Modjeska Monteith Simkins: In Her Own Words

I had heard many things about the self-proclaimed “People’s Advocate” Modjeska Monteith Simkins before beginning this digitization project but now I have come to know the woman that she was and the convictions that she held. In these 34 items, I have tried to share with you the many things  she cared about like education, health care, and politics just to name a few.

The process of selecting the materials for this project was rather fun. I went through every item in the six-box collection and chose items which would be most helpful for researchers but also pertained to issues which mattered to her most. Some of the items made me laugh and cry while others truly inspired me.

After spending time selecting the documents, I created the metadata for each of the items according to Dublin Core and the South Carolina Digital Library standards. In this, I tried to write descriptions and use subject terms to put the items in a historical context. Then I moved on to the fun part—scanning the items I selected! This was especially exciting since I could actually see the documents come alive on the screen. I spent a considerable amount of time adjusting each image so that it could be readable and show the variations of colors.

My favorite item from the scanning process is entitled ”Richland County Citizens’ Committee Broadcast Segment November 1, 1967” because it so clearly shows revisions to the broadcast which were done in red ink. I especially like the color contrast and the fact that it has Mrs. Simkins’s handwriting furthering the theme of being in her own words.

A personal favorite of mine is a broadcast segment titled “Someone is Looking at You” in which Mrs. Simkins encourages young men and women to be mindful of their actions as someone is always looking at them. This message from 1967 is still relevant as the same advice is still  given to young men and women of today.

The item entitled “Funeral Arrangements” (at right) were plans Mrs. Simkins wrote for her own funeral which is by far one of the most compelling pieces in the series. It underscores the expectation of violence that many civil rights leaders felt as a result of their political activities. These are only a few items from the series and I invite you to get to know Modjeska Monteith Simkins: In Her Own Words.

It was an honor to work on this project featuring the words of an individual as dynamic as Mrs. Modjeska Monteith Simkins. I would like to thank the staff of the South Carolina Political Collections as well as Digital Collections for their help with the project.

Submitted by Gabby Dudley

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