Dr. Meredith Evans, Director of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, spoke at Kentucky State University’s Women’s History Month Convocation recently in Bradford Hall Auditorium.
Dr. Evans is the first African-American woman to be appointed as a presidential library director. The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum attracts researchers from around the world, faculty and students from Atlanta’s colleges and universities, and students from K-12. With the help of her staff, she coordinates programming for approximately 100,000 visitors each year.
She has also worked as the director of the Special Collections Research Center at George Washington University. While she was there, she acquired the National Education Association papers and negotiated funding for their preservation. Similarly, while she was the curator of printed materials at Atlanta University Center’s Library, she was instrumental in obtaining an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant for the digitization of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s papers.
“We realized that people wanted their voices to be heard and wanted their voices to be preserved, but they didn’t expect it to be available in 10 to 15 years,” said Dr. Evans. She lectured the audience on “preparing, protecting, and proceeding.” She stressed the importance of education and finding a way to preserve the voices of today’s people for people in the future.
“Everywhere I go, I leave a seed for something else to grow,” she said.
At every repository she has worked, she made it her goal to create a collection that did not exist there before she came. During her speech, she inspired the audience to dream big and accomplish those goals using her own journey as an example.
– Shantel Booth