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American Archives Month: Meet Carlyn N. Pinkins, CSWR Fellow

by Sara Velasquez on 2022-10-17T09:00:00-06:00 in CSWR | 0 Comments
Image of Carlyn Pinkins and Rev. Dr. Charles Becknell, Sr.

Meet one of our 2022-2023 CSWR Fellows, Carlyn N. Pinkins

What is your education or professional background?

I hold a BA and MA in history from Georgia Southern University.  I’m currently pursuing my doctoral degree in history at UNM.

What are you studying at UNM? How far along are you in your studies?

My dissertation explores black homesteading in the territory and state of New Mexico during the first half of the twentieth century.  I’m in my 11th year at UNM.

How long have you held a fellowship at the CSWR? What kind of work are you doing as a fellow?

This is my first year as a fellow with the CSWR.  I’m processing the collection of the Rev. Dr. Charles Becknell, Sr., a New Mexico civil rights activist, scholar, and founder of UNM’s Africana Studies department. 

What’s the most interesting part of your work as a fellow?

Learning more about Rev. Dr. Becknell with every new thing I process.  Seeing the names of people I’ve heard of and even met in his past and present makes me feel like I’m part of New Mexico’s black history and not just somebody cataloguing it as a distant observer. Finding things that relate to my own research has also been exciting and inspiring.  Every day, I find things that show how extraordinary and valuable he is to the New Mexico I get to experience today, as well as things that also highlight how ordinary and relatable he is.  It’s been humbling and awe inspiring all at the same time.

Have you ever found anything strange, unexpected, or particularly interesting in your work? What was it?

The hate mail I’ve run across wasn’t unexpected (he told me he included it in the collection) but holding some of it and reading it provoked emotions I didn’t think I would have.  The anger, fear, and discomfort I felt at imagining getting stuff like that in the mail (at the home where your family lives) was quite unsettling.  My appreciation and admiration for the bravery of civil rights heroes deepened in that moment because I don’t know if my own courage to keep moving forward would’ve outweighed the fear of endangering myself and my loved ones.

Red or green?  

Christmas!  All year long!

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