Eddie Bankston

Liberal Arts Honors Program, African & African Diaspora Studies, Philosophy, and Humanities

I have used much of my time in the program trying to expand my understanding of the world around me and also myself. I am now a Senior, doublemajoring in African and African Diaspora Studies and Humanities, and I am grateful for all of the opportunities that the program has enabled me to take advantage of.

In the fall, I read books and wrote poetry. I took classes that pushed me to think critically about some of my favorite authors. The reflections which emerged out of the class, and spontaneous conversations with my professors, led me to begin writing a novel of my own, currently titled, The House on Roberta Ave. At the same time, I began interning with one of my professors. I was able to transcribe interviews and conduct literature reviews. This research opportunity provided me with critical questions about migrations that figure centrally in my senior thesis planning.

In the spring, I traveled to London for the second time to present the research I conducted with my friends, William Hearne, and Joshua Russell. We connected with black British faculty and students to gain a better understanding of their experiences in university in the UK. Once I returned, I was able to intern with a local nonprofit organization to conduct oral history interviews for them. This experience was part of a greater project to archive student activism in Austin. I am currently in the midst of planning a black cultural arts fest with my friend and fellow scholar, Joshua Russell. We have connected with community organizers in Austin, to learn how to give back to the community in creative and meaningful ways. Finally, I was able to take a multicity research trip to visit museums and meet with organizers to learn about African American spirituality in the Great Migration.

I am grateful to Julie, Marck, and Michael for always encouraging me to THINK BIG. And thank you to the Dedmans for empowering me to grow through experience.