University Students Uncover the Secrets of Old African American Photo Albums

chapmanMartha Jones, a professor of African American history at the University of Michigan, was shown two old photograph albums that were in the university’s special collections library. Inscriptions on the two albums indicated that they were originally owned by Arabella “Bella” Chapman. But little else was know about Chapman or her family.

Professor Jones made it a project of her class on African American’s women history to find out as much as they could about Chapman. Many of the photographs have notes on the back or in the margins that include dates and places.

The students’ research found that Chapman was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1859. When she was five, her family moved to Albany where her two brothers were born. She was the first African American graduate of Albany Free Academy, now known as Albany High School. Chapman married Clarence Miller and their family lived in North Adams, Massachusetts. She died in 1925.

The University of Michigan students set up a website documenting their findings. Some of the people in the photographs in the two albums remained unidentified and the students hope that displaying the images may enable members of the public to help them in their research.

Below is a video about the project.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Three African Americans Appointed to New Academic Positions

Leon Prieto, Kofi Afrifah, and Andrea Moore have been appointed to new academic positions at Clayton University, Bowie State University, and Savannah State University, respectively.

Historic HBCU Landmark Revitalized Through National Park Service Grant

Through three restoration grants totaling $2 million, the Rosenwald Practice School and Principal House will be fully restored, becoming the new home for the Northeastern North Carolina African American Research and Cultural Heritage Institute.

Five Black Leaders Appointed to Administrative Positions

Here is this week’s roundup of African American who have been appointed to new administrative positions at colleges and universities throughout the United States. If you have news for our appointments section, please email the information to contact@JBHE.com.

North Carolina A&T University Establishes Research Partnership with Collins Aerospace

“There are direct relations to the research we do in the College of Engineering and the mission purpose of Collins Aerospace,” said Stephanie Luster-Teasley, interim dean of the College of Engineering at North Carolina A&T State University. “Being able to partner with Collins really gives our students the opportunities for hands-on research at each level – undergraduate and graduate.”

Featured Jobs