand!
  3. Not only have my husband and I known each other our entire lives, but I can honestly say that I exist because of my Mother-in-law. You can ask me the story if we meet in person!
Mills Family

Guest Blogger: Hope Anderson, C’22 Biology Major “ArcGIS and the Arboretum: New Technology Contributes to our Understanding and Appreciation of Trees on Campus”

Hope Anderson is a senior biology major and mathematics minor from Carrboro, North Carolina. She currently serves as the co-Editor-in-Chief of the Davidsonian. She is also a member of Turner Eating House and on the Executive Board of Pre-PhDs of Davidson Science and Women in Math. 

Davidson community members walking across campus would be remiss not to notice the little silver tags adorning many of the trees along their path. These tags date back to 1982 when the college first received its designation as an arboretum (Dick, “The Davidson College Arboretum”).  As of 2005, the arboretum contained over 3000 individually labeled trees and shrubs (Davidson, “Arboretum”).

Figure 7: Collecting a DBH Measurement

Nearly forty years after its establishment, the arboretum’s records remain almost entirely on paper. The most current map, created by Physical Plant in the early 90s, is a huge printed poster divided into grids and subgrids. Since then, available technology has improved dramatically. My fall 2021 independent research with Dr. Susana Wadgymar and collaborator Chloe Fisher (‘23) aims to digitize and update the arboretum’s records for both community and scientific use. To visualize data in a spatial format, we created a map of campus using Geographic Information System (GIS), which permits the storage, visualization, and analysis of data as a map ( “What Is a Geographic Information System (GIS)? U.S. Geological Survey”). In specific, ArcGIS is a popular and powerful GIS software used to create interactive and customizable maps online. Our goal was to use ArcGIS to establish a database and store arboretum data for years to come.

The Davidson arboretum is significant for several reasons. First, trees play a large role in carbon sequestration, or keeping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. The arboretum also cools campus and creates shady areas. Finally, the diverse collection of trees represented help us study and preserve native and engaged species in our region. We created an ArcGIS map with the help of visiting assistant professor of anthropology Dr. Maxime Lamoureux-St-Hilaire. ArcGIS maps are primarily composed of a basemap and one or more layers of information. Our arboretum map includes two layers—a feature layer storing data points, each corresponding to a tree, and a grid to help us divide campus into useful 50 x 50 meter squares. See figures 1-4 for additional information on how ArcGIS layers and the basemap work together. 

 Figure 1: Arboretum map showing both the feature layer and grid layer. Green points represent tagged trees and red represent untagged.

Figure 2: Arboretum map with only the feature layer visible.
Figure 3: Arboretum map showing both feature layers turned off; only the basemap remains.
Figure 4: ArcGIS layers can be overlaid on a variety of preset basemaps which users can quickly toggle between. Users can also create their own basemap. 

Students in Dr. Lamoureux-St-Hilaire’s fall 2021 Imaging the Earth class collected the majority of the data thus far using the ArcGIS Field Maps app. Each student spent a week in October recording data, collecting information on a tree’s location, whether or not it is tagged, whether the tree is coniferous or deciduous (see figs. 5 and 6), and the tree’s diameter at breast height (DBH, see fig. 7 at the top of the post). DBH is a simple but powerful dendrological measurement often used as a proxy for biomass and can be analyzed alongside height to approximate a tree’s carbon sequestration. Find a video demonstrating how to collect all these measurements at the end of this post. 

Figure 5: An example of a deciduous tree on campus. 
Figure 6: An example of a coniferous tree on campus.

After the initial census, Chloe and I started auditing individual grid squares (see fig. 1) to fill in any missing trees. This project is far from over; next semester Chloe and I will continue to audit the current data and identify trees without tags. We also plan to revisit previously collected points to update data the anthropology students didn’t collect, such as height and species. We’re hoping to involve additional members of the Davidson community with an interest in the arboretum. In future years, students can use the same map to collect new measurements for each tree, in order to continually update the online version of the map and compare data across years. 

Thank you to Dr. Lamoureux-St-Hilaire, Dr. Susana Wadgymar, and Chloe Fisher for all their help this semester. I look forward to continuing this project in the spring and setting up future lab members for even more exciting research. 

Video – “Collecting basic measurements using the ArcGIS Field Maps app” 

References 

Cottle, Jessica. “National Park and Recreation Month: Davidson College Arboretum.” Around the D: The Davidson College Archives & Special Collections blog (post), July 13, 2018. Accessed December 9, 2021. https://davidsonarchivesandspecialcollections.org/aroundthed/national-park-and-recreation-month-davidson-college-arboretum/.

Davidson, North Carolina 28035894-2000. “Arboretum.” Davidson. Accessed December 9, 2021. https://www.davidson.edu/offices-and-services/physical-plant/arboretum.

Dick, Lacy. “The Davidson College Arboretum: A Time Line | News of Davidson.” Accessed December 9, 2021. https://newsofdavidson.org/2018/07/29/7205/the-davidson-college-arboretum-a-time-line/.

“What Is a Geographic Information System (GIS)? | U.S. Geological Survey.” Accessed December 9, 2021. https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/what-geographic-information-system-gis.

JEC Fellow in the Archives!

Hello, everyone! I’m Andrés Paz, Davidson College class of 2021 and current Justice, Equality, and Community (JEC) Fellow in the Archives, Special Collections and Community (ASCC) department. This year I will be working with the Archives team (and many others!) to explore and advance our understanding of the racial history of Davidson College and its surroundings. This is the first of what I hope will be many posts.

Part of a cohort of researchers also at Duke, Furman, and Johnson C. Smith, the JEC Archives Fellow position is funded partially by the Duke Endowment. At Davidson, I have and will collaborate with the ASCC team to identify and process relevant collections, research materials, and create digital scholarship and learning resources to promote dialogue across the community.  Working with cohort, campus, and community partners, including the Davidson College Commission on Race and Slavery, my efforts focus on researching and documenting Davidson’s complicated history with topics such as enslavement, race relations, and civil rights.

Andrés Paz

In the past two months, while acclimating to a new role, I’ve started to work on a few long term projects. Prioritizing accessibility and involvement with the community beyond college grounds, we have identified digital resources related to local history that could be improved. Currently, I am working on rebuilding ASCC’s Shared Stories site as an exhibit. This means going through many documents, photos, and oral histories, and even transcribing some. Another project which represents the bulk of my efforts is a genealogical and land ownership research project. looking at plantations that were located near campus in an attempt to uncover Davidson’s interactions with enslavers and enslavement. For this project, new and worthwhile research in the Local History and Archives of Mooresville Public Library is possible thanks to Andy Poore’s generosity and knowledge of local history. 

There is much else that happens in our department on a daily basis: reference requests, guest lectures, birthday cakes (had to mention it, thanks Sara!), and collaborations with other colleagues in the library (for example: take a look at our new International Student HIstory LibGuide), to mention a few things. As part of the Archives, Special Collections, and Community team, I am happy to connect with anyone interested in using or exploring our college’s archival resources! And more than anything, excited to work around kind and cool people!  

Andrés Paz

Email: anpazramirez@davison.edu

Office: E.H. Little Library, Room 235

Guest Blogger: Sara Wilson C’22 Anthropology Major “Mapping the Landscape of Beaver Dam”

Sara Wilson (she/her) is a senior Anthropology major from outside San Francisco, California. She is interested in osteology, archaeology, and ethical research methods in anthropology.

Maps and spatial data increase understanding of the Beaver Dam site during both historical and contemporary times, which lays the groundwork for potential future archaeological investigation. The goal of these maps is to help identify where the houses and cemetery for the enslaved people at Beaver Dam (documented on historical documents) were located. Satellite imagery, LiDAR data, and historical maps were combined in the ArcGIS Pro software to highlight the topography and possible locations of the cemetery and houses. While in-person site survey is integral and yields meaningful discoveries, creating maps is worthwhile as they can reveal patterns, nuances, and spatial relationships that may not be immediately obvious.

As shown by satellite imagery of Beaver Dam, the property is now far smaller than when it was a working plantation, which underscores the possibility that significant features may have been destroyed by neighboring housing developments.

Satellite map of the Beaver Dam site

Two historical maps of the Beaver Dam plantation site are sketches from 1865 and 1925. Despite being imprecise, these maps indicate important information that is absent from most historical accounts of Beaver Dam. Both maps included an area for enslaved people’s houses and a cemetery for enslaved people. While the scale of these historical maps is off, analyzing them in conjunction with current satellite imagery and LiDAR data, allowed us to narrow down the potential locations of the houses and cemetery. Topographic raster analyses based on LiDAR data, including hillshade, slope, and elevation contour, reveal a steep incline down to a creek bed along the eastern side of the property. The historical maps position the enslaved houses relative to the main house and to the creek, so having the actual locations of both helps deduce where the remains of the houses may be located. Analyses of the maps indicate that if there ever were houses between the Beaver Dam house and the creek as indicated by the 1865 map, it is likely they are located between the current tree line and west side of the creek.

Elevation contour lines over hillshade analysis of the Beaver Dam site

However, if there was a cluster of houses past the creek as shown in the 1925 map, the River Run housing development was unfortunately likely built on top of it, given the creek marks the eastern boundary of the property. The historical maps indicate that the cemetery was located south-southeast of the main house. This is also supported by topographic data, given that cemeteries are typically located on higher ground. If this project moves forward, the cemetery area should be marked and preserved, and the location of houses could be investigated through archaeological investigations.

1865 map georeferenced over satellite imagery of Beaver Dam site.
1925 map georeferenced over satellite imagery of Beaver Dam site.
Concluding location estimations of houses and cemetery for enslaved people at Beaver Dam.

This mapping project will have continued utility if the Beaver Dam project proceeds, as geolocating features, artifacts, and other archaeological findings would be a useful visualization technique. These maps are also helpful for working with the community, as they are a way to communicate information that is visually interesting and more accessible.

Guest Blogger: Isabel Nowak Anthropology Major C’23, “The History of Beaver Dam”

Isabel Nowak is a junior anthropology student at Davidson College. In spring 2021, they spearheaded archival research in Dr. Maxime Lamoureux-St-Hilaire’s Ethical Archaeology seminar which investigated the silenced history of Beaver Dam Historical Park.

Hello! My name is Isabel Nowak, and Spring semester 2021, I was enrolled in a seminar with Dr. Maxime Lamoureux-St-Hilaire where my peers and I investigated the local Beaver Dam historical park. Beaver Dam’s history isn’t super well-publicized, so I thought I’d share some of it here.

 The first major player in our story is William Lee Davidson, not to be confused with his father General William Lee Davidson, who died in the Battle of Cowan’s Ford a month after his son’s birth in 1781. In 1808, Davidson purchased 451 acres on Beaver Dam Creek (hence the name of the property), where he established a plantation. The actual house that still stands today was not completed until 1829.

 Sometime between October 1847 and December 1848, William Lee Davidson moved to Alabama, and in preparation, he sold his tract on Beaver Dam Creek to Joseph Patterson, who moved in with his wife and son. Patterson died suddenly in 1858, and his son John subsequently inherited the property. The Pattersons were gone by 1880, and following decades were full of exchanges (usually to settle debt), and over time, the property was divided up.

In 1937, then-owner Caldwell Hovis sold 8.5 acres consisting of the plantation house and immediate area to Dr. Chalmers G. Davidson, who restored the house from 1945 to 1975, when he moved in. The house was listed as a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Site in 1977 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

Davidson College purchased the house and 8 acres of the adjoining lands in 1998 due to the land’s significance to the college’s past. Indeed, in 1935 a committee of the Concord Presbytery met at the plantation house and decided on the location of what came to be Davidson College, named after William Lee Davidson’s father, General William Lee Davidson. However, not many sources mention Beaver Dam’s darker history.

Excerpt of the Will of William Lee Davidson including a list of enslaved people.
List of enslaved people held by Joseph Patterson

Jim, Linda, Aaron, Martha, Jim, Sarah, Harriet, Horace, John, Phebe, Rose, and Amy. Jane, Darky, Tilly, Lee, Taylor, Frances, Dallas, and Mary. These are the enslaved peoples referred to by name in the will/probate records of William Lee Davidson and Joseph Patterson respectively. According to census records corresponding to years he occupied Beaver Dam, William Lee Davidson owned 15 slaves in 1820, 21 in 1830, and 26 in 1840. Joseph Patterson owned 25 slaves by 1850. We don’t know a lot about the enslaved people that lived and worked on the Beaver Dam plantation. There are no written records of most of them. But, hopefully, this investigation into Beaver Dam will raise awareness of its history, and the people who lived and died there.

Guest Blogger: Mandy Muise Anthropology Major C’23,”Community-Based Public Research in Archaeology: An Outsider’s Perspective”

Mandy Muise is a sophomore currently majoring in anthropology with an intended minor in Latin American studies. On campus, they work as the anthropology consultant for the Writing Center and are currently interning with the Antiquities Coalition.

As part of the Ethical Archaeological Research seminar, I began my work on a project called Historical and Community Archaeology: The Enslaved People of Beaver Dam (henceforth referred to as the Beaver Dam project) as a bit of an archaeological outsider – and to a degree, I remain one. Although I am an anthropology major, my concentration has always been on the cultural side; as a result, I found myself outside of my comfort zone in an archaeology seminar. It took me quite some time to find my place in a project defined by archaeological perspectives and jargon I had not previously encountered. I found myself lost as to what we could gain from pottery sherds and confused about what possible implications historical archaeology could have upon a community. Archaeology is built upon colonial ways of knowing, and prior to becoming introduced to Community Based Participatory Research in archaeology (CBPR, discussed below), I saw zero potential for an archaeology that actively served a community.

color photo of front of Beaver Dam plantation house
Beaver Dam Plantation House

In most simplistic terms, CBPR is an archaeology that advocates a movement away from scholarship “on and for” and toward archaeological practice “by and with” a community. It was best defined by Sonya Atalay (2012), an archaeologist specializing in Indigenous archaeology. CBPR creates a methodology that seeks to decolonize archaeological practice to create a more equitable form of research that is mutually beneficial to the community and to academics alike through the democratization of the knowledge production process.

My role in this project ultimately consisted of contacting prominent members of the community for information, advice, and to build connections for eventual in-person activities. In doing this, I’ve developed an appreciation of the difficulty of engaging in CBPR with a community that has not expressed an interest in archaeology. As a result of these challenges, our project has not consistently been able to uphold the objectives and ideals of CBPR. As it stands, our project is not community-engaged beyond the intentions of our group, as our accomplishments thus far have been without the support or desire of the community.

How can we understand this project to be an anti-racist and ethical endeavor in lieu of community engagement? Rather than seeing the project as aligning with older archaeological practices, it is critical to recognize our project at Beaver Dam as still in its initial stages. We have hardly stepped back from the chalkboard, despite the semester coming to a close. What we have successfully done is set the stage for CBPR, creating space in which this project can come to fruition. Our project has been designed with endless flexibility in hopes of community engagement – research questions and ideas are open to adjustments, and excavation can and will wait for the community. I see the Beaver Dam project as full of potential, founded upon ethical and anti-racist intentions – assuming the project continues its trajectory of community engagement, I have confidence that this project will continue to emphasize service to the community through mutually-beneficial scholarship.

Bibliography

Atalay, Sonya

2012    Community-Based Archaeology: Research with, by, and for Indigenous and Local Communities. University of California Press, Berkeley.

Guest Blogger: Dr. Maxime Lamoureux-St-Hilaire Visiting Assistant Professor, Anthropology “Historical Archaeology and the Enslaved of Beaver Dam”

This is the first of five posts from Dr. Maxime Lamoureux-St-Hilaire’s Ethical Archaeological Research seminar (ANT-380) summarizing the results of their preliminary work on the Beaver Dam Plantation in Davidson, North Carolina.

The role of archaeology is to study societies of the past by examining their material record and the landscapes they inhabited. Historical archaeology juxtaposes the written record to these evidences to gain an even richer understanding of past societies. This written record may come from archives or can literally be found on the artifacts found during excavations. In this, historical archaeology has two incredible advantages as a social science: (1) it offers a rich type of evidence that is unavailable to non-historical archaeology and (2) offers a vast amount of material culture while paying attention to landscapes in ways that are typically evacuated from strict historical lenses. Historical archaeology can thus fill-in the many blind spots of the historical record, which tends to be written by the powerful or literary elite of the past; in this, historical archaeology can be framed as “anti-history” (Lee-Dawdy 2016). In other words, this anti-historical power can shine a light on past realities which were either erased or muted by history; those of past people suffering from intersectional inequities.

For decades, historical archaeologists have documented the lives of people whose stories were muted. This approach has had great success in studying the socioeconomic context, personal practices, challenges, and violence which characterized the lives of the people who were enslaved by plantation owners in the USA and beyond. More recently, historical archaeologists have also studied the realities of the post-emancipation life of African American households (Franklin et al. 2020). This broad research field is known as African Diaspora Archaeology and is spearheaded by members of the Society of Black Archaeologists, who are actively encouraging accomplices to contribute in steering the discipline towards an antiracist future (Flewellen et al. 2021).




A view of the Beaver Dam Plantation house from the hypothesized location of the historical cemetery used by the enslaved (photo by the author).

In this series of blog posts, my four students – Mandy Muise, Paul Mullinax, Isabel Nowak, and Sara Wilson – from the Ethical Archaeological Research seminar (ANT-380) and I summarize the results of our preliminary work on the Beaver Dam Plantation. This past semester, we studied the archival record, the landscape, and the potential for a community-engaged archaeology project at the site. The remaining estate is a small park – located at 19600 Davidson-Concord Rd – owned by Davidson College and currently leased to the Town of Davidson. Our work has identified important features of this landmark which have been effectively muted from its history and contemporary landscape: namely, the probable locations for the homes and cemetery of the enslaved who lived and labored on these grounds in the 19th century. This project has antiracist roots and goals: it aims to redress history through a historical archaeological program to give back the voices to those who’ve been muted by history.

The design of this project was influenced by experienced historical and community-engaged archaeologists and by the rich and recent literature on the Archaeology of African Diaspora and Community Engaged Archaeology (Agbe-Davies 2017; Atalay 2012; Battle-Baptiste 2017; Colwell 2016; Dunnavant 2014; Engmann 2019; Flewellen 2017; Flewellen et al. 2021; Franklin 2019; Franklin et al. 2020; Fryer 2020; Joseph 2016; Kawelu 2014; McAnany 2020; McDavid 2007; Odewale 2019; Ogundiran and Falola 2007; Reeves 2004; Shackel 2013; White 2016, 2017).

We, the five members of this project, are white. We’ve strived to use our various privileges to position ourselves so that we may launch a small, ethically-grounded project seeking to collaborate with the local Davidson community to identify and achieve antiracist goals. In fact, any future research as part of our project will be developed in collaboration with members of the Davidson Community. The powerful lenses of historical archaeology and our preliminary findings give us confidence that this project could transform Beaver Dam into a place of positive historical awareness that would benefit the broader community.

Funding for this project was provided by Davidson College’s Stories (Yet) to be Told program.

Bibliography

Agbe-Davies, Anna

2017    Where Tradition and Pragmatism Meet: African Diaspora Archaeology at the Crossroads. Historical Archaeology 51:9-27.

Atalay, Sonya

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Guest Blogger: Cara Evanson, Research and First Year Experience Librarian, “History of Our Library Our Conference”

Cara Evanson is the Research and First Year Experience Librarian and has worked at Davidson since 2011.

From May 13th to 21st, library staff were searching the E.H. Little building. But not for lost books or items students left behind during finals. They were participating in a conference, of sorts, albeit one that had taken a unique form in this pandemic year.

The origins of Our Library Our Conference, an in-house conference for library staff at Davidson, date back to 2015. At the time, I had been having conversations with colleagues about wanting more opportunities to learn about and celebrate staff expertise and work happening across library departments. While catching up on an issue of College & Research Libraries News I came across an article titled A Conference of Our Own: Creating an In-House Professional Development Opportunity. Written by librarians Shellie Jeffries and Christina Radisauskas, the article describes how they planned a day for their colleagues at Aquinas College dedicated to “sharing, teaching, and exploring with each other.” After reading it, I was excited to try out their idea and create a conference by and for library staff at Davidson.

Our Library Our Conference was first held in 2016, and over the years this annual conference has shifted in response to circumstances and feedback from the library staff.

Our Library Our Conference First Year, 2016, Left to Right, Jon Hill, Jean Coates and Joe Gutekanst

It has taken on a more informal vibe, and conference “field trips” to spaces like the music library, rare book room, and mailroom have become an ongoing feature. In 2020 the conference was held on Zoom and included a Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! style trivia contest spotlighting library staff stories and projects. This year, the conference planning committee created a scavenger hunt with each clue showcasing library staff collaborations and accomplishments from the year. The scavenger hunt could be completed individually and socially distanced at any time during the week.

Field Trip to the Music Library, 2019, Jon Hill sharing his expertise and enthusiasm

What hasn’t changed over the years is the purpose of the conference – for library staff to share with each other, learn from each other, and explore with each other. Regardless of the format, the conference is a chance to reflect on and celebrate our roles and the work we do. And it couldn’t happen without the hard work of the planning committee. Alexa Torchynowycz, Joe Gutekanst, and Sharon Byrd have stayed on through two years of pandemic-adapted conference planning. A big thanks to them, and to the whole library staff for making 6 years of this conference possible!