McNair Scholars Program

Harmony Hanson

Harmony Hanson

Harmony HansonMajor: Creative Writing
Anticipated Graduation Date:
May, 2013

Research Supervisor: Dr. Craig Wilkins, Architecture, University of Michigan

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Brantley, English, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Research Location: University of Michigan, 2012 Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP)

Research Topic: A Dream: Deferred to the Future, Indebted to the Past

Abstract: What has been the journey of the National Museum of African American History and Culture from an idea born one hundred years ago to its present-day reality: Through narrative exploration of the history of the museum and of individuals who carried the concept through time-bearing the burden of a dream deferred - this creative nonfiction piece examines history, culture, aesthetics, social perceptions, and the ways in which these factors interact in the context of the story of the museum presently under construction on the National Mall. This historic monument is indebted to the faithful individuals and organization that persisted despite opposition, keeping hope kindled over the course of a century. Segmented with relevant poems, voices of African American culture and broader American culture are incorporated, synthesizing various perspectives around the central themes of the interconnectedness of American history/identity with African American history/identity and how the National Museum of African American History and Culture reflects a Re-membering of the place of African Americans in American society and culture past and present. The museum will make accessible the past of a people integral to who America is today; exploring issues of historical memory and African American identity and culture, this essay illuminates the stories of some of the individuals who helped propel the museum from dream to reality.

 Faculty Mentor & Research Supervisor: Dr. Jennifer Brantley , English, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

 Research Location:  Plant City, Florida, Summer 2011

 Research Topic: Oral Histories: The Creative Writer as Researcher

 Abstract: This project is an exploration of the history and culture of the South and the dynamics of the Southern Family through oral histories and folklore.  Through personal interviews of generational Floridians in the Plant City area, along with interactive observation and archival research, I collected oral histories, photographs, census information, and historical accounts.  Based on my findings and experiences, I am developing a series of literary nonfiction essays as a record of memories and voices that may otherwise have been lost.  This research emphasizes Southern culture, memory, family history, historical discrepancies and gaps, oppression of certain cultures/peoples, and the value of oral histories in the larger historical context.