Story+ Project

Postponed: Exhibiting the Blunt Family Papers: The Great Migration at the Rubenstein


This team will be diving into the Blunt Family Papers, three large boxes archived at the Rubenstein which include an African American family’s mid-20th century personal letters, photographs, greeting cards, furniture down payment booklets, church flyers, government employment exam results, and more ( This project began in the Black Mobilities and the Archive group within the Representing Migration Humanities Lab ( during the 2017-18 academic year. Using this work as a jumping off point, the Story+ team will develop a multimedia library exhibit for display in Perkins Library, translating this archive into digestible narrative form for a public audience interested in how individual Black American families experienced the Great Migration period of history and mobility. To develop the plan for the exhibit, students will select items from the archive that are especially evocative of the Blunt family’s experience as part of the Great Migration, compose explanatory exhibit cards, and use QR code technology to link to digital exhibit items and descriptions. Students will also have targeted experiences with archival materials outside of the Blunt Family Papers both at the Rubenstein and also in internet databases in order to learn how to put archives in conversation with one another and how to develop a rich, contextually informed narrative that highlights the individual’s place in history writ large.

Skills undergrad:

Students should be skilled writers and effective at analyzing and synthesizing primary and secondary sources. Undergraduates should have some knowledge of Black U.S. history (the more the better) and definitely be curious to learn more about Black American experiences and cultural production. Experience with design skills (digital or artistic) and with QR code technology would be helpful, but are not at all required.

Project Sponsor(s): 

Charlotte Sussman, Professor, English Department

From the Blunt Family Papers, 1943-1965, Duke University Archives


  • Migration
  • Archives
  • Human Rights
  • African American Studies