Graduate Student Research Showcase
The graduate students in the American Studies program at Purdue produce forward-thinking original scholarship and creative productions that push the boundaries of American Studies as a field, as well as that of the various disciplines with which they engage. This page regularly showcases these young scholars and their current interdisciplinary research.
My dissertation traces the links between legacy and the commemoration of that legacy. One has to do with the active work of the individual/institution, and the other is connected to how others interpret and memorialize that work. Using the posthumous commemoration of 20th Century African American educator and entrepreneur Dr. Booker T. Washington, I examine the generational connections of Washington's legacy through the lens of three historical periods: the New Negro Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, and the BlackLivesMatter Movement. Defining what I term "Black Hustle Theory," I argue that for Washington, hustle was used as a mode of operation and existence in a racially adversarial system of money, power, and authority. I attempt to reclaim hustle and move it forward from its gang and drug associations in black popular culture, to contextualize how African Americans have traditionally used hustle to gain access to networks of power. I argue that the commemoration surrounding Washington is a response to his diligent hustle of educational and economic justice for blacks.